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Our date nights have been pushed aside—but it's not forever

We will get back to that place one day—that place where you take a purse with you instead of the diaper bag or wear the non-sensible heels.

Our date nights have been pushed aside—but it's not forever

First things first—I want to say...I understand the importance of a date night. I am fully on board with the idea that your relationship should come first and then, as a happy couple, you can better parent your children.

Now that we have that out of the way— in my house, "date night" doesn't exist.

Let me paint the picture for you. I'm a working mom to a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old. My husband who teaches full-time is currently getting a master's degree and studies constantly for exams. We have real, meaningful time with our girls for roughly two hours in the evening before we put them to bed.

Throwing in a date night is exactly what our relationship needs and precisely what it won't get any time soon.

You see, I understand the need for it. I desperately don't want to be that mother who takes care of her career and kids for 18 years, only to look up and realize she has no idea who "that man" is sleeping in the bed next to her. I don't think I will be that person, but in this season of life, date night just isn't a priority.

Date night includes a sitter. One grandparent watches our girls during the week while the other grandparent already works two jobs. The thought of adding another responsibility to either of their lists gives me gut-wrenching guilt.

We could always hire a sitter, I know. But then after we've paid for our dinner and the few hours of childcare we need, the fact that two hours away from my babies costs us over $150 can be a tough pill to swallow.

"What about your friends?" you may ask. Well, my friends are amazing people. I would trust them all if they offered to look after my babies. However, not unlike me, they are all in this same stage of life and probably looking for a babysitter themselves.

There are endless articles, podcasts and books written about this very topic, and why dating your partner is so important. It's easy to read that and get discouraged. It's easy to take their advice and compare their relationship to yours—it's something I do all the time.

But most of these podcasters and authors aren't in the same season as me. The season of two kids in diapers, drowning in sippy cups, potty charts and "Is that spit up on my blazer, again?!" For us—intimate time looks a little differently than it used to and, hopefully, differently than it will in the future.

Now intimacy is having a glass of wine on the couch after the girls go to bed.

It's when he lets me pick the movie on Netflix (knowing we'll both be asleep in 15 minutes) or cooking dinner together.

It's knowing my partner still cares about me when he asks me how my 5 am run went.

It's showing him that he matters when I bring him coffee every morning while he's ironing.

It's not perfect, and it surely isn't what I dreamt of…but our dating life has been pushed to the side for the season. It's not forever.

We may not have time or make time to get dressed up and go on a date and because of that, it is imperative that we still show up in small ways to let the other know, "Hey, you really are the best!"

Our dating life has been put on the back burner because these two little girls came into our lives and it's been a whirlwind ever since. An exciting, loving, terrifying, magical whirlwind. We will get back to that place one day—that place where you take a purse with you instead of the diaper bag or wear the non-sensible heels.

But today is not that day.

Today is the day we rush to get to work on time while making sure the girls got breakfast.

Today is the day we try to convince our 2-year-old that she cannot, in fact, live off of fruit snacks.

To all the couples out there on their date nights, with the trusted sitter at home… stop reading this! Eat that dessert! Stay out a little later!

To the rest of us who are in their pajama pants and dreaming of the mythical evening where you don't have to yell "sit down" 26 times before the waiter even comes, I see you. I am you.

But remember, it isn't a life sentence—it's just for a little while. It's just the season.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

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Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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