Back in early August, my husband and I went out for a lovely date night. We went to a nice restaurant and paid too much for dinner. Then, we went shopping for gifts for two of our daughters who both have birthdays in August. It's kind of become a tradition - we do it every summer just before their birthdays.
Unfortunately, that's the only time we regularly have a date night. Most of the time, the closest we come is sitting not he couch watching TV in our pajamas while the kids are in the other room watching something else on TV.
We really enjoy our date nights, though, and it's important for a couple to have some time alone together no matter how long you've been married. It's something we should do more often, but we don't.
Mostly because it's just too complicated. In fact, we were supposed to have a date afternoon a few weeks ago because his parents were going to take the girls on an outing. However, one kid got sick and all those plans went out the window. Typical. We've got three kids, jobs, and busy schedules. We rarely have a evening "free" of other obligations and, when we do, we are so tired we just want to relax at home. The fact is that date night is more needed than ever these days, but making it happen is just far more difficult and complicated than it used to be. Remember how is used to be? Before these dang kids got in the way?? ;-)
Then: Preparation would begin about an hour before it was time to leave. You would shower and agonize over what to wear. You would carefully curl your hair and apply just the right amount of makeup. Your husband would shave and dab on your favorite cologne. You would casually head out about 7:00 pm.
Now: Preparation begins days in advance because, now, you have to compare calendars and find a free evening. Then, you have to secure a babysitter. When the day arrives, you make lists of phone numbers and bedtime instructions. About twenty minutes before you walk out the door, you grab you best pair of jeans, slap on some makeup, and throw your hair into a ponytail. Finally, you say "Bye!" to the kids, pry them off you leg, and scurry out the door about 5:30pm.
Dinner Then: You chose a restaurant with a party atmosphere. It likely had cheap appetizers and a great bar with giant, rainbow-colored “fishbowl” cocktails that you could share.
Now: You choose a restaurant with a quiet, calm atmosphere. The wine list is extensive.
Conversation Then: You discuss the latest celebrity gossip, friends, and maybe work. You also discuss your plans for after dinner.
Now: You swear you will not discuss the children and then you do it anyway. You might manage to squeeze in some discussion about work, politics, or schedules for the coming week.
Date Night Before Kids vs. After Kids #OneWord @TheGoldenSpoons @JanineHuldie
After Dinner Then: You head to a late movie, go bowling, or take in a concert. That was often followed by hanging out at a coffee shop or meeting friends at bar for a few more drinks.
Now: You might see a movie, but it’s more likely that you will use the time to run errands, shop for kids’ birthday presents, or end up perusing the aisles at Barnes & Noble.
Returning home Then: You get home sometime around midnight and slip into a little lingerie. Eventually, you would fall asleep knowing that you could sleep in the next morning and go out again the next night.
Now: You are home by 10:00. You thank the sitter, check on the kids and give them each a kiss. You tell each other that you must make an effort to do this more often. Then, you slip into your comfiest pajamas, and go to sleep knowing you’ll be wakened bright and early. And it will, in reality, be quite some time before you do this again.
Honestly, I wouldn't trade my kiddos for anything in the world - not even a fancy date night. It just means we have to work a little harder to make it happen.