How To Have A Date With Three Young Kids

After Jane was born John and I struggled trying to figure out how to get out and do things together sans children, we had this vague memory of things called “dates” and we wanted one.  Then we realized that really all we want to do is eat dinner together, talk and possibly watch a movie and that we can do all of that at home, so we started date night. It has been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

Here is how we manage having an adults only date night with three young kids, minimal expenses and no baby sitter.

Step 1: Pick a Day

Pick a day. We picked Friday. Our rule is that we have a date on Friday if we don’t have other plans, but we don’t turn down other plans because of our date night. This has had us having at least two a month if not more. Just about perfect for us.

Step 2: Make a Plan

John and I like to cook so our date night revolves around cooking and eating with an occasional movie or game of Bannanagrams afterwards. But this is your date night, plan whatever you like! You don’t have to make a plan in advance but I can tell you from experience it’s more enjoyable if nobody has to go the grocery store at nine at night.

Step 3: Put ALL the kids to bed

Now is where I can hear the whining and the excuses about how late this is going to get. But I feel I can guarantee you a few things.
1)If you have young kids you haven’t got any sleep in the last few years anyway. You are already perfectly capable of going on less than optimal sleep, don’t pretend you aren’t, I know you are.
2) No matter who you are, you’ve stayed up too late for less fun or worse reasons than having a date with your spouse.

So, suck it up, have Diet Coke/coffee/whatever, and get all the munchkins sleeping!

Step 4: Get ready

Sometimes getting ready is putting on sweats for a comfy night of movie watching but it’s way more fun to get ready as if you were actually going out on a date. You know, shower, shave, make-up, clothes without unidentifiable splotches on them. This will seem silly, all the way up until your spouse gives you an “approving” look, then it will be worth it, trust me!

Step 5: Don’t do ANYTHING else!

It’s the hardest part. Try to forget you are at home, which if it’s anything like mine needs someone to work on 7,000 small and large projects at any given moment, and don’t do any of them.  You are on a date. This is not dinner and quick change a load of laundry. This is not dinner and pick up the house. This is not dinner and checking e-mail. This is not dinner and texting. This is not even working on a fun project together. This is a date. Please feel free to redirect your spouse if they get side tracked. Give them a drink to hold, distract them with a kiss, whap them over the head with a newspaper, whatever it takes. My favorite strategy is to eat by candle light, it cuts down on the amount of mess you can see making it much easier to ignore!

Step 6 Enjoy your date!

I know that there have been Fridays nights where one or the other of us was crabby or unenthusiastic about getting things rolling at the beginning of the night and yes there are times where crying babies have to be put back to sleep or kids come down looking for the bathroom, and instead of busboys we do have a kitchen full of dishes waiting for us in the morning. But I also know that neither of us have ever regretted anything other than the consumption of too many adult beverages with our adult dinner come Saturday morning!

 

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16 comments on “How To Have A Date With Three Young Kids

  1. You are so right about this. Years ago Rockin Roy and I started date night and it was on Fridays too. After moving to Chico and building Sundog Ranch we fell off the wagon with it. We need to start it again. Multitasking during dinner making AND eating is a sin we are both guilty of. It does not help relationships.

    • Jessie says:

      And it’s so easy to multitask while eating! I’m pretty sure at least half the time I eat while cleaning the kitchen or finishing making lunch or reading or…

  2. Becky says:

    This is GREAT! 🙂 It’s a very important factor to a successful marriage, and I think it’s awesome that you and your husband made this decision, and have stuck to it! You will be so glad you did this! Trust me on this one!
    Thank you for sharing this, I hope a lot of other young couples will take your advice and start their own date night.
    All my kids are grown and live on their own now, but when they were little and living at home, we would try to have a regular date night, even if it just meant going out for a cup of coffee. Another thing that we would try to do every year was a long week-end away from the house….that wasn’t as easy when the kids were little and the money was tight, but I do remember a couple of times when we took the kids to my sisters house, and came back home, locked the doors, ignored the phone, and enjoyed the quiet week-end at home.
    Congrats to you and I hope you have many more wonderful Friday night dates 🙂

    • Jessie says:

      I like the plan of dropping the kids off and retreating back home for the weekend. It’d take some will power though. It’s hard enough to ignore all that needs to be done for an evening much less a weekend! Thanks for the well wishes – I’m sure our Friday nights will continue, we both love them too much to give them up now!

  3. Grandma Pat says:

    I read this earlier today, and it warmed my heart. I found I kept thinking about it during the day, and I am touched that you choose to share this with people. It is great advice to couples, young and old. I am so glad you are by DIL. thanks for making my son so happy.

  4. This is a great post and great advice. One of ours is a bit older now and so we can actually go out for awhile which is fun too, but your date nights sound really good. I also think it is really awesome that your MIL reads this blog and leaves a nice comment like the one I read in response to this post.

  5. ggirlsmama says:

    Thank you! I needed to hear this…and made my hubby read it, too!

    • Jessie says:

      John was a bit of a hard sell at first, with the not doing anything else, but he’s got the hang of it now. I found that a fancy dress and a drink in his hand did wonders! 😉

      • ggirlsmama says:

        Love it! Thanks 🙂 We had our first date night which consisted of playing cribbage. Might not sound too exciting, but we used to have “cribbage tournaments” all the time before kids!

  6. Imelda says:

    Good advice. The ‘don’t get distracted’ part is quite difficult to keep though. My husband and I try to do things together after the children are put to bed (mostly watching DVDs), but sometimes, it can get boring having the same activity again and again. I will take up his offer to have a game night next time.

  7. […] Two months ago I shared how we have date night at home. […]

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