Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Why Having A Family Date Night Is Important

My husband and I enjoy our date nights. Now that the minis are a bit older and easier to manage, getting a sitter or family to watch them isn't as difficult. It's our chance to go out to the restaurants that don't have a kid menu, indulge in an adult beverage without having to use the words "no you can't have a sip of that, it's a special drink just for mom," seeing friends we never get to see. You get the picture. Actually, Hubs and I have had a pretty fun summer with adult only activities (get your mind out of the gutter people). As the weekend rolled around, the minis innocently asked if they had "another sitter this weekend?" Admittedly, Hubs and I have been on a going out kick since returning from our family vacation.

"Nope," I replied, going about my business.

"Good....maybe we can go on a date night with you guys then? So we can see what moms and dads do," proposed the middle child.

I had never thought of it from their point of view. Our date nights were for when we just needed a break from parenting duties (all while having our phone directly in front of us in case of any emergencies) or something planned that kids aren't invited to. However, they wanted to know mom and dad outside of the day to day. Sure, we take our kids out plenty. We take them to do a variety of things so they can explore their interests (and find what exactly they're interested in). Rarely do we slap some "fancy" clothes on and say we're going out. We're always going on an adventure.....so why not do an adventure Family Date Night?

We made reservations at one of our favorite restaurants for a later than usual dinner (and by later, I mean 8:00 instead of the usual 5:00 dinner at a restaurant). It's one of those restaurants that had real glass cups (but happily dug around the Social Club for some plastic kid cups since we were on the patio for dinner) and margaritas with the expensive tequila. While we've been to this restaurant before with the kids during daytime hours, the ambience is different at night. I caught them looking all around at the scene and we happily answered questions from fellow parents (who were out on date nights sans kids) commenting on our well behaved children so late at night (full disclosure on that part: they had taken four hour naps that afternoon and we knew they would be up later than usual, which is partly why we surprised them with this date night when we did).

Much like our regular date nights, we followed up dinner with an activity. This activity was walking around the Sculpture Park, an after dinner coffee, and a stop at the store for some ice cream and dishwasher tabs (because every day life does not stop). I think the kids were expecting some grand happenings and were shocked to discover that our date nights were actually things we've done with them before (except for getting ice cream, because we've never done that with them before {wink, wink}). I enjoyed it because our children were actually respectful and mindful. I'm fairly certain they were trying to act older simply because we were "out on a date night."

While I will still cherish my no kids date nights, this is something we'll have to do more often. We had fun and meaningful conversations during dinner and full willingness to share the thoughts that popped into their heads (I'm still questioning some of those thoughts, but hey, at least they were shared).

Walking to dinner. The minis were disappointed I didn't wear my fake eye lashes. I worried they were melt off in the heat!

Someone enjoyed my dinner more than her own. In case anyone was wondering, the vegetarian burrito bowl and a side salad was a kid favorite as well. Obviously we forgot all manners when mom says she'll share her food.

 "Oooh, fancy patio lights!" the five year old exclaimed, making the rest of the patio laugh.

Our waiting for to-go boxes and the bill pictures.

The Sculpture Park. We haven't been for a walk around here for a while and we haven't been for a night visit (with the kids at least) in a couple of years!