It’s pretty pathetic, but my husband and I have been on exactly one date since we had our daughter 17 months ago. Further, we’ve been doing a poor job of being attentive to one another and investing in the relationship. This is partially due to the sheer exhaustion of parenting, but also because all of our immediate relatives live in another state so we don’t really get “breaks” that often. However, we recently decided we would stop making excuses and turn over a new leaf, and so far, so good.
A few weeks back, I received an invitation from Dove to a virtual paint night with Yaymaker for myself and a guest. I knew that it would be perfect for us, especially since we’ve been trying to do more activities as a couple. Initially, I had hoped my parents would be able to look after the baby for a few hours that night, but I quickly realized that my expectations were logistically unrealistic. Nevertheless, we pushed forward.
We looked forward to the event for weeks and it was really nice to have something to look forward to that didn’t revolve around the baby. When the day finally arrived, however, it was extremely stressful. We worked up until an hour before the event while also chasing after a toddler, so we were mentally frazzled by the end of the workday. Thankfully, we still managed to pull it together in the eleventh hour. We hooked my computer up to the television in our living room so that we could project the virtual event on a larger screen, ordered takeout from our favorite Mexican restaurant, and set up shop. My husband played bartender, following the Malibu Bay Breeze recipe Dove sent us, and we set the baby up in her highchair with nontoxic paint and a coloring sheet.
The night definitely didn’t play out how I imagined. My husband never got around to actually painting because he was tending to the baby and trying to keep her from eating the paint. (He was able to sip at least). Still, it was a really great experience and I’m glad we pushed through it. I was able to complete my painting, which wasn’t too shabby. And my baby also created her first masterpiece, which we’ll be hanging in her room.
The best part of the experience was that I felt the most relaxed that I have felt in a very long time. We talked and laughed even as the baby ran wild with paint in the living room. Under normal circumstances, I probably would have freaked out about the mess, but in the moment, I just gave in and told myself the paint was washable and we could clean it up later.
When all was said and done, the living room looked crazy but I was unbothered. We took our time to reset the room, store our supplies, and remove any stains. For hours after the event ended, we lounged around the living room laughing, talking, and listening to music. We talked about what a great time we had and how we should do things like this more often — whether we have a babysitter or not. We’re learning to embrace our new normal, which is a little chaotic, but this experience is proof that it’s important to make time for fun in spite of everything.
After cleaning up, we took turns showering, washed the baby up for bed, and tested out Dove’s new Mango Butter & Almond Body Oil Lotion and Whipped Body Cream, which was a lovely way to end the evening. Prior to this event, I didn’t realize how uptight I had become, but it was refreshing to unwind. For my sanity and for the sake of those who live with me, I need to do things like this way more often.