Dating when you have children is not easy. Somehow you have to juggle work, taking care of your home, and still set aside enough time for your child(ren) and your significant other. It doesn’t matter if you’re married, divorced, or a single parent. Everyone is faced with the same problem. How do I make time for the special adult person in my life without feeling guilty? This is one of the saddest problems I’ve heard from my parent friends. I’ve lost count of how many times someone has told me that their spouse has nearly forgotten about them as a partner and only knows how to function as parents. My answer to them has always been the same, they need a date night.
A date night doesn’t always have to be something big and extravagant, especially if you’re on a budget. It could be something as small as getting a babysitter to watch the kids and eating dinner while it’s still warm and finishing up the evening watching a movie that doesn’t need to be paused a million times and is outside the cartoon universe.
If you happen to be one of the lucky few that have your parents nearby, see if you can set up a schedule with them. Maybe once a month, they can take the kids for a sleepover, and you and your significant other can finish a project that you’ve been avoiding. Maybe you will finally be able to go check out that new restaurant or just simply go for a walk and talk about things that you may not have wanted little ears to hear. But either way, give yourself a chance to escape.
Another thing that you have to make sure you don’t do is fall into the trap of being repetitive.
If you did a Friday night dinner and movie one month, plan to do something during the day the following month. Take in nature and go for a walk and explore gardens or parks nearby. Maybe before you can get coffee and breakfast and then grab lunch before picking up the kids. You could try something new like paddle boarding. It doesn’t have to be in the ocean, either. Many places with lakes and rivers have this as an option. If you’re landlocked or have no balance, maybe you two can spend the day challenging each other to a round of mini-golf. There are even some courses now that servers that will bring drinks to whatever hole you’re at. Let’s say you aren’t the outdoors type. You can find a video arcade and challenge your partner to see who can get the most tickets by the end of the night.
No matter where your destination may be, it really doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you genuinely take the time to focus on one another. That means putting the phone away while in the car and talking to each other. Talk to your partner about your new dreams and outlooks on life.
Maybe you are one of those people who say they’ve changed once they became a parent. You could have been carefree and a bit wild before your little one came into this world, and your spouse may not be used to the new you. Take this time without any pressure to show them who you are. Or maybe you are on the other side of the coin, and you’re the parent who is watching their loved one change into a new person. Re-establishing your partnership is probably the most challenging skill that a parent has to master.
I’ve had a few friends try this and tell me later that it felt like they were going on a first date with their significant others. They either have forgotten how funny their spouse is or how amazing of a cook they are once they don’t have a little one hanging on their leg begging to be picked up. The time away from your children matters. It helps you build a stronger relationship with your significant other. And that stronger relationship brings in more love and stability into the home. No matter what way you look at it, it’s a win-win.