When my husband and I were dating in high school we did all kinds of fun things for date nights - movies, putt putt, long walks by the river, nights out with friends and anything we wanted. Now that we're married and have a toddler, our date nights have had to get a makeover. We still have date nights regularly, but they look different and almost always take place during nap time or after Olive goes to bed for the night.
Our Top 10 PARENT Date Nights:
1. Hire a Babysitter --
We placed an ad on care.com back in August and found several, local babysitters. We've used them a handful of times to go to adult only gatherings and really enjoyed our nights out. The going rate for sitters in our area is $8-10 an hour so we have to factor in a $30-40 amount for the sitter on those evenings. We save this option for special occasions and extra fun things. On rare occasions we will ask a family member to help us out with babysitting, but we don't have any family in our town so we've got to plan well in advance for that to work.
2. Special late night dessert --
My husband and I both love sweets so we always look forward to picking out a fun treat to share with just the two of us in the evenings. Sometimes I'll make something and other times we will pick up a treat. Last Friday night, we got something to bake together and made Monkey Bread together after Olive went to bed. It's fun to be in the kitchen together. Our favorite treats include: French Silk ice cream, brownies, cinnamon rolls, cookies, DIY Butterfinger blizzards, etc.
3. Go for a walk in the evenings --
We put Olive in her stroller and head out to walk for at least an hour. She takes in all the sights and sounds and we catch up with each other. We bring snacks and things for her and she's completely happy to ride along. If we walk at the park, we'll often stop at the playground for some fun.
4. Swing through the drive through at Starbucks and go for a drive --
We strategically plan our coffee dates & a drive during Olive's nap time. We'll pick up the coffee, snuggle Olive into her car seat and hit the road. She falls asleep pretty quickly and we enjoy some "alone" time. We did this last weekend and started scoping out neighborhoods, did some house hunting and explored our new city for 2 hours while she slept.
5. Read together --
We both enjoy reading so we will set aside time (usually in the evenings to read). I'm currently reading Hands Free Life and Kevin is currently reading several psychology books for his classes he's teaching. We debrief each other on what we're reading and just enjoy each others company.
6. Watch football together --
When we first got married I knew NOTHING about football. I was the girl in high school who went to most games to visit with friends and could not tell my parents if we won or loss when I got home from the game. Kevin made it his mission to teach me football our first several years of marriage. I slowly but surely picked up all the details and I really LOVE watching football today. I know the rules, understand the game and really love following college and NFL games. Kevin is so proud of my football knowledge and we look forward to watching games together all week long. I usually prepare some tasty football food to go along with the game so we're a good combo. If you don't love football, find another fun hobby to do together :)
7. Get take out for a late dinner --
If my husband says he's in charge of dinner that either means he's getting take out or that he's grilling. I'm happy with both options. Last week he picked up Panda Express. He memorizes my favorites so he can order without having to ask me every time. I appreciate the thought he puts into taking over dinner and he likes surprising me. Although, he knows I don't love surprises, so he'll often text me mid-day to say that he's in charge of dinner that night. Early on in our marriage he'd surprise me last minute and be confused by my grumpy reaction since I'd already been prepping something for dinner. We've both grown in our relationship. made some adjustments and we're better off for it.
8. Lunch dates --
We try to pick up Kevin for lunch or take him lunch a few times a month. There are several tasty food options near campus so we plan a lunch date. We've had picnics in his office, eaten at Jimmy Johns, delivered him a packed lunch from home and hope to have some lunches on campus this Fall. It's a nice break in the day for all of us.
9. Family dates --
I know I said these dates were for the parents, but sometimes it's fun to do something out of the ordinary with the whole family. We had coupons for one of our favorite local spots so we decided to go and get burgers one night. We planned ahead, ate a little earlier than we normally would on a date and had a great time. The burgers were delicious and we had a fun outing all together.
10. Watch a TV show or movie together after the kids go to bed --
We DVR favorite shows, watch movies and have gone through TV series together. We've watched Lost, Prison Break, Jericho, Married, etc. Do you have a favorite series to recommend? We don't have the same taste in movies. He likes scarier movies than I do so we usually end up watching slightly scary, rom coms, comedies, natural disaster movies or mystery type movies. He tries hard to find movies that we will both like. I'm dying to see The Intern and a few other new movies when they come out as streaming options. It's so much cheaper than going to the movies and you can wear your pjs :)
What do you like to do for date nights?
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Emily - Morning Motivated Mom