My dad managed our local movie theater when I was a kid – movies were a big part of my life then and they still hold a special place in my heart. As cliche as it may be, my perfect date night is dinner and a movie. With four wonderful children, however, date nights are few and far between.
The price of a date night grows exponentially when you factor in childcare for multiple children. When I asked local moms how much they paid for “date night” sitters the range was from $10-15/hour per child – and even if I cut dinner out of our plans we'd need a solid 3+ hours of baby sitting to see a movie which could run me over $100 for babysitting services alone. Who can afford that?!
So, how do we survive marriage without date nights?
My husband is a gamer and I am a social media addict. For a while we were in a rut where we would sit on our opposite couches with something random on the television, each pressing keys on our laptops until it was time for bed. Now, we limit our computer time to about an hour. It's not a firm limit for us because as a self-employed entrepreneur and stay-at-home mom, sometimes I HAVE to be on the computer to get work done or meet a deadline… but we do our very best to work smarter, and stick to our limits.
Every single night after unplugging from our computers we watch TV together. We are Netflix lovers – so we are typically binge-watching a series, but sometimes we throw in a movie from Netflix or the Redbox. I will admit that the shows we watch now are mostly up his alley – but over the course of our marriage I have learned to love a lot of “his” shows. Right now we're in the middle of Gotham and recently caught up on Arrow and The Flash. I already have our next series picked out: Fuller House (yup, that's one of my picks)! Having a show we both look forward to and enjoy not only gives us something to look forward to each night, but it gives us something different to talk about too.
If you are at a point where you need a break – whether that means a solo trip to the grocery store or someone else cooking dinner – be honest with yourself and your husband. My husband and I don't get date nights, but we do allow each other to take a break when it's needed. It's important to remember that you can not take care of others if you are not taking care of yourself.
Another great idea is to find another family in the same boat that you are and set up a sitter swap. Maybe once a month or every other week… come up with a plan that works for both of you and alternate watching all the kids so that each couple gets some alone time to watch a movie or take a nap!
I'd love to hear the ways that your marriage thrives without traditional date nights – or even the ways in which you keep the spark alive between date nights.