You know that thing you and your husband used to do? No, not that. The other thing. Where you got out of the house together without little children in tow. You know, the dating thing.
What happened to that?! Date night used to be a thing. We need to make time for date night.
When you're at home with your kids all day and your husband is working hard at the office all day it can be hard to find any energy at all to do more than veg on the couch and watch reality tv before falling asleep. And sometimes it takes going out on an actual, planned, date to realize how much you need date night with your guy.
There are so many things that can keep you from leaving the kids at home and getting out for a date night. Every mama I know can come up with a list of reasons why dates don't happen as often as we would all want them to. Here are a couple of the excuses I've made since the babes were born and what I'm doing to kick them to the curb so I can get some more one-on-one time with the man of the house.
So this is one I think any mama can relate to. When you're the one who is doing most of the household purchases, replacing the kids essentials, and making sure the bills are paid on time you are intimately acquainted with the family finances. This is probably the main reason my husband and I find to skip out on dates-- it can get expensive. Between the movie and the dinner and the sitter the costs can add up quick. And when you're already trying to save to make the budget stretch for the necessities, going out for a date can seem superfluous.
Well it's not. So stop thinking that. Here's the deal, there is always a way to make room in the budget. We do it all the time! We plan for things, we save a little here and there, we make adjustments, and we make it happen. It's important for us to make dates a priority, and we do that by planning for them. Get a sitter set up ahead of time (or even set up a consistent day/time during the week), set aside some cash, and write it on your calendar! Have friends with little ones? Do a date night swap where you watch each others kids to save a little money. Whether it's weekly, twice a month, whatever works for the two of you, just make sure you plan your dates! This way everyone knows that it's happening and you will start making it a part of your routine without feeling like you're stretching too much to make it happen.
Hard to Handle Babes
Okay this is a legit concern for a lot of mamas so lets get it out there. There are times in our lives when we are embarrassed and concerned and worried about how hard out little ones are to deal with. This keeps a lot of us from reaching out to get a babysitter, because we don't want them to have to deal with our unruly babe. It is totally irrational, and yet we can't shake the feeling of needing to be the only ones who puts up with our kids. And if you're like myself and my husband, sometimes you put off dates until grandparents came to town (once every 3 or 4 months) because you know they love you and *probably* won't judge you if your kids are ridiculous. Quick recommendation: don't wait 4 months to go on a date with your husband. That's a dumb thing to do.
This mama's advice is to get over it, and call a sitter. You're paying them for a reason, and the reason is to watch and care for your kids. If your kids have a hard time with that, well sorry not sorry, mama. You can let your sitter know ahead of time, give them a heads up, set them up for success (as much as is in your control), but you shouldn't feel guilty or embarrassed to head out the door for a date just because your babe is crying at home. Something that has helped me with this was letting the sitter know what we do (giving her the run down of nighttime routine) but letting her know that if that doesn't happen, no biggie! Don't let that stop you from going out! So what if you come home from your date and your toddler wouldn't go to sleep and was screaming all night. Pay the sitter for her time, and put the kids to bed when you get home. It's worth it. Your kids will learn just like anything else, and you going on a consistent date with your husband is not going to scar them for life. Probably. So I'm told.
Limited Family Time
This is something that comes up a lot in our house, because my husband has certain seasons where he doesn't come home until after the kids are asleep, and rarely sees them except on weekends AKA primo dating time. So we will make excuses to not go on dates on Saturdays because it's taking away from time that can be spent with the whole family together. Of course it's important to have time together as a family. Of course my husband needs to spend time being a dad and getting that personal time with the kids. Of course it's good for us to make memories together and get out of the house as a 4-some.
BUT it is equally important to work on your relationship as a couple. Like I've mentioned before, it's all about planning and prioritizing. If you and your husband know that weekends are the only realistic time for dates and family time, then maybe you're looking at every other Saturday night for dates, and the off weekends for family fun. As long as you're making time for yourselves as a couple your family time will always be more meaningful! If you're not strapped down by just going on dates during weekends, maybe set date nights for weeknights and save family activities for Saturday and Sunday. Make it work for your schedule as a couple, make it work for your family, but make it work!