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Jen

Mother/Son Date Night: Growing Up Not Away

Posted by Jen on October 22, 2008 at 7:01 AM in Jen
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pizza boy

"Mom," he tells me, pulling on his jacket, dragging his backpack like a too heavy sack of potatoes out the front door. "I think it's time you and me went on a date." His face brightens on the word "date," highlighting the scandal of such a grownup idea as well as the promise.

I feel myself melting and flash forward to all the lucky girls who will catch his eye years from now. "Absolutely," I tell him, asking where he wants to go.

"The original," he tells me, but I know he means 'the regular'--our favorite pizza place. What can I do but smile?

It wasn't until my chatterbox firstborn was off to pre-school that I realized my darling second born was hardly saying a word. I instituted mother/son dates as a way to coax him out of his shell, to give him a safe space to try out his words, to make the space for conversation that could never happen when our tiny apartment was teaming with neighbors and friends and family, each eager to fill the airwaves with their own commentary.

We started with small talk. What's your favorite color? I'd ask, and before long he reciprocated by asking what was mine. What's your favorite animal? he'd counter while I made up a new answer every time. It was the very beginning of a great conversation.

Now, so many years into our pizza dates, I know that for every secret shared, there will be a fart joke as prelude. And for every point of discussion that interests me deeply, there will be equal time given to talking about the latest intricacies of this or that video game. It's all part of loving a boy in my house, and I'm enjoying the fact that in all our shared silliness, I can see all the ways he's growing up without needing to grow away.

At least not yet, anyway. And that, my friends, is making this mama, very, very happy.

Do you have something special you do with your son? A ritual you both can't bear to miss? Share your point of connection in the comments below.

8 Comments

The Other Laura writes...

I'm just now realizing how the boy culture of my son's school is chafing against his sweet sensitive side. I think date night is a wonderful idea - I'm going to do it next week!

Lori writes...

my younger son turned 9 a few days ago. tomorrow night we are going to a gallery opening to see a display of comic art. we're going to dress up and go to dinner, too.

Steph writes...

We're fortunate here to have dates often throughout the week, so it was strange to think of them as such. It's so true, every child needs one-on-one time occasionally with a parent; in our busy world it is a necessary way to reconnect.

The last "date" we had was at the tennis court; I have a seven year-old who recently picked up tennis lessons, and this is great for his practice and just for fun. Best of all, it's free and out-of-doors.

Another regular date is, like Lori mentioned, the art museum. It's much easier to go see a show without the sibling rivalry and the inevitable diverging paths throughout the halls. When we go together, he and I, we are able to walk slowly, talk about pieces, eat afterwards...everything important in his week bubbles up in conversation during this time.
That's hard to achieve at the regular dinner table at home.

Hope this helps!
-Steph

Valarie writes...

That is a great idea me and my 10 year old does it often, and being that he is the youngest out of 3 . My little guy love expressing his inner side and it,s good to hear other mothers are doing the same with their little guys.I also tried tennis with him he enjoy it.The last mom and son date was pizza[pepperoni only] wenever got dress up and went out that is a good one [smile] that will be the next move.Thank you Jen for sharing moment like this.

Becky writes...

I happened to have a date with my son (5 years old, middle child, easy-going and rather loveable!) this morning after taking him to the dentist. We stopped for breakfast at DD and hung out for a while. I love spending time with him when it's just the two of us.

One kind of odd thing that we do together around the house is he likes to come up to my room and look at my books. I am a sexuality educator and there are a few books that he's allowed to look at. One book that he really likes to talk about is "This is Who I Am." It is a compilation of black and white photographs of women in the nude, done very tastefully. One woman has had a breast removed. A couple of the women are obese. One is covered in tattoos. Two of the women are 95 years old.

I think it's GREAT that he wants to talk about bodies and body image!! It provides me with a great opportunity to teach him that we are all beautiful. I hope that he will continue to want to talk to me about those things!

Wife and Mommy writes...

My eldest child is a five year old son. Since he's away from me the most these days because of preschool and other activities, we just enjoy going to run errands together just the two of us. It often includes a stop at 7-11 for a Slurpee or at Baskin Robbins for a scoop.

Gail writes...

My son loves sports, so our dates tend to be outside on the driveway playing basketball, on the tennis court pretending we are at Wimbledon, in the front yard playing catch with a baseball, or in the car on the way to one sporting practice or another. He is always enormously grateful for the time we spend alone together and tends to tell me a lot of what is going on in his heart and life while we play.

But I will give serious consideration to the sitting down and eating kind of date. I think he would enjoy that as well.

Tina writes...

I only have one child, my sweet son, but I think date night is an excellent idea. A time to absolutely focus on each other. He'll love it.

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