Date nights after children: The reality

Now before I begin I need to fess up, although we do use the term ‘date night’ in this house, I don’t like it. I like the premise, but I do wonder why we stopped saying “’let’s go out for dinner/drinks” and instead turned it into date night.

Anyway, we actively embrace date nights in our house, usually after prolonged periods of arguing due to lack of sleep or realise we’ve not had a conversation over dinner for some time that hasn’t involved catching a plate a toddler has thrown or watching Hollyoaks (what? I like it).

Nowadays our date nights are just a bit different from the childfree days, when we used to go out for dinner (when we had a three course meal and ate it slowly and shared a bottle of wine without feeling like people are staring at us for having a bottle of wine and a child), or when we used to go out for drinks (get sh*tfaced). These days they take careful planning, and usually go a bit like this:

Me: “I’m done, I’m not having anymore kids, I’m so tired, I don’t even look like my mum anymore I look like my dad I’m that tired. I never get any time to myself, I can’t cope.”

Husband chirps in: “Let’s have a date night.”

Excellent, seems like a massively good idea. What more could two tired, angry people want than a night out to rekindle their love for each other? Bring back the memories of the good old days. Relight those fires.

We need a babysitter, shit. So then you have to find a babysitter “we can’t ask mum again we asked her last time” “true”, *looks through list of Facebook friends*, “I’ll ask mum”.

So there you go, all booked in and ready to go. I’m even excited. Until…. WTF am I going to wear? All I have is Breton stripes and old leopard print H&M cardigans. So then I go on ASOS, the “new in” section to make sure that what I buy is so on trend. “Why the eff are they all cropped tops?”. Scrap ASOS, I’ll have a look at Warehouse and Oasis, reliable, safe, sometimes sexy, because that’s what I need to be. “Why is it £75 for a dress?” Shit. I’m going to have to go to New Look and buy something potentially flammable but that doesn’t say “mum that can’t coordinate a wardrobe”. Just need to fit the time in to go shopping, with a toddler, and get undressed in a changing room with a toddler. Sod it, I’ll just go with jeans and a black top, I’ll throw on a fake gemmed necklace and it will be brilliant.

Then it comes to date night, I get my mum over late afternoon to have a play with Reuben and sit down to dinner with him while I go and have a relaxing bath, paint my nails (toenails and fingernails), we’ll take him up the stairs, kiss him goodnight and off we’ll go. OR, mum will arrive as Reuben is mid tantrum, one of many that day. He’ll refuse to eat dinner, scream in the bath, and won’t go to sleep. So we leave the house stressed, smudged nails, barely on talking terms. But it’s fine because WE ARE OUT.

And thus begins an evening of talking about Reuben, his development, and am I too strict? Am I too soft? Do I spoil him? Did you see that thing he did earlier with the crayon? He’s a genius, he’s definitely advanced…. And then onto which room we are going to decorate next in the house, which requires a gin chaser, before realising it’s 10pm and if we’re not home soon we’ll really pay for it in the morning.

On the way home we dream about a lie-in in the morning, and a nice family day at the park. And then Reuben spends half the night waking up crying before insisting on a 6am get-up, which we both pretend we can’t hear until one person relents  and gets up. And thus begins the cycle: work, parenthood, work, being a zombie until the next date night.


Me and him

Here we are loving life and each other….!

S xxx




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