Thursday, September 25, 2008

ah, sanity nights

When my oldest was young, I quickly realized that life as a full-time mom was both incredibly rewarding and desperately draining. My husband knew that in order for me to be at my best, I really needed to have a break in my normal routine. In return, I recognized that although he "gets to be out of the house five days a way" (ha ha ha, I know it's not the green grass I used to think it was!), he also deserved a break in routine.

And so it was, in between our first and second children, we birthed one of our best ideas yet...SANITY NIGHTS!!! One night a week, I drop my children off with Geoff at his work and enjoy a child-free night of my own. No cooking, no dishes, no bath time, no bedtime. Geoff takes full responsibility for all things child-related. (And he does a really, really GREAT job!) The kids in turn, are blessed with some special time with Daddy.

On these nights, I try to avoid doing things like grocery shopping and any other family errands that need to be done. (However, I do admit, that some weeks require that I squeeze those in as well!) Instead, I enjoy a quiet dinner out, served to me by some gracious soul; hitting the local bookstore; grabbing a cup of coffee with a friend; shopping for myself and working on anything writing or reading related! On a rare opportunity, I squeeze in a pedicure or trip to the spa. HEAVEN on EARTH! :-)

My husband prefers to spend most of his sanity nights at home as most of his days are spent away from home. On these nights I work to keep the kids at bay and gently remind them that "Daddy's enjoying his sanity night tonight, but I would be happy to read you a book." On those nights I serve up one of their kid-friendly meals, while Geoff grabs one of his favorite meals. He also enjoys being excluded from all things kid-related. He enjoyed watching one of his "guy movies" or getting a run in. On a rare night, like tonight, Geoff kindly uses his sanity night to attend business dinners and events. Oh, how I love this man!

When I've shared our routine with my friends, most of them admit that they are (1) too tired to go out (2) have way too much to do at home or (3) would rather go out with their husband. I agree on all accounts and completely understand. I will say for us, however, that sanity nights are what get us through and help US to be the best parents we can. Self-care is so hard to fit in on any given day, however, we've chosen to make it one of our top priorities. If two nights a week are too hard to squeeze in, consider trading off weeks...or even months. Every once-in-awhile is definitely better than never! Oh, and we do enjoy Saturday nights alone together after we get the kiddos off to bed. Works for us!

Here's what I did two weeks ago on my sanity night:

Sushi at my favorite little restaurant...enjoyed while reading "Wide Awake" by Erwin McManus. I met him twice while he was preaching at a local church and have never been the same. Turns out he has a DVD out as well. Netflix just delivered it to my mailbox this I know what I'll be doing tonight. :-)

I found another new Starbucks tucked away. It's really nice because most people use the drive-thru, so I was able to enjoy true solitude!

Funny enough, when I walked in the barrista said to me, "Wait. Your name doesn't happen to be 'Amy' does it?" I stopped for a minute because (1) he didn't at all look familiar and (2) aside from God, no one else knew I was there.

So, I responded with a hesitant, "Um...yesssss." He then told me that his best friend is named 'Amy', she lives in California and looks exactly like me. She even wore her hair like me (which happened to be in a style I haven't ever worn before that night.)

How bizarre is that? I then replied, "Oh, man, I thought I might have won something really cool! (Like at least a free coffee...) No such luck. Ah well, it was an interesting interaction, all the same!
And here, my friends, is a photo that makes me smile. My first ever sugar-free cinnamon dolce latte, a venti ice water, my new voice recorder (which happens to have recorded on it 3 hours of interviews with my Chatty Girls from when we were together in Colorado Springs), and my laptop with a brand new document open in Word, ready and waiting. this picture probably only has real meaning to my Chatty Girls...and anyone else out there who understands what it's like to begin your very first book project. Can't wait to tell you more about it.

So there you have it. A perfect sanity night, blessed by my sweet husband and filled with lots of quiet time and relaxation. If you are a parent, and have never enjoyed a sanity night yet, I strongly suggest you call up your spouse and try to work out a schedule that works for you and your family.

One of the keys to LIVING A BLESSED LIFE is giving your all to the responsibilities God has placed before you, as well as taking the time to refill your tanks and get a fresh perspective.

Praying you find rest and peace today,


Kim Kasch said...

Sounds wonderful. A night away. My husband and I never thought of that when our kids were younger. We're making up for lost time now of course now the kids are adults so we don't really need the night out. But we're doing it - together! Not bad for over 25 years of marriage.

Julie said...

I agree- it sounds wonderful! Sometimes "me time" is just sitting in the driveway after a trip to the grocery store and finishing the song on the radio. LOUDLY. I don't know what it is, but I love that. And would never do it with Daniel in the car with me!

Anyways, thanks for sharing!! :) I want a coffee now!!

Childlife said...

What a perfect evening out! Too funny that you call yours "Sanity Nights" -- my husband and I call ours the same thing :D

This is just a brilliant post Amy Jo -- you nailed what 'Me Time' is all about -- a break in routine and complete freedom from any child related responsibilities. It really makes it so much easier to be the parent you want to be for the rest of the week!

So very glad you joined in, and hope to see you next month!

~Michelle @ 5MFSN