My husband has been working from home since last spring, and it has kind of put a damper on my day-to-day activities. He set up his office in the kitchen, which had previously been my domain. We all have our routines — mine included Dr. Phil on repeat from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., when my court shows start. No, I’m not sitting and watching TV all day, but I am used to the background noise. When I’m working around the house and taking care of our daughter, I like the drama. My husband doesn’t like Dr. Phil, and he really hates Judge Judy, so my daytime TV has kind of gone by the wayside. I get a few episodes of Phil before he’s grated so hard on my husband’s nerves that he’s ready to explode, so off the TV goes. I’m not going to lie, some days I resent the work-from-home gig.
We also have four kids who are around much more than usual. They are in school full time, but nights and weekends are at home. There is only so much gamer YouTube on the family room TV that I can stand before I’m ready to blow. I need to have an adult conversation that isn’t about telling people to be quiet because someone is on a call or moaning over what everyone wants for dinner. I adore my children, which is why we have a brood, but I need a second away. With my husband. Just the two of us.
Even though we were spending nearly every minute together, it felt like we were drifting apart. We were so hyper focused on staying healthy, getting work done, and making sure that our kids were okay, we kind of lost ourselves in the mix. That may sound trite, but it’s true. I was going through the motions as a mom and he was just defaulting to working all of the time. We made absolutely no effort to be a couple. We unknowingly decided to be roommates. And it was awful.
One Tuesday morning, he said he was hungry. I hadn’t eaten anything either, so he asked me if I wanted to go grab something. All of our kids were at school, so I jumped at the opportunity. It was the first time we had sat down together, alone, in months. It was refreshing. We were talking to one another like two people who hadn’t seen each other in a long time. I found myself laughing and smiling and just so happy to be with him. I hadn’t felt that connection in a long time. I don’t blame either one of us for the disconnect, we were victims of circumstance. And I think so many couples are feeling that pang right now.
That impromptu breakfast outing has turned into a weekly date. We have made each other a priority again. We simply want the pleasure of the other’s company. There is no pretense in our weekly routine. It is my husband and me sharing a meal, just the two of us.
Prior to being locked down for a year, we went out to dinner regularly on Saturday nights. COVID killed that vibe when our bubble closed in and it didn’t include our beloved babysitter. So now, we have Tuesday. It is on the calendar, and it’s a do not miss. There are no calls or meetings or dentist appointments on Tuesday mornings; it is blocked off so that we can have a meal that isn’t interrupted or rushed. It has renewed our marriage in a time when things can often get tense and angry. Too much togetherness in tight spaces has made us bitter, but this feels like a return to normalcy and I look forward to it each week.
Tuesdays are a time entirely for us. And even though it’s only breakfast, I take a little time to get myself ready for our “date.” Nothing fancy, but I fix my hair and my makeup and put on something other than yoga pants and a sweatshirt. It’s my one chance a week to be alone with him and it makes me feel good to not completely be a mom for an hour or two. I’m not wearing fancy wedge heels and a matching clutch, but I do have on my red lipstick. That counts for something.
We get on each other’s nerves being at home together all day. He’s really loud on the phone, and I tend to forget he’s on Zoom calls and walk behind him with a giant basket of laundry. We need to get away from that and a weekly breakfast works for us. There isn’t grandiose romance. It’s not candlelit bacon and eggs, but it is time to reconnect. I didn’t realize how much I missed our nights out until we had our first breakfast together. One day we’ll get back to fancy meals with decadent desserts. But for now, I am thankful for a warm cup of coffee and some great conversation every Tuesday.