I think it goes without saying, becoming a parent is pretty life changing. It changes the dynamics of everything. Suddenly you are consumed by the little being you created. It’s amazing. I fell so in love with both of my children and I fell hard. So did my husband. We are enamored with our kids. Of course we still love each other, but neither of us are the type of people who would put ourselves before our kids. They are little and they need us now. I know there are people out there who say their marriage and relationship with their spouse comes first, but we are not those people. I won’t debate why, because that is pointless. Everyone has their thing and we’re all entitled to do what we feel is best. I wouldn’t say our marriage was hurting, but in hindsight I think we were missing something and that something was date nights. We still got adequate time with each other, because we learned early on that if we stuck to an early bed time for the kids, it meant time for us to spend together, but something was still missing. Our kids will be four and two in April and I’m sad to say, before recently I could probably count the number of date nights we had since having kids on one or two hands. We’d go out for our birthdays and anniversaries and that was pretty much the extend of our date nights. We just never made time for them and always had an excuse.
At the end of last year we decided to ditch the excuses and make time to date each other again, because it’s important. We found a sitter on care.com and then talked with her, ran a background check, and met with her. We really liked her and so did our kids, so it was settled. She would become our regular sitter and we would set up recurring date nights. We decided bi-weekly date nights would be within our budget and we set up a date night every other Wednesday, and gasp, we’ve even hired her a few times in between, because we’re really enjoying dating each other again, and she is so fantastic that my girls ask for her regularly. It’s so liberating. Before, I could think of a hundred excuses why it would just be easier to stay in ie: the girls are too little, it’s too expensive, I’m too tired, you’re too tired, we don’t have a sitter, we don’t have a lot family here to help us out – the list could go on and it did, for over three years.
No more, folks. My husband and I have been dating again and it’s been awesome. I became a stay-at-home mom about 10 months ago, so I really, really, really needed this. And you know what? Even when I was working we could have really, really, really, benefitted from making time for date nights. There’s just something about getting cleaned up and going our for dinner, drinks, a movie, an experience, whatever. It’s fun, it helps us both reset, it gives us something to look forward to and even though we had a good marriage to begin with, I think dating my husband again is making it even better. My husband and I have already created a list a mile long of all the places we want to try. When Christmas rolled around last year and my family asked me what I wanted, I had no shame in telling them that I’d be perfectly happy receiving gift cards for restaurants. I didn’t need stuff, I just wanted a way to ensure my husband and I would keep up our date nights. They hooked me up! A few weeks ago my husband and I had sushi together, without the kids for the first time in over two years (seriously). Oh my gosh it was amazing. It wasn’t rushed like it usually is when we have kids in tow. We ordered slowly, we drank a bottle of wine, it was amazing. Why did we wait so long to make date nights a priority? I know some couples probably had this figured out a long time ago and never let the dating fall by the way side, but we totally didn’t have it figured out and for those of you who are in my shoes, here are some tips that might help you make date nights a priority again.
- Commit to it. Set a recurring day and stick with it.
- Work it in your budget. Decide what you can spend on a monthly basis and go from there.
- Hire a sitter or enlist a willing family member to watch the kids (for us, it was nice to have the same sitter commit to the recurrence).
- Find a good happy hour. Extended happy hours that go until 7 are great because we usually can’t get out of the house until almost 6pm. CBQ and O’Cleary’s at The Outlets in Sparks have a 4-7pm happy hour M-F, which is great for a snack/dinner before catching a movie at IMAX.
- LivingSocial and Groupon are your friends. I love trying new places, especially at a discount.
- Buy gift cards for restaurants at Costco. They always have some pretty sweet deals and it helps you commit to a date night.
- When your family is asking what you want for holidays/birthdays etc. feel free to say a gift card to a restaurant. This helped us build up a little stash of date night fun!
- Enjoy dating your spouse/ significant other again!