The Importance of Date Night

Since we’ve had children, I have to admit my husband and my date nights have definitely dwindled from fancy late night dinners to take out pizza and a movie On Demand...

The comedy film Date Night, starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey, begins with a typical married couple’s boring date night out. Same restaurant, same meal, same conversation. In the next few scenes, this seemingly normal couple decides to change things up a bit, trading their boring date night out for a fun and exciting evening in the big city. Okay, so maybe not so fun after they are face-to-face with danger, held at gunpoint and forced to dirty dance at a night club, but still, they were trying.

Since we’ve had children, I have to admit my husband and my date nights have definitely dwindled from fancy late night dinners to take out pizza and a movie "On Demand." With work, the house and managing the lives of two little ones, our exhaustion level is at an all-time high. It’s no wonder why I love our Friday night “date nights” at home after the girls have gone to bed. Just the planning of where to go, what to wear and securing a sitter can be exhausting!

I hear the same story with most of my friends. “We used to go out all the time, then we had kids.” I think it can be said with 99.9% certainty the cause of this is: 1) We are too tired, 2) We are too overscheduled with the kids’ activities, or 3) We are too tired and too overscheduled.

However I do love going on an actual date night OUT OF THE HOUSE. And I really can’t complain. We manage to go out at least once or twice a month either alone or with friends. I still enjoy the thought of getting dressed up, putting on a new top and heels and actual lipstick. Not lip gloss. Oh, and switching my everyday huge mommy/work bag to my small evening bag. Which I do when we go out, to my dear husband’s disdain. He is usually waiting downstairs, chatting with the sitter, while I’m upstairs changing my outfit for the third time or transferring things to my little “going out” bag. He does wait, a lot. I have to give him that.

Finally we are in the car and on our way! It doesn’t really matter where we are going, we are just going out. Usually to one of our favorite restaurants in town or meeting my sister and her husband or friends for dinner. And what do I do? I order a fancy drink! Yep, once I am out on the town, no more wine for me. Let’s do the fancy drink. (Which I will later pay for since I am not a big drinker.) But we are out and I have on my heels (and lipstick) and we are having a fancy drink. Then dinner with linen napkins, and I am eating my own meal and not cutting little people’s food. And the conversation … well after about two minutes of talking about the menu and what looks good, what do you think we talk about? The kids. Of course. What else would we talk about? I always find this amusing, but comforting at the same time. We are excited to go out alone, then we spend the whole night talking about them. (I have a feeling we are not alone in this either.) After dinner, it’s another drink at the bar on our way out, then it’s home to comfy PJs.

The best part or our night out forme is always the holding hands part. We hold hands when we walk into the restaurant, and back to the car. It’s our “romantic” part of the getting out of the house. Our date night secret. It reminds me that he is the person I am in love with, my husband and not just a daddy. I love it.

Working Mother magazine’s issue this month refers  to Judy Kuriansky’s book The Complete Idiots Guide to Relationships, in which she states that “date night should never hinge on going out, because that’s impractical when you have children.” Her advice is to a date night at home includes stay dressy and “keep on your favorite heels, spritz on some perfume” and minimize kid talk.

I don’t know about that. If I’m home, I’m in sweats. And I am definitely not putting on heels. That is just never going to happen. And holding hands on the couch? Well maybe, but then my husband falls asleep…

I think I’ll just stick to our “boring” date nights OUT on a regular basis. With heels. And a fancy drink.

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