I wrote this article last spring for a friend of mine. She’s the executive editor of webmagazine called  The Bridge Post. It’s all about family empowerment and a great place to go be uplifted, get advice and find solutions when we feel overwhelmed by our busy lives.


With the launch of my third novel, FURY OF SEDUCTION (Dragonfury series), and the upcoming release of my paranormal historical KNIGHT AWAKENED (Circle of Seven series) on Dec. 4th, it’s been a busy few weeks for me. So in an attempt to mitigate some of the stress that comes with putting a new book into the world, I revisited this article. It helped me reconnect to what’s truly important…family.  I hope it does the same for you.


How To Find “Us” Time When There’s Nothing But “Kid” Time:


As a parent of three very active girls, some days I don’t know which way is up. Most of the time, I find myself caught in the crosshairs, a bull’s-eye on my forehead as I try to balance a busy career with the demands of motherhood. Toss in the house, the dog, and all the extras, like birthday parties, homework, soccer practice, art class and. . .yeah. You guessed it. The “us” time my husband and I need gets shoved onto the back burner.


Oh, I start out with good intentions. Schedules taped to the refrigerator door. Blocks of time crossed out in my iPhone agenda, and still, date night never seems to happen. At least, not with any regularity. Which is a problem. A big one, considering my husband and I are the foundation upon which our family is set. A foundation that needs to be rock solid if our children are to continue to thrive.


So what does that mean exactly?


Let me put it to you this way. A relationship is like a living thing. If you don’t feed and water it—take time to nurture it—the relationship will eventually wither and die. So, when I talk about “us” time, what I really mean is “vital” time. Those precious few hours set aside every week for just one person. . .your partner, lover, and best friend.


Okay, I know what you’re thinking. “Us” time looks great on paper. An excellent theory with nothing but feel-good intentions when in reality, your days are filled with to-do lists a mile long. But here’s the thing. Finding time for your significant other is easier than it sounds.


Sometimes, it’s as simple as turning off the T.V., talking instead of watching. Sometimes, it’s about dusting off the cribbage board (or whatever game you both enjoy playing) and laughing as you try to best each other in a game of chance. And sometimes, it’s all about the kiss and cuddle in front of a who-the-heck-cares movie after the kids have gone to bed.


I learned this the hard way, because like or not, my husband and I can’t always splurge on an exclusive restaurant or expensive trip. We have a young family, and let’s face it children aren’t cheap. So, in the spirit of keeping my budget-minded man happy, I started to get creative with not only our time, but our money as well.


For instance, the other night we played a crazy game of Scrabble after our girls went to bed. And by crazy, I mean wildly competitive. Sound boring? Not even close. I had the best time. We talked. We laughed. We tried to beat the pants off each other, and by the end, I felt closer to the man I love. But even better, I remembered why I like him, too. It didn’t take much but the simple willingness to sit down at the table and purposefully ignore the clamor of our busy lives, if only for a little while.


Another thing we do is baby sit for another couple. Our children call it a play date. We call it “kid swap”. So while they enjoy a quiet evening or afternoon together, we enjoy a house full of craziness, and in return, they do the same for us.


So, “vitual” time doesn’t need to be complicated or fancy. It doesn’t always mean hiring a baby sitter or spending a fortune at an upscale restaurant. You’ve got no one to impress but each other, so hey, have fun with it. Stay home, reinvent date night, and try something new. Sit out on the back porch star gazing with a glass of wine. Cook together. Heck, make him the sous chef if you want to, but DO spend time with each other. Just the two of you, no kids interrupting, cell phones chiming or work files open on your laptops. Make the investment in your relationship and future happiness. Your spouse is worth it, and so are you.


Happy. Healthy. And whole. That’s what each of us is meant to be. Stepping away from the rat race once or twice a week doesn’t seem like such a huge sacrifice. Especially when you consider that giving the one you love the gift of your time will only strengthen the underpinning beneath the busy lives we lead, and maybe. . .just maybe. . .with a little effort you’ll come home to find refuge in the midst a fast paced world.