Wednesday, 18 January 2012 00:00

Date Night: Why mommy & daddy need play-dates, too

Written by  Diane Meehl
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Ah, it’s almost here.

Absolutely my favorite night of the month, right up there with “dinner-is-anything-you-can-fix-yourself-night.” Date night. I admit; it takes some juggling. Scoring a sitter, feeding the kids, picking out something to wear that says, “hot mama” instead of “frazzled mama,” peeling a fiercely protesting wee one off my hip. But once we’re out the door - freedom!

It’s evolved over time, this night we set aside to preserve the romance (and I use that term loosely!) that began 17 years ago when we whispered “I do’s” with stars in our eyes. Early on, date night took place whenever the mood struck - lazy afternoons at the movies, dancing on Friday nights, weekends camping with friends. Once the kids arrived, it seemed as though date night might have gone the way of other luxuries, such as eating hot meals and going to the bathroom alone.

Luckily I discovered very early on just how important it is to keep the love lights burning. Our firstborn arrived on the scene just 9 days before our 4th wedding anniversary. I was a nervous wreck and couldn’t imagine leaving him, but my husband was trying to adjust to his plummeting status. My sister-in-law volunteered to stay with our tiny bundle, so we traveled just 2 miles from home eat a quick meal out, me staring at my cell phone and staving off the urge to flee back home. It wasn’t easy, but I learned that even a newborn gets along just fine with a full belly and a set of warm arms to cuddle.

Now many years and 2 more children later, I don’t have to be talked into escaping the routine of our domestic round. In the midst of the monotonous business of living – mortgages, practices, homework, meals, scraped knees, insurance policies and dentist appointments and arguments over who works harder – date night is more necessity than luxury. Our choices run the gamut; sometimes we pull out all the stops and eat at a very swanky restaurant and order whatever we want without looking at the prices. Other times we head for Costco and just walk very, very slowly through the aisles. Whatever the venue, the fading stars in our eyes start to twinkle a bit brighter.

There is no doubt in my mind that one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children is a contented, stable, imperfect-but-working marriage. And it helps to remember just exactly why you fell in love with this person. Plus, you can bring back the element of mystery and surprise by exploring new ground.

Need some fresh ideas for your own date night to break out of the routine? Check these out:

  • Take a hike. Get your blood pumping, take in the fresh air and promise to talk about anything except the kids. (For at least 10 minutes!)
  • Get a massage for two. I don’t know anyone who deserves decadence more than parents. Plus, you know what massages lead to….
  • Go Roller-skating. Remember when you skated with a boy who placed his nervous hands on your hips and while you glided backwards, listening to Foreigner? Bliss. Go back to that sweet time – then impress your kids with your skating prowess at their next fundraising party.
  • Volunteer. If you and your spouse love to give back, but spend most of your volunteer hours sharpening pencils at your kids’ school, find somewhere to serve that’s just fulfilling to you. It’s a good reminder of your blizzard of blessings!
  • Have a “bed-in.” No, they’re not just for John and Yoko! Ask friends to take the kids for a few hours, and enjoy the peace and quiet of your home. Run around and say words you hold back when the kids are around, watch movies, eat dessert for dinner. Break some rules! It’ll fuel you up for enforcing them when the kids get back.

Like I said – it doesn’t matter as much what you do together without your kiddos, as long as you just do it. Get to know each other again and enjoy an interruption-free conversation. Then, you and your sweetie just might remember why you started this crazy family in the first place!

By: Diane Meehl

Read 1610 times Last modified on Friday, 27 April 2012 13:52
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