Date nights are super easy ... until you're a parent.
Did you have an abundance of date night ideas early in your relationship? How about when you were newly married? As parents, what date night ideas do the two of you come up with these days? Do you even have a date night?
When my daughter, now a high school sophomore, was much younger, one of the topics among parents at the playground was date night. There were many couples who paid for sitters and spent their entire romantic evening either talking about what their son or daughter had done that day, or wondering what the child was doing at that moment with the babysitter.
1. The daytime date "night."
Many parents find that after a workday filled with responsibilities and pressure or a weekend that's packed with activities, they are too exhausted to enjoy each other's company. They sit across the table from each other and struggle to stay awake.
Contrary to the name of the article, make it a daytime date. During the day, you may be more awake and alert so you can actually enjoy each other's company.
2. Get nostalgic.
Do something together that you enjoyed doing when you first met. It could be bowling, seeing a play or going to hear your favorite group. Doing an activity that's a "blast from the past" can help you reconnect.
3. Role reversal.
Instead of going out to dinner and a movie with your spouse, send your child and the sitter out to dinner and a movie. You and your spouse stay home and make full use of three hours of glorious privacy.
4. Book a cheap hotel room.
We're not talking about leaving the kids with a sitter overnight, just three or four hours of hotel/motel bliss. This could be a little costly but look for hotel/motel deals and grab one. Even in a major city, you may be able to find a last-minute deal for a romantic interlude.
Here's how to make the most of this date idea without further bank account damage. Take a picnic basket with chilled champagne, fruit, a cheese plate and some fancy chocolate. Bring some scented massage oil and use your imagination!
5. Phone a friend.
For a less expensive alternative of the previous date night idea, ask friends who are going out of town if you may use their home or apartment as your "hotel room" for the night. Bring your sheets and towels and leave a bottle of champagne as a thank you, along with an offer to return the favor when you're out of town.
6. Double date.
Make it a double date with the parents of your child's friend. If the kids are old enough for the sitter-to-child ratio to work, pool your resources and let the kids have a play date while the adults have a double date.
You get the enjoyment of remembering how much fun your spouse is when you see him or her interact with others outside of the rut that the two of you may have fallen into.
7. Be original.
Try an activity the two of you have never done. Maybe that's taking a cooking class, a dancing lesson or a visiting a ceramics make-it-yourself studio. Doing something new forces you to connect in a new way.
8. Set up a babysitting cooperative.
Work out a deal with your children's friend's parents to babysit each other's kids on alternate weekends. That way, each weekend your kids have a standing play date while the parents get alternating date nights.
9. The work-week daytime date.
Skip the babysitter and go on a date while your child is still in school. If you know you have personal days or sick days left at work, use them and explore your city. Go to your favorite restaurant at lunch when the menu is usually cheaper or hit a museum or gallery. Enjoy playing hooky with your spouse.
10. Skip out early.
Get a sitter and go to an evening PTA meeting together — that's not the romantic part. Leave the meeting a little early before the crowd of parents and tack on a romantic dinner together before you head home to relieve the sitter.