The best kind of date for parents of littles
Do you remember when you just had one baby, and he or she was just that: a baby? Relatives and loved ones from all around were lining up to watch them for you so you could have time together as a couple and still prioritize your marriage after having kids. Then, right about 8 months into that child's life, fewer and fewer people wanted to help you out. Apparently babysitting isn't as fun and convenient once a child starts crawling. Then, you went ahead and got yourself knocked up again and now that you have 2+ kids, the offers stopped coming and whenever you ask they are all of a sudden busy all the freaking time. Convenient.
Now, you could hire a babysitter, but the majority of 12 year olds aren't nearly as responsible as we were. Also, do you know what teenage babysitters cost these days?! $10-12/hr in our part of town! What?! I'm pretty sure I made like $3/hr and I came with books, games and other activities to do with the kids! Imagine being out with your husband and looking at each other thinking about how you'd love to order another drink. You need to calculate that every extra round will cost you an extra Hamilton (that's who is on the $10 bill in case you didn't know and thought I was making a bazaar Lin-Manuel Miranda reference). And the babysitters who actually clean up after your kids and know CPR cost even more. It's just not sustainable for a weekly date night. You could easily be spending $200 just on sitters every month, and there goes your date night budget before you even ordered an appetizer.
So what is my solution for this?
What is a couch date, you may ask?
Exactly what it sounds like. After the kids go down, we pour ourselves a cocktail (usually a ridiculously huge bourbon manhattan) to share and then talk. No tv, phones are down (unless we need to google something really bad like "who is on the $10 bill?") and we just hang out. Like actually hang out. We talk about the kids a little, we talk about work a little, we talk about how we really need to get on a budget and how we just really enjoy each other. Nate is my best friend and is my biggest supporter in everything I do. He encourages me and finds solutions to all of my problems (whether I want him to or not).
We try to do couch dates and truly really connect on the couch over a cocktail once or twice a week. It is easier and more fun than scrolling through Netflix for 45 minutes just to find that there is nothing good to watch. Now, there are some nights where you need to just Netflix & Chill (literally) , but it is so important to us to designate time that we consider a date. I'm not fancy anyway. When we do go out, I usually prefer to sit at the bar in any restaurant we go to because it sets a relaxed and informal mood for our date.
We go out out at least once a month.
While I love love LOVE our couch dates, it is important to be reminded that we are real human beings who can slap on makeup and stilettos and keep up with the cool kids every once and a while. We go to the restaurants that were cool like a year and a half ago, because lines are the worst. I'm sorry, I'm too old to wait in lines. By waiting a year and a half after the height of hype for any given restaurant, you still get to experience what everyone else had been raving about, except there will almost usually be a spot at the bar where you can be serve right away. You are welcome for my old person hack.
How do you do dates?
This is what worked for us, but I'm always looking for new ideas to fit them into our life and stay connected. Do you get a sitter or is your family still longing for time with your kids? When you go out, do you have a go-to date spot or do you prefer to try new cool places like the foodie you are?
I'd love to live vicariously through your date life!