I’d like you to meet Katie. A mom of two preschoolers, Katie
is in charge of our site’s articles and resources, and helps create some of our
YouTube videos. She is also the Parenting spokesperson for Care.com. Here, she
has an interesting take on how real dates versus fake dates.
There was a time when I didn’t believe in Date Night. Or, I should say, I thought a "date" could be defined as ordering take out and watching a DVD in my PJs. Husband by my side. Kids asleep upstairs.
Sweet, yes. Romantic, hardly.
I don’t know what changed. Maybe it was moving to the suburbs (I needed to get out more!!). Maybe it was having a little bit more money in our budget (or pretending to). Or, maybe it was realizing that eating greasy food in my sweats on both Friday and Saturday nights was not attractive. Yeah, I think it was that one.
So we booked a sitter. And I actually got dressed up – for my husband, and not for work, which I realized was a nice change. Oh, la la. Va va va voom. You get the picture. It was fun.
One year later: Many date nights have been planned. We even have a few sitters on rotation, averaging 2-3 nights out a month. So, I’m in a work meeting the other day and these words actually came out of my mouth: "Date night has saved my marriage." Um, did I just say that? Okay, perhaps it was an exaggeration. My marriage didn’t need "saving." But perhaps my mood did. And I can tell that a date is worth it when I don’t mind shelling out the cash to pay the sitter at the end of the night. She was worth it. Why? I didn’t have to do the bedtime struggle that night. I didn’t have to negotiate vegetable eating or teeth brushing. Instead I laughed and I flirted with my husband. Yup, she was worth every penny!
So imagine my surprise when I get contacted by Bruce Feiler, author of The Secrets to Happy Families, along with a copy of this new book, and the promotional material on the inside cover of the book says "Cancel date night." Whoa, what?!
So I email the author:
"Bruce, I’m loving the book so far.
[Side note: This was true. There are strategies to make mornings less chaotic; family dinner topics and game ideas; tips on how to fight fair with your spouse -- and an amazing chapter on starting an allowance with your kids that I plan to use when mine are a little older... (but I digress)]
"I’m a working mom of a 4-year old and 2-year old. I live for date night. Plus, I think it’s important that our kids see us devote time to each other [Side note: At least this is what I tell myself.] Why would you suggest canceling it?"
"Katie," he writes, "You should start your OWN blog: A mom of a 2 and 4 year old who has time to read! There are a few pages on what amounts to cancel the tired-and-out-of-date date night model and replace it with a new-and-improved date night starting on page 158!"
Ahh… the Cliff’s Notes! This author gets better and better. So I promised him I would read the rest of the book but thanked him for the cheat sheet.
Anywho, the book totally backed up my theory that date night is awesome for couples. [A 2012 study from the National Marriage Project showed that couples who have weekly time to themselves are 3.5 more likely to be happy, including sexually happy (thank you page 159!).]
But what it also says is that couples need to mix up their dates a little. He suggests doing an activity like an art class, double dating with other couples, and even going out as a family (mine need to have good table manners, first). The point is to avoid a rut… even a date night rut.
Do you agree? "Like" if you agree that Date Night has helped your marriage or your happiness. And comment if you have other suggestions or feedback. You won’t hurt my mood. I have a date planned for Saturday!