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 .