Generally, Sharlene and I try to go out caching once a week whilst Sam is at school. It’s not that he doesn’t like geocaching, it’s just that he also likes sitting on a bean bag playing x-box and talking to his mates. Over time we have found a workable middle ground and usually go out as a family once or twice a month, and the rest of the time we just lock him in his room and slip Kraft cheese slices under the door every few hours. Just kidding… we wouldn’t be cruel and neglectful like that… he doesn’t like cheese slices!
The fact remains that if Shar and I had to survive on our family caching alone, we would both be climbing the walls after a couple of weeks. We realised this quite early on after taking up the hobby and this is the reason why we started committing the parental cardinal sin of going out on our own, to do something that we wanted to do, without him, just us, not him, to make us happy, not him, just us, not him. I know… we are such bad parents. Sam is stuck with us whether he likes it or not though; we have long since lost the receipt so he can’t take us back or swap us for something slightly less embarrassing, although sometimes I think he would like to, especially when we insist on kissing at every kissing gate… well you have to don’t you… it’s in the name.
Our weekly excursions have proved extremely successful at keeping the caching itch down to a bearable level. Not to mention that they are a lot of fun too. I like them so much that I have decided to officially recognize their existence and christen them as our GeoDates. If you are, or have been, a parent, then you will appreciate that the concept of going out, just you and the other half, for a bite to eat, or to catch a movie, or just for a walk, becomes a dim and distant memory when two become three… or four… or even more. It is important to get your alone time though… and at least some of it needs to be outside the bedroom 😉
A couple of hours strolling through the countryside or wading through a river, sliding in cow poo or scratching your wobbly bits on a holly bush is a great opportunity not only to find some smileys but to enjoy each other’s company too. You find that you can speak freely and not have to spell any words to stop young ears understanding. Your language can become more colourful and you don’t need to check the room for small children before retelling that joke your workmate told you about the lumberjack, the barmaid and the beaver. You find yourself able to finish a sentence without being interrupted with questions about the location of a hairbrush, or a princess diaries DVD or what is for dinner or why is the goldfish swimming upside down – strangely, examination of this last problem also reveals the location of the missing DVD. Oh sure, it’s not all plain sailing, there are bound to be disagreements and bickering whilst out on your Geodate but at least you can relax into a decent adult argument and then make up with a proper snog a couple of caches further on without a child acting as a human crow bar trying to split the two of you apart shouting, “no, no, there will be none of that.”
So why not give it a go. Take the day off work or give nanny a ring to do a spot of babysitting and head out. You don’t need to get dressed up, no point in splashing on that expensive after shave or perfume and you won’t be arguing about the price of your date either as it probably won’t cost you anything. But a few hours, on neutral ground, just the two of you with a chance to talk and laugh could do wonders for your sanity not to mention your cache count too.
Let me know how it goes.