Kim and I are lucky. We are related (married to brothers!), we live close to each other AND we both happen to have kids with type 1 diabetes. That last part isn't so much "lucky" as a coincidence that has given us the ability to care very well for each other's children. Because of this, we are lucky that we each get to have a "date night" a couple of times a month.
This is how we've worked it out. There are actually three families (my husband and his two brothers) that live in the general vicinity. We all have kids. Each couple will take a rotation watching all of the kids. The other two couples get to go out on a date. This is a great system for anyone -- a much more affordable alternative to hiring a babysitter every weekend. Plus, our experience shows that it becomes a real treat for the kids as well. They love the opportunity to play with their cousins -- cousins that they are getting to know extremely well due to seeing each other weekly.
For Kim and me, it has an additional benefit. Finding a babysitter to care for a kid with type 1 seems a little daunting. How nice it is to leave James with one of my responsible sisters-in-law who can completely manage his diabetes care!
Another reason that Kim and I are lucky is because we have Jenny. Jenny is married to one of the brothers but does not have a child with type 1 diabetes. However, she is just as good at managing James and Kaitlyn as if she did. She is another of those remarkable people that so willingly learn to poke fingers, count carbs, and administer insulin, and who seem to have an instinct about how to manage the daily stresses of diabetes.
Because Jenny is such an amazing participant in our date-night scheme, I feel that I can wholeheartedly recommend this scheme to anyone! All it takes is a good, caring friend or two who also has kids and who happens to be willing to learn diabetes care. This person becomes a great resource for other times during the month as well. And date night as a tradition becomes fun for everyone -- the kids, and certainly the deserving adults.
I think the parents of kids with type 1 particularly need to have some time to themselves, and this is ironically sometimes difficult to find. We deal with stressful situations like all couples, but we also have the pressures and stresses related to dealing with a child with a chronic illness. I can't tell you how nice it has been to have a tradition of connecting with my husband in a way entirely unrelated to diabetes a couple of times a month!
Date night = highly recommended!
About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our three boys. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’m thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.