I remember that feeling so well. We borrowed an idea from friends of ours who also had three little ones, which helped us solve this problem:
The Husband and I discovered, purely by accident, that any time one of us was alone with one of our three, the child we were hanging with became a different person. More interesting, more talkative. MUCH better behaved. Away from the competition of siblings, each child was even more of a delight.
We set aside Wednesday evenings as “date nights” on our calendar. One week it would be Mama and Oldest. The next week Papa and Middle. The third week Mama and Youngest. Within any six-week period, each child got one special time alone together with each parent. The kids monitored the calendar carefully, looking forward to the next time their name appeared and planning ahead what they wanted to do.
Usually, the child chose what the activity would be for the evening. Parents had veto power and were allowed to offer suggestions. We tried to avoid boring, everyday things like errands on date nights, though occasionally we had to add an errand in to avoid household catastrophe.
Wednesday evenings worked for us, but any time would do – even early mornings or mid-day. I think the success of the plan lay in making sure we found a time we could consistently set aside.
We all have very special memories of our quiet times “alone” together. In fact, I dearly wish we could still have our weekly date nights even now.
Do you have a “hack” that’s made your parenting life easier? Share!