Date Night Anyone?

I was delighted to be asked by BlogHer to share this Almay-sponsored video series, “Different Occasions. Different Looks. Always Pretty.” The video is about how to get a great Date Night Look.

When I was asked to share this video, it reminded me of a conversation I had with some friends about how Date Nights change over the years and the need to be creative. When our children were little, Russ and I had no money and no family nearby to watch them, so going out was nearly impossible. Once a week we put the kids to bed early and had dinner together or watched a movie. Finally Hannah and Mimi grew old enough to keep their siblings relatively safe and we started going out for an occasional date.

A few years passed and it was easier to get out so we set Fridays as a regular date night. Our older kids often had plans later in the evening, so we would go out for an early dinner, or even just for a walk. We always tried to find the sweet spot of getting home just late enough for the little ones to be tucked in bed, but not too late for the big kids to make it to whatever exciting event was happening.

Then we brought home our children from “hard places” and Date Night came to a complete halt. Six years later, we’re still trying to reclaim it, but not with consistent success. I can’t complain though, because we’re getting some special time away soon to celebrate our anniversary.

Question: Do you have a Date Night? Is it planned on a regular schedule? What does it take for you to get out of the house, and why is it important to you?

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

13 Comments

  1. Roxanne Palmer
    June 5, 2013

    Yes! Ever since our oldest son came home from Bolivia, we have “date night” on Fridays. We have dinner after our sons do. They are 13 & 10 now, and like our date nights–they play the Xbox while we are eating. We haven’t left them alone and gone out for our date nights yet. It’s been wonderful to count on one day a week that we will be able to talk with each other about anything without kids around. We had our 18th anniversary the other day, and I can’t imagine not having our special Friday nights.

    Reply
  2. Michele Mahan Gautsch
    June 5, 2013

    Date night is essential. We keep it as protected as we can. Even more essential w bringing home kids from hard places…bc that can so often put strain on marriage too. Ours is Saturday. And I will do major logistical gymnastics to protect it. 26+ years married now. It was key when we had no kids. When we had one or two smalls and now as we parent young adults (meaning watch and cheer and occasionally bite tongue) and still parent smalls and teens. It’s simply essential.

    Reply
  3. Sue B
    June 5, 2013

    When we had young kids and not so much money, we found young couples that didn't have a washer or dryer. They would happily do their laundry in a cozy home and watch our kids while we went on a date. Everyone was blessed!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      June 5, 2013

      That is a great idea, Sue!

      Reply
  4. Beckey Glancy Breeze
    June 5, 2013

    bwaaaahahhahaa..hahaa..oh..let me catch my breath..whew!..what IS a date night?!..sounds interesting!!

    Reply
  5. Sandra Zimmerman
    June 5, 2013

    We swap children with another family once a month and take turns going out. I love that my children are safe and my husband and I can spend some time reconnecting. I think if you have children from "hard places" you need date night even more. My sons therapist even made date night for my husband and I a part of our therapy.

    Reply
  6. ANA
    June 5, 2013

    HOLA LISA: TE SALUDO DESDE BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA. CON RESPECTO A TUS PREGUNTAS, REALMENTE NO SALIMOS MUCHO CON MI ESPOSO, PRONTO ESTAMOS CUMPLIENDO 35 AÑOS DE CASADOS, Y COMO TENEMOS NIÑOS PEQUEÑOS ADOPTADOS CON NECESIDADES ESPECIALES, SE NOS HACE MUY DIFICIL QUE ALGUNOS DE LOS HERMANOS MAYORES LOS CUIDEN. A VECES EXTRAÑO ESTAR SOLA CON MI ESPOSO, PODER SALIR A CENAR O A VER UNA PELICULA, PERO LAS CIRCUNSTANCIAS NO NOS PERMITEN. IGUALMENTE DISFRUTAMOS HACIENDO TODO JUNTOS, DEDICANDONOS A LA FAMILIA Y SEGUIR JUNTOS PARA SIEMPRE, COMO DIOS MANDA.

    Reply
  7. Margaret
    June 5, 2013

    We are not great at it, but we do go out whenever we can manage…this past fall we went running together every weekend because our kids are at an age where they sleep later than we do! Like another poster said, family therapy helped us see the importance of this. Our therapist would say, you know how on planes they say, put on your own mask first? And encourage us to model taking time for ourselves and each other. When we feel too overwhelmed, we quote that to each other. But even with older more self sufficient kids, sometimes our date night is watching a movie together at home or taking a walk. We also have to work not to spend the whole time talking about stressful family issues…it's reassuring to hear that others have this same struggle.

    Reply
  8. Elizabeth
    June 5, 2013

    We have date night every Friday because my husband's parents moved up here to be near us. They are in their 70s and low income, so we bought a condo for them a few minutes from our house. I struggled with the idea for a couple of years before we did it because we are from different cultures and they like to be very involved with everything we do. But now that we are doing it, I see how much better it is for my kids to have their grandparents here every day, playing cards, telling stories, fixing (jury-rigging) appliances together. It is a different way to do things having one big household, but it really takes some of the pressure off of the adults -and- the kids… Just my 2 cents…

    Reply
  9. Emily
    June 6, 2013

    We have had the best success with a weekly lunch date rather than a dinner date. It may lack the same "date-night" feel, but it works for us. The tricky part is finding a daytime babysitter for all those homeschooled kids. 🙂

    Reply
  10. Jennifer Williams
    June 6, 2013

    Thankfully most churches my husband has worked for has offered parents night out monthly or every other. They would ask for donations. They fed our kids, and kept them safe and entertained for 4 hours! It was and is lovely. We don't have much money either but live near the beach and the mountains so theres always things to do that are free. Sometimes we just hang out in our apartment, but then it gets too quiet without the kids.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      June 6, 2013

      What a wonderful ministry, Jennifer; it must make such a difference for families in your church. Thanks for sharing.

      Reply
  11. Angie
    June 7, 2013

    We swap with another family that has 2 kids from the hard place, we have 4 kids from hard place, Date night is every Wednesday from5-9.we have the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays and they have the other two Wednesdays. The kids love it just as much as parents. Whoever does the babysitting also does the meal for all kids. So couple on their date night does not even have to prepare a meal for kids and usually come home to kids in bed (best part).Our family we swap with does not have a big enough house so when we go out for our date they bring the meal to our house and use our house.

    Reply

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