Date Night? I Vaguely Remember…

Date night? What’s that? I thought when my children got older that we would be gadding about all over the place. So not true. Even with a built-in babysitter — my teen is a very responsible 15-year-old — we rarely go out.

The glory days of date nights are long since over for us. When my oldest was a newborn through my second child’s toddlerhood we went out with or without friends once, twice, or even three times a month. Our habit was to drop off our infant and toddler at my parents’ house and happily head off for date night.

My second child was the worst sleeper, which made for some tense nights when I tried desperately to get her to sleep BEFORE going on date night. She was a dream at bedtime at home, but hated sleeping in cribs anywhere but home. I am shuddering remembering the number of times I rocked a squalling baby in the bathroom of a hotel room….not a good memory at all! By the time my second child was about 18 months old, putting her to bed at my parent’s house before we went out was just too stressful for all of us. My oldest loved staying at her grandparent’s as she got to stay up when the baby was put to bed early. For a while and still to this day we have my parents come to our house to babysit all three children. My parents are not nightowls so our date nights are brief, but fun.

Why are our date nights so rare? During the week and on the weekends we are out and about. It’s not unusual for me to drop off Kid A here, while dad takes Kid B there with Kid C in tow. When we do make plans, you can guarantee that one of the kids will receive an invitation to a birthday party that they MUST attend. I guess all those years of cultivating friendships in moms groups, preschool coops, kindergarten, scrapbooking groups, and Book Clubs is now backfiring a little. Don’t get me wrong I dearly love our network of friends spanning three schools and a couple of preschools, but it makes for a busy social calendar.

We do say no to the kids when we travel or the arrangements to get someone to and from an activity are not humanly possible. Our date nights are often eating dinner with the kids and watching a movie, then watching another movie after the kids go to bed. On one occasion we let our teen stay up with us to watch The Time Traveler’s Wife. Odd, right? She was of course happy as a clam staying up later than everyone else.

Date Night — it’s what you make of it! What’s your date night like?

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