With families living on the other side of the country and a roster that often means nights and weekends away, hubby and I tend to have less traditional date nights but lots of fun all the same. I wanted to share some of the things we do to find time to spend together, without spending a fortune on babysitters!
We are very lucky now that we have one at school and one at daycare a couple of days a week but some of these ideas will work, even if your little ones are at home all the time.
For starters we had to ditch the idea of a date “night”. I am a big fan of the date lunch 🙂 Reservations are easier to get and the meals are often cheaper. However you can’t be too fussy sometimes.
Last Christmas my Mum was staying with us and hubby had been away completing his 7 week endorsement for a new plane. He was given a couple of days off over Christmas so flew home to spend time with us. My mum very kindly offered to look after Squirt and Moo for us while we snuck out for a quick lunch on Boxing Day.
As hubby was leaving again that afternoon, it had to be somewhere quick and nearby. We ducked up the road to a new hotel, only to find they were closed for the public holiday. I called around some of the other nearby, decent restaurants…all closed.
So we opted for the next best thing. McDonalds!
However I still like the finer things in life, so I was very excited when I managed to book a lunch special at the Crown Resort on a school day. It even included time in the resort pool afterwards! I booked Squirt into after school care to give us some bonus relax time. Pity hubby clearly already has too much time without the kids and was bored after an hour and a half at the pool. He headed home to relax in the aircon and I stayed by the pool relaxing and reading my book. I also recommend flexibility in your dates!!
Another sneaky but practical “date” is the walk home from school. Occasionally we walk both kids to school and daycare (about a 6km round trip). That means we get about half an hour on the way home to chat, laugh, observe the world and get some exercise in as well.
If getting out and about is tricky or money is tight, I like a date night in. Board games can be lots of fun – find one that you can both enjoy but that allows for some friendly competition as well. We like some more unusual games like Carcassonne, Munchkin and Age of Mythology so you don’t always have to play traditional boardgames if that’s not your style, but if it is, maybe you could break out the Twister…
We also choose a good movie or TV series (Game of Thrones, anyone?) that we both want to watch (or that hubby wants to watch cause he never agrees to my suggestions). We put away our phones, laptops, iPads and any other distractions and actually snuggle on the couch and enjoy the time together. You can even make popcorn and pour yourself a drink if you want to get fancy.
For something super extravagant, see if you can get someone to look after the kids for a couple of days (preferably someone you trust, but anyone will do) and actually get away! Hubby and I see a councillor occasionally (highly recommend it!!) and it took her to suggest time away, alone, before we even considered it as a possibility. I know it seems silly but it’s so easy to get caught up in getting stuff done day to day, that even though hubby had a good chunk of leave coming up, we still hadn’t considered doing something with just the two of us. Admittedly the logistics were a bit tricky and involved hubby flying the kids to Nanna’s house on the other side of the country and then meeting me in Bali the next day (thank goodness for staff travel) but the rewards were definitely worth it. We had 8 child free days to shop, swim, drink and relax and it was bliss. It took us a couple of days to get the hang of it and there was one day which was a bit emotional, but having the time to actually talk through what we needed to without the interruptions of daily life was so valuable.
I realise that 8 days is a lot, but think about it, can you manage a night or two? Not getting a sitter because you have an event to attend but to allow you to spend time a decent amount of with each other, reconnecting and remembering why you fell in love with this other person in the first place!
So you can see our “dates” aren’t always about a nice dinner and a movie but we try to focus on having some time together, without the kids. Sometimes it’s an activity where we can talk and catch up on each other’s lives. Other times, it’s just about being with each other and enjoying the moment.
What’s your favourite way to connect with your other half?