The Beginners Guide to date nights (when you have kids)
Have kids? Then you know that date night can almost become something of a myth. Between coordinating babysitters, and making sure you actually make it out of the house, it ends up being more of a nightmare more than anything. It can seem like date night is a thing of the past- but as the self care guru Rachel Hollis always says, you have to continue dating your way through your marriage! (Check out her amazing podcast with her husband here!)
Why should we keep dating through marriage? (or engagement)
Think about it- you spend all day at work. Or with the kids. Wiping snot, cleaning poop off of toddlers…not exactly the most glamorous thing. For me personally, I know that my hair is normally thrown up in a the messiest, knottiest bun I can possibly configure, and I’m normally wearing some combination of old shorts and stained tshirt (no point in ruining more clothes!)
Dating through engagement or marriage after you have kids is just another way to ensure that you’re maintaining your sense of self, even when it seems like the world is nuts.
Think about it- when was your last date night?? And how did you feel before? How about during, and after? Me personally, I get super excited before a date night with C. I think about it all day, going back and forth with myself on what I’ll wear and what we’ll do. If he’s picking the activity, restaurant or agenda for the night, it’s even more exciting.
How to get started with ensuring date night stays alive and well
First off, the most important part of ensuring date night stays alive and well, is making sure that you and your significant other are on the same page. Date night isn’t a by yourself thing (that’s self care- also important!) This is something you have to commit to- it’s a time commitment. Financial commitment. Mental, physical, emotional commitment! It takes a lot for a date night- bet you’ve never thought of it that way!
Second of all, you need to make sure that you’re ready and equipped with ideas. Now, the biggest stop sign for date night in my life (besides a baby sitter)? Finances. Kids aren’t cheap. Honestly, with 3 kids under 2, I really should buy stock in Pampers and Huggies, because it looks like a diaper factory warehouse in our spare room. Snacks, diapers, formula, wipes…it all adds up, obviously, and it’s not a cheap bill. Between children expenses and normal life bills, life can leave you feeling pretty strapped for cash. But that’s okay- date night doesn’t have to be some super crazy, expensive thing!
Tips for Success in dating through your relationship
First and foremost: you have to get a lil creative. Now, if creativity isn’t your forte, that’s okay! That’s what I’m here for. Well- me and google. But me first! There are a ton of things that can end up getting in the way of a successful date night, especially once you have kiddos. Finances, planning, general exhaustion…you know the drill. So below are some different date ideas- check them out!
Stuck on date night ideas? check these out!
Cinnamon Roll Date night (Or your alternative)
Our very first Valentine’s together, I told C I wanted to make cinnamon roll waffles. At the time, back in 20-whatever, these were blowing up. It doesn’t help that I literally love cinnamon rolls and could eat them every day for every meal- but that’s another story for another day. Regardless- we ended up doing them, and it was super cheap and easy, and honestly fun. We spent time together in the kitchen, making them in this cheap waffle maker I had. We dressed them up with icing for me, and peanut butter and I think either icing or syrup. But again, beside the point!
What made this so special was that we did it together. Something fun and simple, super cheap (cinnamon rolls cost what- $2?) You don’t have to make them into waffles- and you don’t even have to do cinnamon rolls. But anything to awaken your sweet tooth and allow ya’ll to have some fun!
This piggie backs off of the cinnamon roll idea above- but it could be breakfast, dinner, whatever. Whatever you have time/stuff/funds for! You could even each pick say 5 ingredients and make a meal of them! Anything to spice it up, bring some spontaneity, and allow for some laughs.
take a bath/have a spa night
Okay, hear me out ya’ll- I know this one sounds a little crazy. Also, depending on the size of your bathtub, this could be completely out of the question. But I know that a lot of times, men don’t necessarily allow themselves to be pampered- not meaning they don’t/wouldn’t enjoy it!
Try having a night (after the kids go to bed if necessary) where you pour your favorite adult beverage, break out a spouse approved face mask, facial treatment, whatever, and go to town. Grab the pore strips, lay back, and relax. Soak your feet, drink your drinks, and laugh it up as you relax (as much as you can.)
Thrift Store Outfit
I’ve seen this one more and more lately- though we have yet to try it! Basically, you go into a thrift store near you, set a spending limit, and pick out an outfit for each other. It can be silly, it can even be ridiculously mismatched- but you guys will know where and how these outfits came about! After that, do whatever activity you want- go to a nice restaurant, or a diner. Go to the park and walk around, grab an icecream, WHATEVER.
Roleplay a date
Go somewhere in separate vehicles. Only have one car? Fine! Ride together, but once you arrive, go in separate. Pretend you’re on a first date- get to know each other in a new light. It’s going to feel ridiculously silly at first. Obviously, you know that you know each other and probably everything about each other, down to how you fart after dinner. But you can put all that aside and either act like you’ve never met, or maybe even be completely different people for the night. Playing pretend seems like a childish concept, but it can be revitalizing in some cases.
Take a class
This one might take more planning and funds, but can be super fun! Take a class- whether it be a painting class, a cooking class, maybe even a dance class! Something you both normally wouldn’t do. Maybe one of you is interested in it, or neither of you are- regardless, it’ll be fun bonding through the newness of it, and the fact that you’re both unfamiliar with what’s happening- but you’ll have each other!
The Last Thing You Need to Know about dating through your relationship
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you stay close and you stay involved. It can be so easy to get into a routine, to where even intimacy turns into just another task to check off your list- but it doesn’t have to be this way! And as far as not having funds- that’s workable, too. Whether sacrifices need to be made (not eating out every day of the week, or not getting Starbucks every morning on the way to work,) or even if you just have to think simpler, a regular date night is an extremely achievable goal.
If you try any of these, send me a message and let me know! I’d love to see your date nights or date night ideas!