We all know that Date Night is an essential element to keeping the romance burning during these early child-saturated years. But I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets exhausted just thinking about going on a dinner date.
First there’s the ground work involved – making a meal for your kids, carefully writing out or relaying bedtime instructions, laying out their pajamas, diapers and lovies.
All this prep work happens while parenting your kids during the witching hour and somehow trying to shower and get presentable for a grown-up evening. Then you get to sprint out the door amid melt-downs and try not to constantly check your texts for signs of trouble as you drive into the night.
For the first few years, I’ll admit it sometimes didn’t seem worth it to me. I mean, it always was, once I was alone with my husband and the flurry of prep work receded into memory. Once I let go of my expectations and accepted that I wasn’t wearing the exact shoes or lipgloss I had hoped to grab on my way out the door (Pro Tip: keep your fancy shoes and lipgloss in the car).
Once I had a glass of wine in my hand and shook off the memory of what Date Night used to be like before kids, I always had a grand time. I was always so glad we did it, even when we got home at 10 and the kids were still fighting bedtime and our house looked like the set of Animal House.
Several years in, I had an epiphany: We could go out earlier. Hitting Happy Hour meant we got to fly the coop with the kids still fresh and ready for new faces, and it cut my Date Night prep work to almost nothing. Plus, we didn’t have to pretend we were two normal, carefree adults who could stay out late into the evening without falling asleep. The easy jeans and T-shirts vibe of Happy Hour was just up our alley too: No more last-minute panicked rifling through my closet before going out. Not to mention, the Happy Hour prices and atmosphere meant we could check out snazzy new restaurants without any pressure.
Taking all the work out of Date Night means I get to focus on what really matters: ME. Wait, I mean my husband. Us, anyway. And a great big $6 Margarita.
October is PEPS Date Night Challenge Month. Todd and I are going on a Happy Hour date next weekend (squeeeeeee!) and making a gratitude donation to PEPS for their important work in our community. Take the PEPS DateNight Challenge in October and if you post on the PEPS Facebook page, you can win one of four fabulous date night prizes! Party on, parents! http://www.peps.org/give/ways-to-give/individual/fun-giving/peps-date-night-challenge
About the Author
Shawna Gamache is a former newspaper reporter and co-founder of the local blog Moms Alive. She is mama to Ruby, 4, Quinn, 6, and Nora, 13 months. In her quiet moments, Shawna loves writing, knitting and avoiding eye contact with her laundry pile.