About a week after Jason and I became parents to Ladybug, my mom offered to babysit so we could go out. It seemed too soon to me, unnecessary even. After all, we had over 8 years of date nights as a childless couple. Jason and I discussed it and decided we would accept the offer. It turned out to be a really rich time for us to catch up and give each other focused attention over dinner without concerning ourselves with a food-flinging toddler.
My mama told me, “The most important thing you can do for your children is to love your spouse.” Date nights are really important.
Saturday night Jason and I got to go on our first date night since the arrival of Precious, 6 weeks ago now. We even planned ahead! We had a Living Social coupon for our favorite sushi place, RuSan’s—paid $15 for a $30 gift certificate. We both got salads with orange ginger, miso soup and fire cracker maki rolls (they’re too good to share) and another forgettable roll (unagi and avocado, I think.) Service was quick, thankfully, because we were rushing to get to a movie. We saw The Help. Excellent movie. We only go to the movie theater a few times a year and this one felt worth the $13.00. Yeah, that’s right we got discounted movie tickets through my work. I should also mention that we’re sly about finding free street parking in the city. I remembered to wear boots instead of heels so I don’t mind walking a couple blocks. Our entire date night: dinner at a favorite restaurant and a movie, cost just $37. Not bad at all for an indulgent night out. Babysitting was free. Thanks mom and dad!
Do you go on date nights? Even before becoming parents Jason and I made a point of going on a date night at least once a month. We’re not extravagant but the time set apart together is really good for our marriage.
My husband and I are in a similar boat, thinking that date nights were a thing of the past once we started fostering. However, I am so glad that we do them! Its a highlight each week – focusing on each other, we often talk about the kids (we have a family of three with us right now) but wow is it great to just be. We recently redid our budget, and added a somewhat large line item for date night which will ensure that we do it!
That’s great! We always had a line on the budget for a date night, even if it was just $25 a month. Money well invested.
We always went on date nights when we had kids at home, even when we could only afford an ice cream cone or window shopping. I’m sure that’s not the only reason we’ve been married for 37 years, but it sure helped!
Thanks for your input, Mama. You set a great example. And of course, thanks again for babysitting for us! 🙂
Date nights for us have gotten next to impossible to pull off. It’s VERY hard to find a babysitter for 3 children ages 4.5, 3, and 1. We don’t have family close and paying a babysitter for that many kids would kill our budget, let alone adding a dinner or something to it.
We do find ways to have “in-house” dates after the kids are in bed. Usually everyone is sleeping by 8 or 8:30 so we move the couch to the middle of the living room (front and center to the TV), pop some popcorn, drink some pop, and watch an on-demand movie. We’re so behind in movie-watching that we can almost always find something free that we haven’t seen yet. It’s definitely not the same as getting out by ourselves, but we are also not suffering in our marriage as a result of having 3 young children.
I think our marriage bonds are stronger than they ever have been. We are both ok with the fact that right now, date nights are few and far between, but soon, perhaps a lot sooner than we’d really like, our children will be older and we will be able to get out and enjoy again.
“In-house” dates are nice, too. Have you ever tried doing a babysitting swap with another friend with kids? You watch their kids for a couple hours on a Saturday and then the next Saturday they watch your kids for a couple hours? We’re hoping to start a group like that with 2 couples we’re close friends with. I’ll report on how it’s working once we’ve given it a shot. The idea (in our case) is one couple watches all the kids one evening while the other two couples have a few hours to themselves. After a full rotation, all three couples end up with two date nights and one night where they’re the babysitters.
That’s a great idea! We have been trying to get the rotating babysitting duty going with my mom’s group, but it is hard to coordinate with several moms who each have 2-3 children. Maybe I’ll work a little harder at getting it started if you have a good experience!
[…] a quick nap for the little one and a walk around the block with the ole’ pup, it was time for DATE NIGHT! Woo hoo! I love my […]
TOTALLY inspired by your blog I booked the babysitter and snagged some concert tickets for tonight!! Thanks for the inspiration Martina. We haven’t done anything like this for a very long time (Sade in Portland Oregon over 7 years ago). I’m all smiles!! Praying for you guys very much today regarding foster care, much love.
Glad to hear it Brian! I hope you guys had a great time! You’ve got 4 great kids so that makes finding a babysitter a bit easier. Jason and I had a lot of fun watching the three older kids earlier this year.