Today we are talking about one of my favorite things: Date Night! Date Night can be hard to accomplish when you have multiple children, but it’s achievable. I’ve outlined a game plan you can implement to get you and your spouse a fun, needed date night away.
I remember when Jason and I were newly married.
No, I’ll go back even further than that.
I remember when Jason and I first started dating. We were young (sixteen and nineteen) and so excited about our newfound relationship. We would go to Noodles and Co. every Saturday evening after our church service ended.
Then four years later came marriage. We still went on plenty of dates. But if I’m honest we did not go on nearly as many as when we were “dating”.
Next came Judah. Our sweet precious baby boy that we had waited so long for and prayed so earnestly for, arrived. He changed the whole dynamic of our lives the moment he entered the world with his dark curly hair and well-developed newborn lungs. However, we still were able to go on dates with the help of my parents and in-laws which both live near us (I know, we are spoiled rotten). It also helped that Judah was a miracle baby and the first grand baby for my parents.
Finally, after two years of having just Judah, Selah came. Now we have two Littles running around the house. Being a stay at home parent and having my husband being a full time worker, often leaves me feeling a strange cocktail mix of frantic and stagnate simultaneously.
Ever heard the saying, “The days are long but the years are short”?
Date night in this season of life with a four year old and a two year old feels like taking a hot shower after you have been camping all week. It is the refreshing time I need with the man that I love most.
Yet now that I need date night the most, it is the most difficult to achieve. But I am determined to make it work! I am pleased to say that using the following strategies, there have been many more date nights for this Mama. Just like a long-needed shower, I am much more pleasant to be around when they occur.
So busy Mamas out there, I urge you, TAKE BACK DATE NIGHT! (said in my best Braveheart voice) I have even included a free printable to help you out.
Ok. Enough chit chat. Here we go!
Strategy Number One: Schedule Date Night in Advance
Set a date and get it on both you and your husband’s calendars. Once it’s on both of your calendars, you need to seek out baby sitting. I like to schedule date nights a month in advance. This doesn’t mean that you only take one date night a month, but I make sure that I give myself at least that much time to find child care. I have noticed that my baby sitters are able to fit me into their schedule much easier if I schedule far out in advance than if I am asking “Hey what are you doing this Friday night?” Most likely, your prospective babysitter already has plans.
Strategy Number Two: Prepare Your Children and Get Them Excited
Once you know who will be babysitting for you, tell your kids the exciting news. I always present the news that I am going on a date with my husband like it’s the best thing ever! My kids buy in every time. I lead with “Guess what you guys get to do on Friday?!” I also make sure to tell them they will be getting to eat their favorite dinner (boxed mac and cheese…yes, I’m that Mom), and I tell them that their babysitter is so excited to spend time with them. This flips the situation from “Hey children, Mom and Dad need a break so we are leaving you” to “You both get to spend time with insert baby sitter name here and have a special dinner with them.”
Strategy Number Three: Prepare Your Baby Sitter
I can tell you from being a former middle school teacher who has a lot of experience writing sub plans, set your baby sitter up to succeed with a plan. It does not have to be elaborate or resemble the ridiculously detailed birth plan you walked into the hospital thinking you would need (haha). All you need is some basic info that your baby sitter can reference when needed. Things to include are a basic bedtime routine to follow (if they are putting the kids to bed), wifi name and password, special instructions, and emergency contact information. You can get the free printable I’ve created here.
Strategy Number Four: Plan Out Your Date Night
Ok maybe you are seeing a little bit of a theme, planning? Yes, I am a planner by nature (sometimes to my husband’s great angst). However, planning really helps you get the most out of your investment. You have spent time securing a babysitter, preparing your children, and writing down information for your babysitter in your awesome printable that you got from this blog (you’re welcome). Now how tragic would it be go through all that trouble, get in the car, and have this happen:
“Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know. You decide.”
Now I could continue typing out how this conversation plays out. But I won’t. You know why? Because you know how this ends. Because you have had this SAME EXACT CONVERSATION before with your spouse.
Do yourself a little favor and think in advance, days, nay maybe even weeks before this date occurs. Decide what you and your spouse would most enjoy and want to get out of your precious time alone together.
Strategy Number Five: Relax and Be Flexible
Now I will contradict myself slightly from what I just told you about how you need to have a plan for everything. While I LOVE plans, sometimes they don’t work out. Maybe you were going to an outdoor movie and it starts raining. Maybe your favorite restaurant has an hour wait time ect. Be able to laugh and roll with the punches. The most important thing about date night is not what you do, but who you do it with. Focus on enjoying your spouse and reconnecting your relationship.
Alright folks. I wish you happy dating. May it bring laughter and refreshment into your lives. What are your tricks for dating with Littles? I would love to read your insight in the comments.