How do we, as parents, find alone time with each other?

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We'll have a chat at 1 p.m.

Dear Meredith,

How do couples find couple time when their kids stop going to bed long before the parents do? By the time we get our kids to bed, we're too drained even to have kid-free conversations about important things, let alone to do anything fun together. I'm especially sensitive about sex with kids in the house because of something from my own childhood; I woke at night to the sensation of the house shaking. I ran down the hall to my parents' room, rushing in without knocking because I was scared. I was bothered that they didn't seem to be listening to me, they were so busy covering themselves up. They told me it was probably a truck going past and I should go back to bed. When I went back to my parents, their door was locked and they wouldn't open it. I still remember how intensely upsetting it was to have my parents locking me out when I was scared. Years later I figured out what they were doing that, for that night, shook the house and my sense of security. I don't want to put my children through the same thing.

– Not just a parent

First, maybe talk to a professional about how you can make peace with this bad memory. I think many people walked in on something confusing when they were a kid and figured it out later. For you, the trauma seems to be related to the lack of information – and being locked out. It might have been better if your parents had explained what actually happened, even in vague terms. That's always an option for you, too. You can be more transparent to your kids about your need for adult time on occasion. Basically, don't blame sex on a truck and the whole thing will feel a bit better – less like a source of great fear and shame.

Second, yeah, good luck finding time! It is difficult, and I won't pretend there are magic answers. I have friends who haven't had a second alone together, fully awake, in years. Special nights are gifted by baby sitters, friends, or family members who can take the kids for a night. This past year has been extra difficult because it wasn't as easy to call for someone to come over, but if you're sharing your circle with other people at this point, tell them what you need.

Honestly, I've made a commitment to my friends that when it feels a bit safer, I will babysit. I want everyone who's spent the past year with kids to have a date night – even an overnight.

Also remember that this is temporary. Kids get just a little bit older and they want privacy and space.

But let's have some parents weigh in on this. I'd love to hear from people about when they felt their private lives with spouses returned after having children.

– Meredith

Readers? How do/did you find alone time? Pep talks, please?