Most parents are in agreement that date night is great and an incredible gift to give their relationship. It provides space for a couple to disconnect from their role as parents and reconnect as lovers and friends. However, it is common that parents forget to or donʼt make time for consistent date nights within their life.
This inconsistency that many parents experience, myself included, has made me curious. I asked around.
Here are some of the top answers I received:
1. It’s too expensive
2. We Are SO Tired!!! It’s much simpler to stay at home.
3. My kids throw a ﬁt when we leave the house without them. It’s not worth the trouble.
4. We spend so little time together right now it feels awkward when we are alone without the kids.
5. It is too hard to ﬁnd a babysitter.
All of these valid and familiar reasons for not establishing a date night reminds me of how incredible and all encompassing the role of parenthood truly is. It in fact can dictate parents lives. Before kids, weighing the beneﬁts of a good night’s sleep against a night on the town is much less dyer or for some not even thought about. Worries that your nursing baby will wake you up an hour after falling asleep because you came home hours after bed time, or the strange re-connection process that takes place between
partners after long days working and taking care of other people’s needs all inﬂuence the brains reasoning for avoiding date night. Not to mention the incredible tight rope act of budgeting when supporting a family. All of these reasons and more make couples feel a sense of apathy regarding setting up a date night. It just seems easier to maintain status quo and stay home.
Date Night; It Does A Relationship Good... Pass It On
It is possible to overcome these challenges and the fact of the matter is that date night is very important to a relationship. As I asked couples what they enjoyed about date night the overall themes reported were feelings of freedom, relaxation, rejuvenation reconnection with their spouse, and a genuine happiness that they went out and enjoyed life as adults.
Additionally parents noticed that although they stayed up later and used more energy then they may have staying at home they felt more energized the following days and were more present and patient with their children. Consequently the enjoyment of being out of the house and doing something together worked to reboot their senses making parenting a more pleasant and creative experience. Therefore date night beneﬁts a whole family! When kids feel the positive results that trickle down to their daily routines they will begin to look forward to date night as well.
Key factors to making a consistent date night in your life:
Affordability, reliable childcare, and regularity (meaning you have set a certain time weekly or biweekly to go on a date and you stick with it).
Here are some ideas on how to achieve these goals:
· Sync your calendars: So often parents are living parallel lives that only cross paths a couple times a day. Make sure that you have access to each other’s schedules and pencil each other in during a time that is optimal for each of you.
· Babysitting trades: Find a couple you trust who has kids and switch off watching each others kids after bedtime. It’s a win win situation. The adult who is babysitting has some quiet alone time and didn’t have to deal with the hassle of putting your kids to sleep, the couple gets to go on a date for free, and the remaining parent can take it easy at home.
· Go to parties: When you do need to pay a babysitter, eat dinner at home and go to a party. You don’t have to spend an extra 100 dollars on dinner and a movie in addition to your babysitting costs. Mention this idea to your friends without kids and see if they are up for hosting. I tested this out and was surprised how many people where game.
· Utilize the natural world: I know winter is upon us and it is a bit hard to be outside in the cold but a nice hike or walk on a well maintained path can be an easy and free way to reconnect with each other. You can bring with you a thermos of warm tea and some snacks and make a picnic out of it.
· Matinees: Go to an afternoon movie. Just as the witching hour strikes your children and they become unmanageable in the late afternoon. Bring in some fresh blood to watch them and go to the movies. The kids typically enjoy the change of pace and you get to see a movie for less while also getting home in time for an early bedtime.
· Open mic night at a local coffee shop: See free live music without the door cover by testing the new talent around town. If the music ends up disastrous you can leave and there was no money lost.
You Deserve It!
Going on a date is a time to enjoy yourself, talk about things you can’t when distracted by your children, and to remember who you are as a couple. It is a wonderful gift to give and receive and it will beneﬁt your whole family. It’s worth the hassle of organizing it and you deserve it.