From the Editors
We’ve all heard it (or said it) before.
“My husband/wife and I never go out/spend time together.”
And the excuses vary but usually sound something like this:
“We don’t have the time.”
“We don’t have the money.”
“We don’t have a sitter.”
Sound familiar? While all of these reasons can discourage us and make us feel like we will never have one-on-one time with our spouse again, I am here to tell you, it is possible.
You CAN have a date with your husband or wife! And you don’t need to wait 20 years until your kids are out of the house to do it either.
It may look a little different than what you imagined, but “dates” don’t always have to mean going out to dinner and a movie, right? (Although that is a nice way to spend the evening.)
You may need to be a little flexible and a bit creative but that’s OK too. We parents have learned to be adaptable, haven’t we?
For those busy parents who are desperate for a date night that doesn’t break the bank, this post is for you. Here are a few of our suggestions for all of you pining away for some grown-up time. And if any of you readers have other ideas, please share them with us!
‘We don’t have the time’
Parenting is a tough job and it’s 24-7. It’s difficult to squeeze in “alone time” when all of your waking hours are already spoken for. So here’s where you need to be flexible.
Firs of all, date night doesn’t have to actually be at night. Why not schedule a morning coffee date or an afternoon lunch date? If you both work out of the house, your children are likely at school, day care or a sitter anyway so make arrangements once a week to meet up with your spouse for coffee or lunch.
If one of you stays home, plan to have the other come home for lunch. Maybe prepare a special meal and plan your lunch date around the baby’s afternoon nap.
If you can’t schedule anything during working hours, try to hold out until the kids go to bed. This one is a struggle, I know, because by the time they get to bed, you are both likely ready to drop.
But if you keep it low-key and just plan to order a pizza, cuddle up and watch a movie, it might not seem like such a hardship.
Check out this post by one of our contributors to find out more about having at-home date nights.
‘We don’t have the money’
Paying for dinner, a movie, and a babysitter isn’t cheap. In fact, depending on where you go, you could spend well over $100 in one night. Ouch …
So take out at least one of those expenses. Have dinner at home and then head to the movies. Or enjoy a nice kid-free dinner and plan to watch a movie when you get home. Here’s a list of our favorite restaurants for date night.
You could also see a movie and then indulge afterwards in dessert. Champaign-Urbana is home to so many delicious and unique dessert options.
Keep your eye open for free or cheap date night ideas. How about stargazing at the University of Illinois Observatory? It doesn’t get more romantic than that. Our calendar offers numerous free and affordable family-friendly events that can be enjoyed by grownups too so check it out regularly to find upcoming happenings and potential date possibilities.
‘We don’t have a sitter’
This one may be the biggest challenge. A good sitter is hard to find. And the good ones aren’t cheap. (We often hear parents today pay about $10 an hour.)
If you’re lucky enough to have family close by who would come over at the drop of a hat to babysit your kids, count yourself blessed. For many of us though, that’s just not the case.
So if paying for a babysitter would deplete all of your date night funds, you may want to look into forming a babysitting co-op.
What is a babysitting co-op you ask? Well, it’s nothing short of a genius idea really. Basically, you and your friends take turns babysitting each other’s kids for FREE. It’s a win-win situation that saves not only your money but also your sanity.
See how one group of moms made a babysitting co-op work for them.
Having date night when you’re a parent may look a little different than before you had kids, but it can still be just as fun!