I don’t know exactly when my life became Groundhog’s Day (great movie), but I live an endless loop of getting my kids dressed, fed, to school, from school, through homework, and to bed. Hubs and I? We speak briefly in the morning, share the evening bedtime wrangle, and are totally spent by 8pm. We enjoy a bit of zombie-esque veg time in front of the tv and, as long as we both manage to not fall asleep on the couch, we head to bed and…hey, hey, hey, I can’t share all my secrets!
We love our children, but we have to get away from them. Far, far, away. Our hugs get sandwiched and interrupted. Our cuddle time for two becomes cuddle time for five (our furry child is a bit of a jealous creature). Our deep conversations are often sprinkled with “Excuse me, Mommy, can I have a snack” or “Dad. Dad? Daddy!” Our meals out involve a stash of Cheerios, a coloring book, and a game of keep the cutlery away from the La Rubia Peligrosa.
I’m tied to the house between my telecommute and domestic goddestry tasks. Hubs is locked away in a dungeon in secret-squirrel-land saving the world one publication at a time. We share emails here and there, but they’re hardly the steamy notes of yesteryear. I mean, I guess “Hon, Can you pick up some cilantro on the way home” could be code for “Hey Sexy, I can’t wait ‘til you get home,” but let’s be real…it reads more like “I want the damn cilantro, don’t be late.”
Enter Date Night. At first, we totally underestimated the importance of date night. I mean, we spend every evening together, so that’s kind of like a date night, right? Wrong. You have got to get out of the house, away from the every day, away from the kids, away from the dog, away from the job, away from responsibilities, and remember what makes your relationship sizzle.
How to Make Time for Date Night
Make a date night routine.
Fight routine with routine. Establish one date night a month. Create a regular date night schedule by designating a recurring date night, like the 1st Thursday of the month. Setting a regular schedule will help you make it a priority. It may also lend itself to setting up a regular schedule with your sitter…bonus!
Find a sitter.
Yes. A sitter. Your kids will be fine. I promise. Leaving your kids with a sitter is not a sign of bad parenting or neglect. Your kids will love you for it. Heck, I had such a fabulous sitter as a kiddo, we used to beg my parents to go out.
I know that finding a reliable sitter can seem like a daunting task. Start by asking your friends or parents of classmates if they have recommendations. If you’re a military family, you can use Sittercity referral service for free to find a pre-screened local sitter in your area.
Not sure you can accommodate babysitting fees in your budget? Cut the cost by working out a baby-sitting trade with your parent-friends; you watch their kids and they watch your kids! Money saving score!
Plan an activity.
Ah, the ever predictable dinner and movie. As much as we love dinner and a movie, it is nice to break up the routine date with a spicier version. Last week we rocked out at the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert (the tix were our birthday gift to each other). Granted, we couldn’t talk, but there was something electric about sharing our love of music and the cool-factor of a concert. We grabbed pre-concert dinner at a favorite restaurant that also offers a 20% military discount. Cha-ching!
Keep it up! Date night is a healthy part of your marriage. Even better, it models a health relationship for your children. I love that La Grande asks me “When are you and Daddy are going on date night again?” I know that Hubs and I are doing our job of showing our children that Mommy and Daddy are more than just Mommy and Daddy to each other. We’re Adri and Mike. And fifty years from now, we will still be Adri and Mike. And we will still have date night.
Make Your Date Night Part of Your Budget
I know. I know how expensive sitters are. I know how date night expenses can add up. On the flip-side, I also know how expensive divorce can be. I said it. Divorce. If you don’t make your marriage a priority, the opportunity costs are staggering. Divorce is expensive from an emotional and financial perspective. Living in an unhappy marriage takes a toll on your mental and physical health, not to mention the message it sends to your children about what their intimate relationships should look like in the future. Your marriage is the crux of your happy family. It ain’t all about the kids. Happy parents make happy kiddos. Enough said.
Here are some tips to help you make room in your budget for date night.
Don’t knock the day date
Day dates are thrifty! Lunch is cheaper than dinner. Some high end restaurants even have Early Bird specials! Matinees are cheaper than evening showings. The great ourdoors is free, so take a hike, sit on the beach, ride bikes, or take a drive!
Like I mentioned above, other parents need a break from their kids and a break on their wallets. Work with other parents to trade babysitting services.
Grab a pic-a-nic basket
Cut the cost of lunch or dinner by preparing a special meal at home and taking it with you on your date night. A park bench or a blanket can be even more romantic (and way cheaper) than sitting at a bustling restaurant.
Coupons are sexy
So you want to eat at the new chic dining destination? Hit the web and dig up some coupons. You can get great deals by joining Groupon or LivingSocial. You might find coupons by checking the restaurant’s website. Don’t forget to ask for military discounts!
Kick the kids out
Get the kids out of the house and have an at home date night! There are some snazzy meals you can order at home (we like LobsterGram), snuggle up on the couch, open a bottle of wine, and make the magic happen.
Make it happen!
Now that I’ve got you all hot and bothered, go plan your date night! I promise that you won’t regret it!
Let me know what you and your honey decided to do!
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