A large portion of our early years is spent dating. We date for a variety of reasons. These include:
- getting to know the person more
- spending time with the person
- becoming closer, literally – sitting close, holding hands
- focusing on each other and no one else
- getting to ask questions and allowing the time needed to fully answer the questions.
- quiet space between the two
Whether it is for companionship, friendship, or ultimately to find a forever mate, we date to be with a person and find out more about them. We date to become closer and more connected to them.
This is why I date my kids.
Dating my girls looks different for each one, but every date takes purposeful planning and effort. I am not talking about taking them to a 5-course meal and salsa dancing, although my youngest would actually really love this. I am talking about tuning in to what they would enjoy, and making it meaningful.
I want to be with them for all the reasons listed above. By taking the time to be alone with them, I can see our relationship grow. Dating my daughters gives us a different level of connection than the moments our busy days allow us. I am not distracted by having to get chores done. I am able to sit with them, play with them, and talk to them. I can ask them questions and really listen to their answers.
When I asked my daughter if she liked having dates with me, her response was matter-of-fact.
“Of course. It is our special time where I don’t have to share you with anyone and I feel all comfy inside.”
I can usually tell when we are in need of a date, because it’s often the time when we both seem to be triggering one another the most. I have been so grateful that I can recognize this pattern, that the more frustrated I feel, the more quality time is needed.
Recently, there seemed to be a whole month of crossing lines between my oldest daughter and myself. I was in tears most days, feeling like this parenting thing was the worst and I had failed my daughter – already. But after allowing myself to feel this, I thought about how busy we had been and how we hadn’t had much time to really connect to each other.
So I asked her out.
I took her to her favorite place – the library. All she wanted to do was spend all of our date time reading book after book, uninterrupted, with me beside her. Sometimes I would read a few, and sometimes she would. I never left her side to look for my own books, but stayed present for her to take the lead.
That evening while we were snuggled in bed she whispered to me, “Thank you for today, Mama. It has been a long time since I got to feel like your friend.” (insert ugly crying)
After each date, I feel closer to my girls. I feel like I see a different side of them than I would have if we’d been talking in the middle of loading the dishwasher or mopping the floors. This inner peace that creeps into me while we are together stays with me long after the date is over.
Some of the most precious moments and conversations happen while we’re on our dates. I can honestly say I have learned more about each of my children when I have taken the time to be with them separately. I am feeling so grateful to have received some BIG revelations in my parenting path that have sprouted from these one-on-one dates. I feel I have been able to avoid some tragic misfires because I changed the way I did some things, all because my daughters were offered the safe space to converse with me, knowing I would be listening and – most importantly – that they would be heard.
I date my kids.
I date them because I want to know them more and on a deeper level.
I date them so our friendship and trust grow.
I date them because I love them and want them to know they are safe talking to me.
I date them because it’s important to me to give them the time they deserve.