I remember the golden days of my relationship with my husband, when we were first dating and still wooing each other. Madly in love, young and free of responsibility we could steal away at a moment’s notice, taking the road up north, spending our first paycheques on a fancy dinner, or hitting the city to shop for old books.
The world was at our feet, as Adele would say, and time together was constant. We didn’t worry about fitting in time for amorous affections, opportunity was there morning, noon and night. Hence the very remarkable, amazing, don’t-get-me- wrong-I’m-grateful predicament I am in today: marriage, three kids, two cars and a mortgage. We are living the dream, but falling into bed every night thoroughly exhausted with just a “love ya” to keep the affection going. Cause there is little time between wiping poopy toddler bums, picking glitter out of the carpet, and arguing for the upteenth time with a seven going on seventeen year old that he absolutely must, this time I mean it, get off his iPad. When picking up Shopkins takes precedent over pouring a glass of wine and intertwining our legs before the fire…well we are stuck in a rut.
I love it when people agree to take my kids – for money or the sheer joy their snot-filled faces can bring – but let’s face it you can only call in so many favours and the neighborhood babysitters sometimes rake in more cash than I do. So when budgets are tight, or babysitters are not at hand, relatives have retreated into their own lives, and you still need time to snuggle and rejoice in the union that started it all … well here are ways to get creative for date night.
Let’s Pretend We Are Somewhere Fancy
This is one of my favourite ways to create time for my relationship. After we put the kids to bed, and when they finally settle into sleep or reading, my husband and I make a special snack, pour a glass of wine, and settle on the couch together to watch a movie. It is fun to come up with a new snack each week, and if you squint (or drink too much wine), your living room looks like a movie theatre.
Here are some fun snack ideas:
Necking in the Driveway
You can take Netflix anywhere, and stream a movie from your driveway. I’m just saying this would be a great way to “pretend” like it’s just you and your hubby out for a drive-in movie when in fact you’ve placed a baby monitor in the hallway, taken the receiver to your driveway and watched a movie – ahem, made out – while the kids slept soundly.
Feel-good Netflix* picks for your movie date:
Mission Blue: A Netflix original documentary following an oceanographer’s quest to save the oceans.
Patch Adams: One of my favourite movies of all time starring Robin Williams. The heartwarming story of a doctor.
On the Way to School: This documentary follows children as they face challenges on their way to school.
Generation Earth: A discovery of how man-kind has used technology.
Get Active – No, Not that Way
Well you can get active that way too. But here I mean: when you don’t have a sitter on-call or you are nervous about leaving the kids with that girl down the street whose boyfriend wears chains around his neck and has been known to crash her babysitting gigs, you could head to your local rec centre for a gym date. Yes, most recreation centres have designated evenings when they offer child minding while you work out. You and your spouse could drop the kids off, head to the hot tub, or spot each other as you lift heavy weights. Nothing says I love you like tandem bicep curls.
Who Says Dates Have to Happen at Night
Admittedly this may not work well for those who have larks for children (the early risers). My kids are night owls and are known to sleep in. I am not admitting to trying this, but I am saying you can think outside of the “night” box and get up early for a little “good morning to you” followed by breakfast in bed. What a way to start the day!
Start Your Own Book Club
Who says book clubs are for middle-aged women who want to re-read Jane Eyre? You and your spouse can be a book club of two. Read the same book, and then snuggle under the covers to talk about it.
Play 20 Questions
Grab a bottle of wine and sit down with your partner after the kids go to bed. Spark a really great conversation and learn something new about each other by playing 20 questions. Ask and listen, be asked and think of your best response. This can be a great exercise in opening up to each other. Who knows what you’ll discover. In my relationship, it was a lot of laughs.
Lie Out Under the Stars
While I can’t imagine doing this during soggy January, this is a perfect date night idea for a warm summer evening. Grab a sleeping bag and a flashlight and snuggle up with a plate of s’mores right out there under the stars. Chat it up in between stuffing your face with marshmallows!
Create a Memory Book Together
If you have always meant to put together a memory book for your wedding or one (or in my case all) of your kids, make it together! Looking at pictures and mementoes will bring back wonderful memories of happy times, and you’ll get all that feel good from creating together.
Turn Your Home Into a Spa
When the kids nod off to sleep, turn your home into a spa! Have chocolate covered strawberries chillin in the fridge. Pour some champagne and draw a really sumptuous bubble bath for two. Take turns giving each other a relaxing massage when you do finally make it out of the tub. You can try DIY facials too! Or just have sex. Up to you.
Create a Vision Board Together
Get creative together and plan your future. Grab a stack of magazines and some plain poster board. Work on one vision board that represents where you want to go as a family. You’ll discover each other’s aspirations and have fun making a really pretty poster, which you can hang as a conversation starter all year long.
A night at home doesn’t have to be boring and uninspiring. Buy a canvas and work on a masterpiece together. Get close planning what you will create, and then get to work making a stunning piece of art for your bedroom wall, guaranteed to make you smile every time you look at it.
More importantly, don’t wait for one night to steal special moments with each other. Try to make sure every day includes time to talk and snuggle, even if you have to pretend you don’t hear your daughter singing Let it Go at the top of her lungs while dancing on the dining room table.
*Netflix has provided me with free service, though my family’s affection for their service is 100% genuine. As with all articles on HelloCreativeFamily.com the ideas and views expressed here are 100% my own.