Our calendars as parents in this day and age are already packed.
Packed with activities. Packed with work. Just packed to the brim with daily life.
That means adding in time for Mom and Dad to be, well, not Mom and Dad is difficult for most of us. How do you add a date night in when the kids have to be everywhere? Or even worse, feeling guilty for leaving the kids on a Friday night after spending so little time together during the week days?
This was something I really wondered about how we’d do as a couple. Would we get lost in the kids and then 18 years later, not know the other person? I’ve seen so many divorces from just that. It isn’t how I wanted to see my marriage go.
So why don’t we just go on a date?
That’s easier said than done.
We don’t have family around as a ready made baby sitter service. There are friends who have offered to watch the kids, and we’ve used them at times, but that isn’t a weekly or even monthly event. Your standard teenage baby sitter costs more than we’d like to spend on a date night, so that’s out of the question as a regular option as well.
So how did we actually find time to “date” each other, so to speak?
We started cramming any quality time we could into the white space.
Here are a few ways we sneak in quality time together:
The drive to church, the grocery store, heck anywhere. That’s white space. Drive through a coffee shop and chat on the way there and back. The kids are locked into seats and need less attention.
At home, get into a conversation and let the kids know that this is Mom and Dad time. Playdoh is a great way to get time together – hand it out and listen to about 10 minutes of quiet kids.
For special occasions, we will sometimes eat a special dinner after the kids are asleep. Maybe it’s takeout or maybe we grilled steaks, either way we are having a date alone.
Once in a blue moon, my husband will convince me to stay up late and watch a movie, we eat our respective pints of Halo Top Ice Cream, and hang out all alone.
Take the kids to a play place (gated to avoid escape artists), sit on the side and hang out together.
My hands down favorite that happens ever so rarely, though, is the day date. Sometimes the stars align and we have a day off of work that the sitter is open … it’s the perfect chance to send the kids away for the day and have a lunch date that’s actually alone.