Making time for us

I’m an adoptive dad and have been happily married to my wife for 12 years. Our first child was placed 6 years ago, and then our second (a half sibling) came along 2.5 years ago.

The first few years weren’t too bad. My in-laws helped out with occasional baby sitting, and even the odd over-night stay, but only after we felt that our son was secure enough to handle it. But then when our second child came along, my wife felt unable to leave our new son with anyone…understandably for the first little while, but still (he’s at nursery part-time), she finds it hard to leave him with anyone except those nursery staff and even then I know she only does it because she feels he needs that social time with other children.

This has had an impact on our own relationship, and we barely have any time to ourselves…obviously the evenings once the children are in bed, but beyond that, we don’t go out together as a couple anymore.

My wife changes the subject when I try to talk to her, and I’m really worried that there’s not much ‘us’ left anymore. Without making time for our relationship, I’m not sure it’ll carry on. How can I make her see that we need time too?

night out

Have you got any advice for this anonymous dad? Do comment below if you have. And if you’d like to share a problem, either anonymously or not, please do email us at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com

5 thoughts on “Making time for us

  1. Pickles Mummy

    Hi, that’s really hard and I empathise with how you’re feeling.

    An idea for you;
    How long is your son in nursery for? 3 hours? 4? You could book a morning/afternoon/day off work and go out together once a month while he’s at nursery? You could go to the pictures, go for a nice brunch or late lunch? You could go for a walk in a country park or go for afternoon tea (us girls love an afternoon tea!)
    You could do it for a few weeks in a row and then do once a month and make it a new tradition to build up that time together?

    Another idea;
    How well do the children sleep once they’re down at night? The reason I ask this question is because P sleeps really well so it allows us to go out together while one of our sets of parents babysits…but we have rules. The strictest being that if she wakes, our parents phone us immediately so we can come back (we have a video monitor so they can see if she’s going to really kick off) This means that we only go somewhere very locally for a bite to eat or a drink but it gets us out together and not just sitting in the same 4 walls. They also don’t arrive until after she’s gone to bed so she’s none the wiser. It’s a bit easier with a 21 month old who’s in a room with the door closed and in a cot as she can’t come out and with your children being older I’m not sure how that would work….but if it’s a case of once they’re asleep they’re asleep then that should be (a tiny bit) reassuring for your wife?
    We’ve built up our confidence recently going further afield and out for longer, we got back at midnight last week *punches air* but I still feel anxious while we’re out and keep asking hubby to check his phone so we now sit there with the phone on the table (on loud and vibrate) and that helps me to “forget”.

    Think about what you did before the children arrived. What did you used to do together? Try and implement small steps and reassure you’re wife that, if needed, you can both get up and leave to get back asap. She’s feeling extreme anxiety and it’s horrid, even leaving him at nursery she’s probably spending the entire day anxious and churned up? But you do need to make time for you both.

    Hope I’ve helped and good luck. You will get time together back, it’s just implementing it in the first place and reassuring your wife. Let us know how it goes 🙂

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  2. Mrs Family of 5

    We do similar to Pickles Mummy. Occasionally my parents will come over on a Saturday afternoon, spend some time with girls until bedtime. We then put the girls to bed as normal. However once I’m sure they’re settled (not necessarily asleep) hubby and I sneek out. The girls have never twigged on or suspected anything. I guess the pressure the car moving outside is Nanny and Grandad going home 🙂 they’re fast asleep by the time we get home too. We never really go far, just in case, and like pickles mummy we also use video monitors so nanny and grandad can keep a discreet eye without them knowing 🙂

    Time together is very important, but it’s also very difficult. we don’t have any we can leave the girls with other than my parents and with 2 younger siblings that still live at home my parents lead busy lives so we grab every opportunity albeit only a few times a year.

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  3. Threebecomefour

    I feel your pain as it’s been a long time since my hubby and I have been out just the two of us. I think it’s very easy as an adoptive parent to allow the children’s needs to take over everything. I wonder if your wife is feeling guilty that your son is at nursery and feels she needs to compensate for that when she’s with him? I know I feel like I’m trying to meet everyone’s needs now we’ve adopted again. Trying to make sure the elder child doesn’t suffer and I suspect we over worry as adoptive parents about the attachment and what might happen if we’re not there for our children and they need us. Add to that washing and housework and cooking and exhaustion and suddenly your needs as a couple shift way down the list. Why not start by a lunchtime date using a trusted babysitter. Valentine’s Day is approaching so you could be very romantic and book it all. Lunch is less loaded with everything else and expectation than dinner. See how that goes and progress to dinner. Its so hard when you don’t get that couple time andits so important. I’m in a similar position and feel the impact on my relationship with hubby. It sometimes feels like too much hard work to organise though as I’m exhausted most of the time. I hope you’re able to sort it out.

    Reply
  4. Meggy

    Hi,
    We are in a very similar situation to you, two boys, half siblings, adopted three years apart, now aged ten and seven. My husband and I find It is sometimes a real effort making time for each other, and I know I am guilty of giving him the brush off at times, because I am so emotionally exhausted from dealing with our very demanding boys. I think things got a bit easier when they both started school, and we tried to make sure we had time at home for just the two of us. But there is no magic solution. Just hang in there, make sure your wife knows you appreciate her, cuddles, flowers, whatever she will accept from you. Or organise friends or family who will come to her and volunteer to babysit, so she can feel free to go out with you. And be patient. I am chronically tired, and when I feel like that it is hard to give of myself to another adult, the kids get all the energy I can spare.
    I hope things get better for you both, and that you can enjoy being together again.

    Reply

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