I have yet to meet a parenting partnership that is able to schedule and follow through with regular date nights. If you are a success story in this arena – I applaud you. I know date nights don’t happen enough in my world.
My husband and I are able to see friends individually and often have family get togethers with parents and kids. These festivities are easier to plan because no baby sitter is involved. The problem lies when we want to go out as a couple. Our baby sitter roster includes: 1) a set of grandparents who are always willing to watch our three, but come with a complicated set of logistics and 2) the world’s best babysitter who is wonderful in a million ways, but can significantly add to the cost of a night out. It’s not that she isn’t worth every penny we pay her and more. We are just not willing to add a weekly babysitter as another line item of our budget. Also, she has other twenty-something things to do and isn’t always available. This is not a deep bench. So, while we love and appreciate these people and their help, neither option is ideal.
It was time to get creative.
There are many days when having a face to face conversation with my husband is a luxury due to the amount of hours he puts in at the office and my level of exhaustion once we are all home and the bedtime routine is finally fading from my psyche. It was during a particularly stressful and busy week I approached our friends and asked if they were willing to babysit for us while we went to dinner. In exchange, we would watch their kids while they enjoy a night out later that weekend. They were up for it and being that they too are date night challenged, they were excited! Maybe this isn’t such a novel idea for some. However, our family has never had a local (i.e. east of the River) “village” to depend on so for us it’s not an exaggeration to say it is life changing.
The simplicity of how it all went down couldn’t have been more effortless.
- We live in the same town, two and a half miles away. (No commute.)
- Our kids regularly play together so there weren’t any issues or surprises at drop off or pick up. (No stage 5 clingers.)
- The hosting family provided an easy, kid-friendly dinner and snacks for all of the kids. (No meal planning or dishes to clean for a night.)
- All of the kids are potty trained. (No butts to wipe.)
- The date night couple was gone for two hours. (No extra kids at bed time.)
Whenever the melancholy feelings concerning the kids’ budding independence creep into my heart, I think of this hack and all the others I’ve yet to discover that come along with having “big” kids. Admittedly, it’s much easier to come to terms with their imminent departure from the nest as I enjoy a glass of Cabernet and my husband’s company.
The “sweet spot” of parenting. This is starting to feel like it.