It wasn’t until 18 months after our daughter was born that my spouse and I had a date. That is 540 days without time by ourselves. Our family time was important, but we wanted some alone time together. We didn’t have a babysitter. We wanted to start dating again, but had no idea how to make it possible while having little children.
When we wrote our New Year’s intentions for 2017 both of us put down that we should establish a monthly date. Dates allow us to BE a couple, to love each other, to discuss the things we push to the side when life happens. When we honor our time alone as a couple, we are showing our relationship respect. It shows the commitment to our relationship and shows that we are a priority.
We were determined to have a date to reconnect, love, and support each other without the distractions.
Finding a babysitter we could trust, paying the babysitter and then actually LEAVING were our challenges.
One of our nearest and dearest friends was over for a family dinner one night and we shared our hope to make time for ourselves as a couple. Our friend was excited to hear this because she was interested in doing this for her family too.
Then the thought popped into my head.
Why don’t we SWAP TIME for date nights?
We loved the family, and we trusted them. Finding someone to trust with our baby is the hardest hurdle to overcome when we are looking at dates. We knew that we could swap time watching each other’s child. We wouldn’t have to pay them for their time, because it was an even exchange. If you have close friends that you trust, but one of you have more children than the other, or the age range is quite large, you could set guidelines on how it would work. Maybe it would be a two for one date night. The important thing is to have a conversation before you make the commitment. Be sure all parties are content with the agreement, and know that you can always try it the first time, and readjust for the second!
Here is what we did.
First we discussed how many days we’d be able to set aside. We started with just one day a month.
Then we each blocked off time in our calendar as far out as we could (this was usually three months ahead).
Finally, when the day came, we could drop off our child and go! It was perfect because our children LOVED playing together, so our date times were play dates for them.
We blocked off dates every month in our time budgets so we could be together as a married couple. Our experiences changed each month. We often reference the Date Night Guide to get ideas!
Do you have a friend with children?
Do you think your friend would like time off with her spouse too? Maybe you have a few friends that would LOVE to jump in. You could make it a babysitting co-op and have a multiple family date night (as long as it wouldn’t be too much for the person watching the children). Take the plunge and just ask!
The scariest thing is to ASK….so…..