When was the last time you and your partner had some fun? And it can’t be that time you shared a bottle of wine once the kids were asleep, only to be woken up at 5am with a screaming child and a blinding headache!
We mean, how long has it been since you both left the house without the kids for the sole purpose of spending time together?
“It’s easier said than done,” you say. “There are so many things that get in the way!”
Guilt. No sitter. Exhaustion. Work commitments. Procrastination. Resentment. Lack of family support. We get it! We give you solutions to the many barriers that get between you and special time with your partner.
Jumping The Many Hurdles Between You and Date Night...
Problem: I get overwhelmed then cancel our date last minute
Going out is a rare occurrence, so you want it to be extra special. You book an expensive restaurant, buy a new outfit, and maybe even get your eyebrows done. You want to feel like someone other than a mum for a night. But when it comes to the day, it all seems like too much. You’re exhausted. You feel overwhelmed by the mountain of washing in the washing basket. And you think, you know what? Maybe staying at home is a better idea.
Solution: Keep it Simple
Too much pressure on one outing is overwhelming. And let's face it, we’re already overwhelmed! Remember the whole point of a date is to spend time together away from the kids. So even if you just head up the road for a drink, or to a movie and back, it’s a date. Keeping it simple will prevent you from cancelling it last minute.
Problem: We know we should spend time together but we just don’t get around to it
Planning a date night is like planning to catch up with old friends. You keep meaning to go but somehow it just never pans out. Suddenly it’s been a year and you realise the last thing that remotely resembled a date was when you went out and got fast food when you were still pregnant. And before that? Who knows?
Solution: Get a Calendar and Be Realistic
Get a calendar, hang it on the fridge (or in the toilet, it’s up to you) and book your sitter in for a month's time. Make it a non-negotiable. Even if it’s only an hour-long walk. And avoid having high expectations around the frequency of these dates. If once a month isn't realistic, aim for once every two months. You can always make it more frequent down the track.
Problem: We have no money
Kids are big money suckers. It’s just the truth. After food shopping, daycare, entertainment, nappies, and all the other bits and pieces, there’s not much left for your bare necessities, let alone a date. So you tend to put off date night because you can’t afford two tickets to the movies, let alone dinner and a sitter.
Solution: Do something cheap and fun
Somewhere down the line, we got stuck on the idea that real dates involved spending money. This just isn't true. There are plenty of dates you can go on where you don’t have to spend a dime. Our favourite is the day date. We get a close friend to mind the kids for a couple of hours, pack a lunch and walk to the nearest park. Being outside together is such a novelty that after two hours in the sunshine, we feel like we had a mini-holiday.
Problem: I’m scared to leave my kids
It’s not that you don’t want to spend time with your partner, it’s that you don’t want to leave your kids. They’re so dependent on you that you can’t bear to leave them with someone else. It gives you major anxiety so you rather just avoid it.
Solution: Take it slowly
Separation anxiety is real. Some parents struggle with this more than others. Our tip? Take it slow. Can you leave the kids with your partner? If not, try this first. Then move on to leaving them with a family member or nanny. Maybe only half an hour at first. Next time go for an hour. Work your way up to longer dates slowly. As they say, baby steps work best!
Problem: I’m resenting my partner and I dread spending time with him/her
This is the last thing you want to admit. But don’t worry, it happens to everyone. Your partner goes to work, comes home and ignores the fact that you've been at home all day without one moment of peace. Or maybe you’re at work all day and you come back to a big mess. You barely talk and when you do, you’re bickering. A date is the last thing on your mind.
Solution: Sorry, it’s date night time!
You’re going to hate this but our solution? Date night. Work and family life takes a toll and in the midst of the chaos? We’re not our best selves. So stepping away from your day-to-day responsibilities gives you a chance to remember why you chose each other to begin with. Spending uninterrupted together is a time to reconnect, have a laugh and remember not to take life too seriously.
When every day is its own kind of crazy, date night seems like a pipe dream. But with a bit of planning and lower expectations, you can get out and have some fun.
And remember, date nights are essential to maintaining a healthy relationship and having time away from your kids will make you a better parent when you return.