Date nights are a great way for parents to re-connect and keep the romance sparkling, but how do you manage it when you’re too weary to go out?
In theory, date night is something to look forward to. A night out, just you and your partner, doing adult activities that have nothing to do with changing nappies or making Vegemite sandwiches. When you’re a parent of young children, it doesn’t get much better than that. But life gets so busy and booked out, sometimes date nights are few and far between. And how often does it happen that when the opportunity finally arises, you’re both too exhausted for a night on the town?
Once you have kids, hitting the latest night club doesn’t have quite the same attraction. Fortunately, date night doesn’t have to be about going out late, or even going out at all. Date night can mean lots of different things, and sometimes you don’t even need a babysitter. Staying at home can be equally special; it just depends on what you do and how you do it. Here are some ideas to help you think outside the box, and get romantic with your partner in the most enjoyable and least exhausting way.
1. Cook up a feast
If you enjoy cooking but never have the time, and your children refuse to eat anything but spag bol and fish fingers, then pour a glass of wine and prepare a non-kid-friendly feast to delight your taste buds and ignite your senses. Without your little ones demanding your attention, you can enjoy the cooking process and chat while you do it. Not to mention, experience the rare opportunity of sitting down and eating together at a leisurely pace.
2. Go on a bed picnic
Once the kids are in bed, get away from the messy lounge room full of childhood clutter and the lure of the TV screen and set up a champagne picnic on your bed. Buy some fancy cheese and all those tasty nibbles that you used to indulge in pre-kids, pop some bubbles and enjoy!
3. Set the scene
Stay in, but take the time to create the perfect atmosphere for your night. Clear up the baby toys, leftover bits of toast, baskets piled with washing and set the scene. Transform the dining room into a restaurant. Move the table into a different position, and use a tablecloth, proper napkins and candles. If you’re watching a movie, darken the room, prepare the popcorn and get out the Maltesers and choc tops. You may not be out and about – but suddenly it feels like you are.
4. Dress up for dinner
If you’re anything like me, a night at home usually means getting into my comfy trackie pants as quickly as possible, or even better my PJs and dressing gown. Sometimes that’s all my husband might see me in. However, a special night at home becomes even more special when you both take the time to dress for dinner as if you were going out. This instantly lifts the mood and sets a more glamorous and romantic tone.
5. Netflix and takeaway
Take a night off cooking, order in and binge watch your favourite TV show. Get the kids into bed early, call your favourite Thai restaurant then snuggle up on the couch together for a night of great viewing. While this does involve watching a screen more than your partner, being physically close and cuddling is still a great way to re-connect.
6. Make it a day date
If your kids are in daycare, or you can get a sitter during the day, then take a day off work and do whatever you like. Go out for breakfast, go to the beach, the movies, or have a picnic. A weekday date during daylight hours feels just a little bit naughty, plus there’s much less chance of falling asleep in the middle of it.
7. The healthy choice
Take your date outdoors and get active. This can be as simple as having a walk, hand-in-hand, or going for a gentle jog, swim or bike ride. Get those endorphins pumping and enjoy natural, relaxed conversations, not to mention a little exercise, which is often the first thing to go for tired, busy parents.
8. Rock it out
Save yourself the hassle and expense of going out to music concerts and do it all at home. Watch a concert or a selection of your favourite video clips on TV. Turn up the volume and do your best crazy dancing. Re-create the excitement of the mosh pit, without the sweaty crowds and the rock-n roll late night hours.
9. Game playing
Turn off the TV and pick your favourite board game. Whether it’s Scrabble, Backgammon or Uno, there’s nothing like a bit of healthy competition and an evening of absolute one-on-one screen-free time to get back in tune with each other.
10. Seize the moment
With kids waking in the night, jumping in and out of your bed, it seems impossible for you and your partner to find any sexy time together. You have to fight for those moments, so try for an afternoon time slot, even if you haven’t got a babysitter handy. Set the kids up with popcorn and a movie and sneak off for an afternoon ‘snooze’. They are happy, you’re happy, everyone’s a winner.
11. Meet you in the bath
If you have a bath and one that’s big enough for both of you, fill it up with hot water and bubbles, turn out the lights, light the candles, pour a glass of wine and soak together. Time slows right down, so you can relax in each other’s company and enjoy easy conversation in a moody, romantic atmosphere.
12. Do the grocery shop
This may sound very un-date like, but sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do it together. An everyday task such as doing the supermarket shopping or heading off to a growers’ markets can become an afternoon of fun, simply because you’re hanging out kid-free. Especially if you stop off for a coffee break, relaxing bite to eat or sneaky glass of wine. You get to enjoy each other’s company and also do a much-needed job at the same time. Two birds, one stone.
13. Massage away the tension
Dim the lights, get out the oils and take turns in giving each other a massage. Shoulders, neck, back, anywhere that’s holding tension. Or lie on the couch and simultaneously massage each other’s feet. Apart from releasing all the stress and tension of the day, simply touching each other is an excellent way to re-connect. And who knows where it might lead …