Before becoming a mom, I considered the notion of date night to be superfluous. It was just the two of us, and all our days and nights seemed like one big date. But after becoming parents, my partner and I started treating date nights as special events. We saved them up for the right time or weather, or waited for the latest bout of baby separation anxiety to pass. And although making date night feel special is great and all, these strictly special-occasion outings (which as time went on, happened less) weren’t the best for our relationship. Having uninterrupted adult conversations are something we all need. And let's face it, watching a few episodes of the latest Netflix series isn't exactly connecting. In the past few months, it's felt more and more important to schedule date nights. I want to date my better half again. On the regular. Tip 1: Schedule regular date nights as soon as you and your partner are out of the hazy newborn zone. And don't let excuses get in the way. As a New Yorker from birth, I consider myself lucky to have family nearby, but it’s also created a babysitting crutch. Up until this point, my son Oliver has never had a sitter outside of someone other than a family member or friend! I know, I know. But if we were going to make this date night thing a regular habit, we needed someone to call when all our favors run out. Tip 2: Get your little one and yourself comfortable with someone outside of your inner circle so that you have more options. Who knows -- that impromptu sitter might just become part of that inner circle before you know it! Which is why we finally took the plunge and decided to try Urbansitter. After having numerous friends tell us about the wonderful experiences they'd had, one recent day I logged onto the site, searched for a good fit, found a favorite sitter of one of my Facebook friends (yay!), and booked. When date night arrived, I talked to Oliver about the cool new sitter that would be coming over to hang out with him. There were tears, sure, and a slight freak-out when she arrived, but the sitter came recommended, with a great review, and like many Urbansitters, with a background check...not that we needed it but, well....ok we needed it. She assured us that everything would be OK, so we decided to rip the Band-Aid off and leave. Gulp. We walked away wondering if we’d scarred our child for life (yet, again). And then a few minutes later I got a text from the sitter with a picture of Oliver smiling! Yes! Tip 3: Find a sitter who's gotten rave reviews, comes recommended by a friend, and with a background check, if that’s important to you. Cut out the legwork with Urbansitter. With an unexpected snowstorm at hand, we wanted to stay relatively local. We are lucky to live in Greenpoint, so we decided to hit the lanes at Brooklyn Bowl around the corner in Williamsburg. At one point in our lives, date night started at 10pm. These days, though, our mornings begin a lot earlier than they used to. We still wanted to make the most out of our date night, so we headed out in the twilight at 4:30pm. (Don't judge.) There’s something really fun and special about being out together, alone, on a late afternoon vs. waiting until your little one's bedtime to spend quality time with your partner. Tip 4: Head out early and give yourself time to connect and enjoy each other. We took a long snowy walk over there from our place in Greenpoint, which even as over the weather as we are, felt like a date in itself. We stopped and paid attention to some of the street art we mostly ignore when we’re rushing off to our next location. And then finally arrived at Brooklyn Bowl. Like many hotspots, Brooklyn Bowl is always very busy, so we knew we’d have some time to kill before they called our names. Two hours to be exact. Luckily it's located on a energetic block, with diversions all around. We contemplated heading to Kinfolk, which was on the opposite corner, but opted to take a seat at the bar at Reynard’s in the Wythe Hotel instead. We had drinks and dinner there the night we got engaged, so it holds some special memories for us. We texted the sitter to make sure all was good (it was!) and then cozied up at the bar. The cocktails warmed us up, and before we knew it, it was two hours later. We crossed the street to the bowling alley and headed to our lane where we egged each other on, said cheers, drooled over the menu and got a lot of gutter balls. It was a win for both of us. We made it home before bedtime and ended our date night with the sweetest smile from Oliver, who had gotten totally chummy with our (hopefully new regular) Urbansitter. Next time maybe we'll stay out past bedtime. His and ours. Tip 5: Plan your next date night the minute you get home! Desperately need a date night? We’re giving away 2 Urbansitter Gift Cards for $100 each! Enter below, then sign up for UrbanSitter with code FORWELL25 and get a one month free membership. This post was brought to you by UrbanSitter.
How much time our kids spend in front of a screen is something we have almost always been “strict" about in our household.
It wasn't until this past summer when I started working from home full time that I found myself stretching an hour to an hour and a half or allowing just one more episode of Pokemon so I could get in a few more emails quietly. (#MomGuilt)
I also realized that I wasn't counting when we passively had the news on in the background as TV time and that we weren't always setting a stellar example for our kids as we tended to use our phones during what should have been family time.