Arranging to Have "Alone" Time
"With our schedule, we have to sneak in time together whenever we can," Bryan says. That's why Jenny tags along on his weekly four-hour round-trip to his MBA class in Las Vegas. They take one sextuplet with them to make sure each kid gets some extra attention. "Once he or she nods off, we get a chance to catch up," Jenny says.
The Masches try to set aside an hour every evening to watch an episode of 24 or American Idol that they've DVRed. When they do go out -- "We get one date night a month if we're lucky," says Jenny -- it's usually for a quick dinner after the sextuplets are asleep. "Almost all we talk about relates to the kids, which I think is normal for newish parents," Bryan says.
The couple plan a sanity-restoring solo weekend every few months, with each set of grandparents watching three of the kids. "It's crucial for us to recharge, even if we end up staying home and just sleeping in," Jenny explains. "We're very lucky to have such a strong support system. It really does take a village to raise sextuplets."
How to do it better: Jenny and Bryan could improve on their couple-time opportunities. "Instead of always taking a child in the car with them, they should ride solo every other time," says Scott M. Stanley, PhD, coauthor of Fighting for Your Marriage.
To connect during TV time, they can cuddle on the couch with a glass of wine or massage each other's feet, since physical contact is a lot more intimate than simply sitting in the same room. And while it's natural to discuss the children on a date, Dr. Stanley stresses that they should stick to the positive aspects of parenthood. "Save the problems for another time," he says. Because when this harried couple gets a rare free moment, they should spend it recreating the happy, carefree, romantic times they used to share all the time -- before their six wonderful (and demanding) blessings arrived.