Date Night Ideas for Exhausted Parents
Did you have an abundance of date night ideas early in your relationship? How about when you were newly married? As parents, what date night ideas do the two of you come up with these days? Do you even have a date night?
When my daughter, now a high school sophomore, was much younger, one of the topics among parents at the playground was date night. There were many couples who paid for sitters and spent their entire romantic evening either talking about what their son or daughter had done that day, or wondering what the child was doing at that moment with the babysitter.
It’s great to catch up on the latest developmental milestone or cute phrase from your daughter or son, but that’s something that can be done after you’ve put the kids to bed.
Creative date night ideas perfect for any parent:
1. Have a daytime date “night.”
Many parents find that after a workday filled with responsibilities and pressure or a weekend that’s packed with activities, they are too exhausted to enjoy each other’s company. They sit across the table from each other and struggle to stay awake.
Contrary to the name of the article, make it a daytime date. During the day, you may be more awake and alert so you can actually enjoy each other’s company.
2. Get nostalgic.
Do something together that you enjoyed doing when you first met. It could be bowling, seeing a play or going to hear your favorite group. Doing an activity that’s a “blast from the past” can help you reconnect.
3. Reverse roles.
Instead of going out to dinner and a movie with your spouse, send your child and the sitter out to dinner and a movie. You and your spouse stay home and make full use of three hours of glorious privacy.
4. Book a cheap hotel room.
We’re not talking about leaving the kids with a sitter overnight, just three or four hours of hotel/motel bliss. This could be a little costly but look for hotel/motel deals and grab one. Even in a major city, you may be able to find a last-minute deal for a romantic interlude.
Here’s how to make the most of this date idea without further bank account damage. Take a picnic basket with chilled champagne, fruit, a cheese plate and some fancy chocolate. Bring some scented massage oil and use your imagination!
5. Double date.
Make it a double date with the parents of your child’s friend. If the kids are old enough for the sitter-to-child ratio to work, pool your resources and let the kids have a play date while the adults have a double date.
You get the enjoyment of remembering how much fun your spouse is when you see him or her interact with others outside of the rut that the two of you may have fallen into.
6. Be original.
Try an activity the two of you have never done. Maybe that’s taking a cooking class, a dancing lesson or a visiting a ceramics make-it-yourself studio. Doing something new forces you to connect in a new way.
7. Set up a babysitting cooperative.
Work out a deal with your children’s friend’s parents to babysit each other’s kids on alternate weekends. That way, each weekend your kids have a standing play date while the parents get alternating date nights.
8. Have a work-week daytime date.
Skip the babysitter and go on a date while your child is still in school. If you know you have personal days or sick days left at work, use them and explore your city. Go to your favorite restaurant at lunch when the menu is usually cheaper or hit a museum or gallery. Enjoy playing hooky with your spouse. And it doesn’t have to be a whole day. A friend and her husband have a standing appointment for a weekly lunchtime tango lesson. They’re in each other’s arms during the workday, reconnecting through an activity they enjoyed before they had kids.
9. Skip out early.
Get a sitter and go to an evening PTA meeting together — that’s not the romantic part. Leave the meeting a little early before the crowd of parents and tack on a romantic dinner together before you head home to relieve the sitter.
If these date ideas don’t get some sparks flying, you may have some stored up anger and resentment that’s getting in the way. I can help you get to the root of the problem, so you can get back to enjoying each other. And for parenting support, whatever the age of your child, reach out to me here. I look forward to speaking with you.
Diane Spear, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in private practice in New York City since 1995, working with individuals and couples to help them find the joy in everyday life. She contributed a chapter to a book on family New York State family law, and has been quoted as a relationship expert in the Huffington Post. Her website is www.dianespeartherapy.com.
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This post originally appeared on our January/February 2011 Magazine