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Tit for Tat: your night out, my night out

Life in the partnered relationship can pose challenges when we each want time away from the family to pursue non-kid activities: sports, nights out with friends, theater, art, photography, or other hobbies.

The other day, I was chatting with another mama about getting our families together.  When I suggested Wednesday, she admitted it'd be a tough evening because it was her spouse's night out: "Wednesday is his night, and Friday is my night."  It hadn't been the first time I'd heard of "his night" and "her night".  Other friends of mine have Tuesday nights, while the spouse gets Mondays.

My partnership doesn't have a "my night" and a "your night."  I guess we just work it all out as it comes.  If I want to have drinks with another mama tonight, then it'll be my night.  If you happen to have some freebie tickets to the pre-season game next Wednesday night, then it'll be your night. 

So, do you have a "night" to your own?  A weekly night, a monthly night, a bi-weekly night?  I'd love to hear how other mamas and papas juggle the need to have nights out on their own.

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Yeah, we too have friends with that set up -- and it seems to work for them...but we just take it as it goes. I must admit, however, as the SAHM, I tend to get a few more nights off...but I don't feel too guilty as I'm with the girls pretty much all the time during the working week (ah, to go to work, and have no one yell at me when I ask them to please pass me that pen, or to go to the bathroom alone...) Right now we're working on a parents night out, together! What a concept, eh? :)

we've been doing 'my night, your night' for about 13 years, and have only had a child for 5 of those years. For us it has kept things simple. sometimes on 'my night' I just go to Powells and read, or head to my favorite knitting store. Other times, I go out with the girls and make a night of it. having a guaranteed weekly night out reduces stress and schedule wrangling for us. and that has only gotten more important since we've become parents.

hubby has 'band night' every thursday. i know he needs to be able to look forward to something on a regular basis and it helps that he has his band that he can jam with.

i don't have a designated night, but i know that i can go out whenever i feel the need. i think that because i'm pretty cool about his designated boy time (as well as other outings during the week if the opportunities come up), he's very lax when i request a girls night or even if i just want to grocery shop by myself.

our system (or lack of) works out great for us.

my *wasband* (very technical term) and i live together, but are no longer 'together'. we've been separated for about two years, and now that we've both started dating, we do have 'his' and 'her' nights out.

we usually have specific nights, but things come up, and we are pretty flexible with our schedules. if one of us has something that we really do not want to miss, we try to give as much notice as possible to arrange the schedule as needed.

My hubby is involved in a sport that consumes anywhere between 2-3 nights per week and the occasional Saturday. I try to think of it more as a commitment he has made than a "night he gets".

He tries to be cognizant of the fact he does leave me with the kids during the week (to deal with dinner, homework, etc). For my birthday this year, he gave me a series of tickets spread out over 5 months where I can go out with or without him - my choice. It was a nice acknowledgment by him that I do tolerate a lot during his sport's seasons.

Overall though, we just communicate what we need to each other. If I feel the need time where I am not "mom", he flexes to ensure I get it - and visa versa. With the kids in activities now, it is very difficult to designate a particular night each week without missing something with the kids. This seems to work for us.

He has gaming. I have book club. I do the PTA meetings and he takes an occasional professional seminar. Somehow it all works out.

The main thing is that we still sit around the dinner table 4-5 nights a week with the kids like the Waltons or the Ingalls.

As a new mother, amid all the chaos and stress of life with an infant (our infant anyway), I found it immensely important to have time for myself set in stone, to know that no matter how exhausted and burned out I felt, I could count on those four hours every single Friday.

Now that the kids are older, it's easier to arrange time alone for my partner or me. I have a few regular things; so does he. But if something comes up, we're both flexible about saying "Go ahead." As a work/stay at home mother with kids in school, I don't need those hours away guaranteed in the same urgent way I used to.

I've had regular nights before, and there have been many moons when Jonathan worked evenings and there were *tons* of "his" nights and perilous few of mine. other times, I was overscheduled with regular meetings several tuesdays and thursdays and it got to be too much for him.

now, we generally take our nights as needed, without much regularity, and without much of a balance (right now I get more nights, while he spends about two weekends a month away with the army).

This is an interesting one because I work two evenings/week and my husband and I often debate about whether or not this is really a night out for me. He thinks it is because in his mind, he comes home from work, kisses me hello, and I'm out the door. He gauges an evening away as him at home with the kids. I figure it's an evening away when I'm doing something fun. In his head, I go out all the time and he doesn't. By his logic, I could say he goes out all day, every day given that he goes to work on a typical business schedule!

Given that I'm already gone two nights/week, I rarely go out at night in addition, with the exception of two Saturday nights/month for knitting group. It's just too much work to go out more frequently. Whenever he goes out at night (admittedly rare), it's for fun. I think I'm getting the short straw here!

I really struggle with this one...my husband has an erratic work schedule--out the door at 6:30 am and sometimes (last night for example) home after 10 pm. I have never been able to figure out how to join any group or volunteer or make any regular event that doesn't include kids...Our only day together is Sunday and that day I want to spend with him.

One thing that has been working for our new family, is to support each other when one of us wants to go and do something. Like two nights ago, my partner got a call from his friends who were all going to meet up at a local spot, and he repsonded, "Oh, thanks for calling, but I probably shouldn't go... Lynx and Sol are here and we are all hanging out..."
As soon as I heard this, I knew that he needed some time, so I whole-heartedly encouraged him to go. We hang out as a family at night a lot. SO....then last night, my girl-friends were all going dancing, and he TOTALLY encouraged me to go! It was unplanned, and it was PERFECT! I love how this worked! And, I realize how happy it made me and my partner that we would both support each other in enjoying our friends and our precious time away from our family.

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