If it's Tuesday, it must be tee-ball. My wife, Lauren, feeds the kids, packs the van and heads to the park. I drive there straight from work. We dine on peanut butter sandwiches and watch our 7-year-old son daydream in the outfield.
Game's over. No one knows, or cares, who won. By the time we pull both cars into the driveway, the kids are ready for a snack. Then it's baths for each one and a story before being tucked into bed. Ah, quiet.
Maybe not. Five minutes later, the kids are up again. Ben forgot to go to the bathroom. Zack wants a drink of water. Lindsey can't find her Olympic Gymnast Barbie. Problems are solved. Kids are tucked back in.
I take a quick glimpse at the day's mail. Lauren does a few dishes and makes tomorrow's lunches. The kids yell at each other, then at us. "Mom, Zack called me a dummy!"
We glance at the clock. 10:15. Forget about any daytime thoughts of nighttime romance. Maybe tomorrow night. Maybe in 15 years when the kids move out. We stagger upstairs and fall into bed. Wait! Forgot to close the garage door.
And it's not just us. This scenario, or one very close to it, is played out in the homes of most of our friends. While activities change with the seasons, one thing stays the same: There's never enough time. The question isn't "Where did the day go?" but "Where did our life go?"
Packed schedules, work stress and everyday family conflicts leave couples with little time to nurture the relationship they committed to on their wedding day. Experts talk about the need for a husband and wife to "connect" each day—to look each other in the eye and talk about meaningful things. But many are the days when the only connecting we notice is that we both go home to the same house. Meaningful conversation? Does "Goodnight, Honey. Sorry I'm so tired" count?1