“Date nights are important,” they said.
“It will be fun!” they said.
“Get away for a little bit,” they said.
The truth is, date night is a lot of work! It’s a lot of prep, stress, worry, sometimes money, and more times than not – leaves me EXHAUSTED!
Now, I remember this not being the case when my oldest was still the only child and had passed the age of two. Even after the first year, it’s not so bad. But, if you have a little one in their first 365 days of life, or if you have multiple children, I hope I’m not alone in thinking date night – at least at this stage – is FOR THE BIRDS!
I can break date night into 5 categories:
- The Day of Date Night
- Getting Ready
- The Actual Date
- Getting Home
- The Morning After
The Day of Date Night
Date night prep starts the moment I roll out of bed on the actual day. I have to clean the house so the sitter doesn’t think we are slobs. Buy snacks so the sitter and the kids have stuff to eat. Of course, we have to rent movies so my kids don’t go to kid crazy town while the sitter is there. I also start getting ready SUPER early sometime during the day. I have to break this into stages because I never get more than 20 minutes at a time. So I’ll shower, then a few hours later, put some makeup on, then eventually get to my hair. You get the idea. Because, you know – diapers need changed, meals need fed, naps need to happen, meltdowns need to be diffused, spills need cleaning up, etc. This is also when I put the instructions and phone numbers list together. Careful not to be too detailed, and yet still include all the little tips and tricks to guarantee a smooth night for all!
Although I started this process early, I still need to pick an outfit out, touch up my makeup that turns out, I did WAY too early so now needs reapplied, and all the other finishing touches that it takes to make a tired mama look date night presentable. All the while, at least one child is pulling on my leg and/or making more messes that I spent the entire day cleaning up. This is where I am prone to go to Mommy CRAZY TOWN.
It never fails, this is the part of the night that everyone needs something from me, even the dog. It’s like a circus. Baby has a blowout, dog’s barking to go outside, one kid fell off something somewhere, the other can’t get his fruit snacks open, and now I’m covered in poo and tears. And while my husband is incredibly helpful, this is all always when he is in the shower. IT NEVER FAILS. Unlike me, he doesn’t get ready in stages or date night prep! This is also when I get the baby down for bed because we don’t do date night unless we get one of the three down first. You’re welcome, sitters.
The Actual Date
So, we’ve made it out of the house, the sitter has all of my detailed instructions in hopes it goes smoothly, and we are ready and raring for a kid-free night. I get my “mommy juice” and let myself laugh and have adult conversation for at least a solid half-hour before checking my baby monitor app. (Whoever invented this thing where you can see your baby’s room from anywhere is both a genius and a monster.)
“Oh, geez! She just moved…is she waking up?”
“Is her foot stuck in the crib rails again?”
Now, if she’s still and out like a light….date night goes off without a hitch. Movement of any kind whatsoever equals obsessively watching the screen for the next 30 minutes. I should add that, as crazy as it sounds, BABIES DO MOVE IN THEIR SLEEP. Like all the time. Just like us big people do. And when she moves any other night, it’s nothing. But, when I’m out and my kids are with a sitter, panicsville ensues. So far, she always stays asleep. So, I wast a good chunk of time worried that she’ll wake up, when in fact, she never does.
At this point, I’m exhausted.
WE ARE HOME!! Paid the sitter and checked on the kiddos who are peacefully sleeping. To be fair, we had a good time. We always have a good time. The question is, was the fun worth the prep/sweat? Honestly, sometimes my favorite part of our date night is the late night snack we have together in the kitchen. Where we count how many hours and minutes we’ll get to sleep if we go to bed in the next 5 minutes:
“Ok, if we go to sleep in 5 minutes we’ll get 5 hours and 12 minutes of sleep until one of them wakes up!”
The Morning After
Even if you didn’t indulge in too many mommy or daddy juices, the next morning comes all too quickly and requires insane amounts of coffee. So. Much. Coffee. They want milk, they want breakfast, they want cartoons, and they don’t care how many hours or minutes of sleep you got.
So, here’s the deal:
At this particular stage of life, I prefer my every night “date nights” after the kids go to sleep where we watch a show or a game together. On weekends, we might have a drink and talk about our crazy lives, house, and plans for the future. We don’t spend any money unless we decide to order a pizza, we don’t waste an entire day prepping to be gone, and we can check on our kids from the comfort of our own home.
Date night is important, and it won’t be long until we can get back to having enjoyable date nights out. Until then, with a 5-year-old, almost 2-year-old, and 6-month-old, we prefer date nights in.
Check out this post for special date nights in!
Do you do date night?
Make sure you never miss out on a parenting or community-related blog post: sign up to receive CRMB posts in your inbox. While you’re at it, join our VIP List to ensure you’re one of the first to know about upcoming Cedar Rapids Moms Blog events and promotions!!