What You Do With The Kids That Day Is The Secret To A Better Date Night
Do you ever look back with fondness at date nights gone by? Before the kids came along you had the luxury of time and choice.
You could leave at the drop of a hat, spend hours doing your hair and make-up (even though you didn’t need it back then – these days the eyebags are real) and you could agonise over outfits at your leisure.
Those were the days. You wouldn’t change a single thing about your little family but making a date night happen is an affair which requires expert planning and military precision these days.
There is no room for error, for changing minds and if the babysitter cancels you’re going to need a big bar of chocolate and some fluffy PJs to drown your sorrows.
Many parents are successfully making date nights happen though. They may not be as regular as we would like but they are happening and that’s the important thing, right?
A huge reason why parents stray from having a date night too often, apart from finances, is the sheer logistic stress involved.
By the time you’ve actually found a babysitter, you have to spend far too long explaining all the little quirks and rituals that you always thought were completely normal (the babysitter’s face suggests otherwise).
On the day of the date night itself, you are desperately trying to keep the kids happy because of some weird guilt that has set in (because one must feel guilt when something good is happening to them and not the kids? Parents are weird!).
The way we behave on the day of the date night actually has a massive impact on how much we will enjoy the date night itself. Up until now, we have been doing it all wrong.
Here are five things that I do during that day to make date night a great success. It’s honestly a game-changer.
1. Don’t fill the kids with sugar
So what that it gives you the ten minutes needed to shave your legs and find your favourite lippy, but you are going to pay for it. You’ve told the babysitter that they sleep at 8pm but at this rate they will be climbing the walls at 11pm. Treat it like any other day and keep treats to a minimum and as early in the day as possible so they don’t affect bed-time with unnecessary hyper-activity.
2. Accept your limitations
You just can’t get ready together any more and you certainly can’t get ready at 7pm like other human beings. Have your shower that morning while the kids are eating breakfast (food makes children happy) and use the day to your advantage. While your other half takes the kids to the park for an hour pick out your outfit and do your make-up and hair. When they get home you can swap. They can shower and get organized while you sort out the dinner. Notice how the kids routine is staying the same and there is no great “fuss” in the house. They’ve also had some fresh air at the park which will definitely help at bedtime.
3. Be prepared
Leave the kids' PJs out and have dinner sorted from the day before -every little helps. It will give you the five minutes needed to write some notes for the babysitter (numbers, where you’ll be, that kind of thing).
4. Get the kids off to bed before you leave
You’re paying good money for the babysitter but the reality is you will feel a whole lot more relaxed leaving knowing that they are tucked up in bed in their regular routine. It might mean going out a little bit later but it is worth its weight in gold and you will thank yourself tomorrow.
5. Stock up on the makings of a full Irish for the next day
You’re going to need it after all those cocktails.
Written by Tracey Quinn staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at www.loveofliving.ie.