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Date Night

A night off from the kids | How do you make the most of a date night?

Ask owners of small people “What’s one of the hardest parts of becoming a parent?” and I bet a fair few will say maintaining a relationship with your other half as well as keeping yourself sane.

There’s a lot of things that you take for granted pre-kids, y’know stuff like being all spontaneous, having sleep for as little or as long as you fancied, doing what the hell you wanted when you wanted, not having to rely on other humans to look after mini-humans, going for a few drinks with the girls, a dinner at a restaurant with your partner that didn’t have to have a Wacky Warehouse attached to it…you get the idea.
So given the rare chance of an evening away from the kids, I’m sure the mums of the relationship would opt for a bath, glass of wine and an early to bed whilst the dads of the relationship would choose getting the lads together and watching footie down the local. Whilst this is all good and well, you guys are keeping these kids alive so when the chances arise, celebrate your parenting wins together.
Pre-kids we never had to military plan a date night, I don’t think we even went on one. We tended to just get pissed with our mates, roll home kebab in hand and spend all of the next day festering on the couch. When we just had Sofia and before she started school, we were super spoilt and every Sunday was our ‘date night’ as the grandparents had her overnight ready for their granny daycare day the next day, but it got to the stage where we felt like we had to go out every Sunday just because we could. It was pretty expensive as well as routine-y, not to mention the calories we were putting away on our weekly binges.
After over 12 years together, and two children later, I think it’s more important now than ever before to enjoy some ‘us’ time as husband and wife. Not like the usual evenings of Stuart cooking, me at the computer blogging, us then eating in front of the TV and staring at our phones until 10pm rolls round and we go to bed praying for an undisturbed nights sleep.

Here are just a few of my date night ideas – in and out:

  • Netflix and….Just Eat – rather than arguing over who’s cooking and who’s washing up, you can just argue about who’s going to collect the delivery from the door instead! Sometimes simple dates are the best and this one works if the kids are in bed too. It’s probably best not to do what the cool kids do these days and Netflix and chill, cos – you’re probably already having sleepless nights, you don’t want another sleep thief arriving in approx 9 months after that date…
  • Go old school and get the board games out – why save the board games just for Christmas? There are so many games that you can play together and there’s something really old school and romantic about dusting off the old monopoly box and seeing who can bankrupt the other first!
  • Bowling/Ice-Skating/Laser Quest – who says hanging out down the local leisure complex is reserved just for teenagers? Dust off your bowling shoes and head for a night down your local alley, or strap on the blue plastic skates and do your best Torvill & Dean impression… and if you’re feeling really wild, then why not get on the arcade dance mat for a dance off after? There’s something about reliving your youth, drinking slush puppies and chicken in a basket that makes you feel good!
  • Cook a ‘new’ meal together – pull out the cookery book and work on a recipe together for your meal that evening or if you get a complete night off from the kids why not book into a cookery masterclass? Lots of restaurants hold them!
  • Join a dance class – if you’re lucky enough to have a regular night off from the kids, why not join a local dance class? You can learn to foxtrot, cha-cha-cha or paso doble together – what’s more fun than showing those skills off at the next wedding you’re invited too?!
  • Go to a concert or theatre show – have you got a favourite band or artist that you both enjoy? Look out for when they’re next touring and make the effort to go and watch them in concert. Not been to the theatre in years? You might be surprised what shows come to local-ish theatres these days. It’s worth checking through the years program and seeing if anything takes your fancy.
  • Turn the TV off, dim the lights and just relax – another simple one, but who actually ever does this? Every week I say ‘once the kids are in bed I’m going to have a bath, but then they’re in bed and I find a million other things to do. So set aside an evening where there’s nothing else that needs to be done and just chill out. Read books together, chat together and if you’re feeling extra crazy – get the facepacks out and have an at home spa.

I asked some of my fellow bloggers on Twitter what their idea of a perfect date night would be and this is what they said….
Laura from Em & Me said “No phones! We love board games so just playing a board game together with a pizza sounds perfect to me!”, whilst Amy from Mothering a Rainbow says  “…the perfect date night for us is a night in, chocolate or cake, video games and trying to stay awake past 9!”, Mixed up Mummy is a mama after my own heart – simply, “No phones. Peace and quiet. Definitely wine” and Alice from Alice Anne said “The baby overnight with grandparents, plenty of alcohol and a good steak” – are we getting the feeling that us parents simply want peace, quiet and a good bit of food?! We don’t ask for much!
Sons over the Yardarm offers some very wise advice – “Don’t put pressure on yourselves to make it too “special” – it’s a chance to chill out, not a first date at a fancy restaurant on bloody Valentines Day! Drink too much, laugh, take the piss out of your kids behind their backs and drink some more”
It’s important that once the date’s in the calendar that you stick to it. I’m guilty of feeling tired and thinking ‘ah I can’t be bothered, it’s only Stuart, he won’t mind‘ but I wouldn’t do that if it was a night out with the girls, so make sure you prioritise your other half too!

What are your favourite date nights?