1 | Plan Ahead
Use some spare time during the week to discuss plans for date night. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT start a date night without having a plan beforehand. “What do you feel like doing tonight?” is not part of the new parent’s date night vocabulary.
2 | Prepare Logistically
Aside from taking time before the date to discuss plans, you might find it useful to take time to actually prepare the specifics of the date in advance. Whether that means getting a hair cut a few days before the date or renting your significant other’s favorite movies on your way home from work, you can definitely benefit from doing those things before you’re on that babysitter’s clock. Time is of the essence, people.
3 | Plan some fun family time pre-date
Before my husband and I go out, we like to make sure we have some bonding time with our son. Since we have a baby, that looks like an evening round of elaborate hide-and-seek or reading his favorite books five or six times through before we go. Whatever it is for you, getting time with your little ones before a date is always a good idea. That way they will feel more relaxed when the sitter comes and you won’t feel guilty for having too much fun while you’re away.
4 | Get energized
Re-charge from the day on your way to the date with a coffee or an energy drink. But obviously use a drive-thru because, here’s the thing: you’re a parent and therefore you do not have time to actually get out of the car anymore. NO STOPS ON THE WAY TO THE DATE.
5 | Stay Close to Home
Sure, date night is great for trying out new restaurants or bars outside of your usual stomping grounds, but the last thing you want is for the majority of your date to be spent in the car. Staying nearby gives you the freedom to relax on your date without having to worry too much about drive times, traffic, or unforeseen circumstances. Then you can focus on what really matters: the perfect, beautiful, wonderful, glorious LOVE.
6 | Shoot for More Activities in Fewer Locations
Lots of couples try to squeeze a ton of plans into a small period. This leads to lots of rushing around and stressing about getting where you need to be on time. For those couples, a good alternative is to go somewhere where many options are available in close proximity to one another. That’s where things like movie theater/bowling alleys and karaoke restaurants come in really handy. Dueling piano bars? Sure. Those too.
7 | Be Honest
Sticking to the plan is always good when it comes to using date time wisely. But hey, if your plans suck, make new ones! If you two discover that the modern art exhibit isn’t exactly what you thought it would be or you actually don’t know anyone at the boring charity event, just actually walk the eff out. Seriously, leave. You are parents now, you don’t have time for pleasantries.
8 | Limit Screen Time
Oh great, another parenting article preaching less screen time. But at least in this case we’re talking about the parents themselves. It would be nice if we were disciplined enough to just say “no” to our phones for an entire night out with our soulmates. But the truth is, this is time off from parenting for a bit too, and we might want to spend a few minutes of that time on Instagram. Hey, that’s okay! But we can make the most of our date time by setting aside a big portion of the night as phoneless ahead of time.
9 | CHILL
It’s a good idea to do something during the date night period that you wouldn’t be able to do on just any old night. But that could just mean eating an entire pint of ice cream and watching something R-rated. There’s no shame in getting a babysitter to Netflix and Chill. DO NOT BE ASHAMED OF WHO YOU ARE.
10 | Check out your Date
Whatever the date night activity, take a few minutes out to just look at your sweetheart and think about how hot and funny and intelligent and all around great they are. Sneak your arm around their shoulder when they’re not looking. Flirt with them a little. Hell, cop a feel here and there. This is your night, parents. Take advantage of it.