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Date Night - By Mother of 4

Date night. Those two words can conjure up many emotions for those of us with young children.
When we first got married, and then after the birth of our children, we were told by the experts, generally older family members or friends, that date night was one of those marriage musts. That without setting aside one specific night a week to take each other out to dinner or even a coffee, we may as well forget our relationship as husband and wife, because our roles of father and mother will have totally taken over.

The idea behind date night is a very important one. For we are not just mother and father, we are husband and wife. For any relationship to sustain itself, and of course, to grow, time and effort must be put in. The two people in that relationship must be given quality time together to make that happen.

Unfortunately, in the last 15 years, our lives have just gotten more and more busy. The first five were a date night every night, but since then, going out together doesn’t happen on a set night each week. Luckily for us, our kids are at school on a Friday but we don’t work, so we do go out every so often for a ‘date breakfast’. But that doesn’t happen every week, and going out to dinner tends to be reserved for birthdays and anniversaries. It’s not that we don’t want to spend time together, it is just between the cost of a babysitter and all the commitments of childrearing, work and life in general, it is hard to make it happen every week.
But never fear. We have taken the concept behind date night, and used it to make sure we do spend time together, just the two of us, enjoying ourselves.

So here’s a few things we do that can help those time poor and financial restrained couples who still want to have special time together:
-Date at other times of the day- if you don’t live in a place where the education system lets you have date breakfasts, you can always meet each other for lunch at or near work. This is a good one if you work close by to each other or one of you works from home or is the stay at home parent. Try eating together on a park bench, or going for a walk around the city together. Even if it’s only for half an hour, it can be special time together.

-Cook together- working together in the kitchen once the kids are in bed may not sound romantic, but it can be. Chatting together at the end of the day with no one else around is actually a really nice way to bond with each other. Maybe finish off the date with a cup of tea on the lounge.

-Watch a series together- I don’t mean by this, crash in front of the TV where one of you falls asleep while the other one flicks channels. Choose a specific series that interests you both and watch it together. Then make sure to get ready for bed together so you can discuss that episode. It’s actually a great chance to get to know one another’s opinions on topics that otherwise would never come up.
-Make a deal with a friend- when you don’t have family around to babysit, try coordinating a babysitting swap with a friend or neighbor. Each of you can commit to helping each other out on, say, a once a month basis. No one pays for a babysitter, and only one of each couple needs to do the actual babysitting. It may just be so you can go for a walk together, but it is cost-free and works well.

By: Mother of 4

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