Last weekend, I went on my first date with my husband since my fourth child was born. It was the first time I had left my infant, but we were only gone for a few hours, and we both survived.
As a parent, it’s hard to find time to get out of the house to go on a date, and be romantic and loving. But it’s important to carve out time for that. For me, I know if haven’t had alone time with my husband for a while, we start to feel distant from one another — and that’s never good for a marriage.
A lot of things change when a child enters your life, including what “romance” looks like and what a “date” looks like. Pre-kids, we went on elaborate surprise dates filled with romantic lighting, dressing up, and talking about dreams. Post-kids romance and dating is more about just being together.
There are some dates that would be totally unacceptable for a first date yet take on a whole new romantic meaning when you become parents. I still believe those elaborate dates are important — but realistically, as parents we don’t have weekly or even monthly time for those. Connecting is key!
Here are 7 ways parents can sneak in a date night (regardless of how busy you are!):
1. Have a grocery store date
Grocery shopping seems to be one of those things that either you love or you hate. It’s a chore we can’t really avoid unless we’re able to outsource it, but not many of us can. Take the mundane errand and use it as your weekly date — time together to reconnect. There can be a lot of romance when you plan your weekly meals together and use that time when you’re aisle-walking to talk about your day, your dreams, and anything else on your mind. Sure, it’s not a date you should plan for someone you’re newly dating — but when you’re a parent, that alone time is needed and this is an easy way to get it!
Why not grocery shop for a romantic meal — take the ingredients home and cook together! Check out these 5 easy romantic recipesthat will take your date to a new level.
2. Binge-watch your favorite movie or TV show on Netflix
It can be hard to justify dates with your partner when you have kids because it’s just not as easy as it all used to be. You can’t call your husband up and say, “I bought tickets to see our favorite band, meet me in three hours” because one million other things have to be done first. Not only are you likely not sure what their favorite band is anymore, but you have to find a babysitter, which can be a hassle, not to mention expensive. It’s no wonder adding all those tasks to our to-do list often means we forgo the date and go to bed early.
Dating doesn’t have to be that complicated or expensive either. While the concert is a better choice date for someone who doesn’t have kids, for us parents, romance can be found in the living room with a subscription to Netflix.
If you’re not sure what to watch, check out these 15 can’t-miss movies on Netflix, and you’ll be set for dates for a while.
3. Go someplace with just one, not all, of your kids
I have four children now, so finding time alone with my husband is not easy. I first have to find someone willing and able to hang out with all four kids (thankfully my family lives nearby, and they’re happy to help), but then it feels like all the stars have to align for my husband and I to take time out together.
It doesn’t happen often, so sometimes we do our alone time/one-on-two time with just one of our four kids. It’s surprising how much easier one child is after dealing with four — just having to deal with one little voice interrupting us every so often as opposed to multiple! Looking for small opportunities to do two things at once (in this case, alone time with husband plus the needed alone time for our kids) can be the difference between spending much-needed time together and never having any kind of alone time together.
4. Have a romantic dinner — at your favorite fast-food joint
Do you remember the days where you and your boyfriend (be it before you had kids or before you got married) would go out for dinner at a place that has real cloth napkins, expensive meals, and you need an reservation? No? Me neither, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go out for dinner with your partner until you can find that amount of time. A fast-food drive-thru is the perfect date spot for you and your partner because you don’t have to even get out of the car, but you can still have a tasty meal together when you have less than 20 minutes.
If your next date is going to be at the drive-thru, make it fun and healthy. Here’s what to eat — and what to avoid — at 12 top fast food restaurants.
5. Attend a work function together
When you think romance, you probably don’t think about the office and work, but when you’re a parent — work-related events can provide just the opportunity you need for romance. This weekend I went out for the first time, and it just happened to be a work-function for my husband’s job. It’s not exactly romantic as you’re networking with his supervisors and co-workers, but it was time that the two of us had the excuse to dress up a little, do the extra work to find a babysitter, and enjoy adult conversation. Though it’s not a date most others would consider “romantic,” it was as good as it gets for me right now — and it was perfect.
6. Have a picnic (at the playground!)
In warmer weather my family likes to spend time at the playground with our kids. If you’re the same, why not turn that into a fun, easy date with your partner at the same time? Pack a grown-up picnic for just you and your partner (maybe bring some juice boxes for the kids), and head to a grassy park with the whole family. As you watch your kids climb on the jungle gym and swing on the swings, you and your partner can set up your blanket where they’re still visible, but enjoy some quite alone time.
Not sure what to pack in your picnic — we have just the list you need!
7. Go on a coffee run
As a fellow parent, you’re probably fueled right now on caffeine (if you’re not, please tell me your secret), and you make time for a few cups throughout the day. Why not use that built-in time to reconnect with your partner too? It only takes a few minutes — even less time if you stop in to your partner’s office with cup just to drop off — and not only will it help you both out to have some caffeine, but those quick moments together will recharge you too.
:: As a parent, what are some ways you sneak in some alone time? Share in the comments! ::
Lead photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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