For Busy Parents of Little Ones
You’ve got drool marks across your shoulders, congealed bananas in your hair, and a wet-wipe hitchhiking on the bottom on your slipper (and you don’t even want to know how it go there or why it’s staying). Date night is perhaps the furthest thing from your mind – but it’s time to put it back somewhere in the frontal lobe where you can dream about it and even have fun with it. If you’re a parent of wee little ones and you just feel like date night will never happen again, try some of these mini-date night versions that are doable, even if you don’t have a babysitter and still have that banana in your hair. You need date night – and your kids need you to have date night.
5 Date Night Ideas You Can Do at Home
1. Dinner for Two – Feed the kids at the typical dinner hour (and just feed your husband enough to tide him over), then proceed about your evening as usual. Once the kids are bathed and in bed, throw some burgers or steaks on the grill, or even just arrange a plate of meats, cheeses, crackers, and fruit for the two of you. Light some candles at the table or spread out a blanket and eat on the floor next to the fireplace. When you can take even 15 minutes to do this a couple of times a month you’ll be amazed at how much more connected you can feel to your partner – no babysitter required.
2. Drive-in Movie Mini-van Style – Grab the baby monitor, the laptop, and your favorite boxes of munchies and head to the minivan in the garage for your own drive-in movie (just don’t turn on the engine in the enclosed space!). You can just watch something on Netflix, or grab a DVD from Redbox when you’re at the grocery store buying more bananas. You’ll be in your own space, and you won’t have to also stare at the laundry pile sitting on the edge of the sofa waiting to be folded.
3. Dance – Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers love to dance, and are hardly as picky about their music as teenagers can be. Take advantage of your kids’ love for music and put together some songs that remind you and your partner of you as a couple – your wedding song, first date song, or the tunes that would waft through the windows of your first apartment together. Then ask him to dance. Let the kids boogie around you, but make sure you save a few songs just for each other.
4. Table of Plenty – You might have entertained friends eons ago when your dishes coordinated and there was not a wet-wipe to be found in the house. Bring back some of those fun evenings and invite some friends over (probably those who have kids, too, so they understand the drool across the shoulder and even come with a coordinating look). Just opening up your home and hearts to an evening with friends can make you feel like a real, live person once again, instead of a diaper vending machine. You can order pizza, have a Wii sing-off, or just share some group family time together.
5. Walk Down Memory Lane – Pull out pictures of you and your partner when you were both kids through the time that you met. Share memories with each other about those years before you knew each other, and start to create a family photo album with these photographs and notes about those younger years. Young kids love to look at pictures of their parents and imagine their mom and dad as kids – almost impossible sometimes. Compare pictures of yourselves as babies to those of your kids, and even create pages just for these side-by-side comparisons. Even just spending 20 minutes one evening a month reminiscing and sharing stories will help you feel connected.
Whatever you do, keep building those connections with your partner and dedicating even mini-date nights to each other. There will come a day when the house will be quieter, the kids less dependent on you for their mashed bananas. Don’t find yourself on that day staring at a person you have forgotten how to laugh with or spend time together. Marriage takes commitment and time (just like our kids), but our kids are depending on us to find ways to make that happen. You can (should) still have date nights (drool marks and wet-wipes are optional).