July 31, 2012

You Should Try This...Date Day!

If you are married, with kids, then you are likely very familiar with the term "Date Night." Am I right? Well, since we had kids, once a month, my husband and I get a sitter and have date night. Typically we go out to a nice restaurant, oftentimes one a bit farther from home than we are likely to do with children in-tow. Sometimes we'll catch a movie. Every now and then we'll do something with friends. But, more often than not, it's a nice dinner and drinks out, just the two of us. Which is absolutely lovely.

However, a few months back, we realized two things: one, there were things we wanted to do with each other, without kids, that couldn't be done after 8pm. Things like shopping for clothes for us, leisurely exploring other small town's shops, playing golf, and the like; and two, it was really hard to share a bottle of wine and get home late and then get up with small children at 6 o'clock the next morning. So we decided to try something new...

And "Date Day" was born!

The following month, after this rough-Sunday-morning's epiphany, we booked a sitter for 11am-4pm on a Saturday. First of all, it was super easy to find an available sitter on a weekend afternoon. So that was an added bonus. Plus, we realized that we were actually paying a sitter to play with our kids for 5 hours, rather than paying her to put them to bed within an hour of arrival and then sit and watch our TV for the next four. Another bonus!

Then we headed out for a day together. We still got our delicious, relaxing meal at a nice restaurant, it was just lunch instead of dinner (which is cheaper, as well!). After lunch we went shopping. Just the two of us. Wandering leisurely through store after store. No toys in sight. Trying on clothes without worrying about kids running around and getting into stuff, or having a meltdown in the middle of a store. Being able to focus completely on one another.

It. Was. Wonderful.

We arrived home at 4pm totally relaxed and rejuvenated. And we then thoroughly enjoyed the evening with our kids. We did dinner, bath and bedtime with everyone smiling. And then...another big bonus...just continued our date. After the kids went to bed, we popped popcorn and cuddled up on the couch with a new Netflix movie. A full day, jam-packed with enjoyable stuff and quality time together, and we still made it to bed at a decent hour. So we awoke rested and ready for kid-fun the next day.

Seriously, I'm a genius.

Since that first date day, we have done many more. We've spent afternoons exploring other nearby small towns, we've spent hours in bookstores and coffee shops...but really, the options are limitless! Next month we'll go golfing and to some wineries. You could go mini-golfing or bowling (I think we'll try bowling in the winter.). You could explore a farmer's market or an art fair or a museum. Catch a baseball game. Go for a hike together. Have a picnic. Whatever suits your fancy.

And we still do date nights too. We've found it's great to mix it up. Both are good for our relationship. But we've really enjoyed the addition of the date day option. So I thought I'd share it with you all too. Maybe you'll enjoy adding a date day in here and there too.

It's funny. We used to do "date days" all the time, before we had kids. Except then, we didn't call them "date days"...just like we didn't used to call an evening out "date night." It was just days together and nights together. But adding kids to the equation forces you to plan, and to set boundaries around "mommy time" and "mommy and daddy time." You have to work at getting special time together to focus on your relationship. But it does make that time together all the more special. Just like getting away together in the middle of the day makes coming home to your little darlings all the more sweet.

So that's date day...you should try it!

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