When was the last time you and your partner went out on a date? If you’re single, when was the last time you got a baby sitter and headed out with your friends?
‘Out’ can mean anything to anyone. I consider it going out for a meal, maybe a drink or two and a movie. No clubs for me… I’m 33, not 23. Plus it’s a little cringe being a married dad on the dance floor right?
Whatever we may consider it to be, I know me and my husband don’t do it enough. In fact, it’s embarrassing to say I can’t remember the last time we did. I think it may have been June for his birthday?! THAT IS TERRIBLE! What’s wrong with us? I think I know why… I don’t think we necessarily need to ‘keep the spark alive’ or even feel we both need an escape. I can confidently say we both love being dads, being in our lovely little house, we love each other and we have every evening together. We eat together every night, will tidy up together as we catch up on our days and then usually stick a boxset on or just listen to some music. Our evenings are pretty much the same whether it’s a Monday or Saturday. And I like that. I also like mixing it up having friends round or getting a sitter and popping to theirs for food and a film. But an ACTUAL date? It has been far too long.
Like I said, I don’t think we need to keep any romance alive, we’re good on that front and I swear our attitudes to life and our sense of humour help out there. Not a day will go by where we don’t laugh our tits off at something stupid. We really don’t let the stresses of adult life get us down. It’s all about your outlook. But what is good for the soul is that escape from the routine, even if you don’t think you need it.
Just a simple night out having dinner somewhere other than home. We eat out a lot at weekends but with a messy, attention demanding three year old in tow. To have just us two and not to have to pack a bag of spare clothes and wet wipes feels odd but it is definitely a luxury. Our family live in the same neighbourhood, yet we rarely call on nanny for a Friday night break to head into town or even to pop to the local to have a drink. And we really should!
I don’t know why we don’t. Maybe we’re so lazy and so settled we don’t feel we need it? But when we do do it on that rare occasion we have such a fun time switching our phones off and just being in the moment. Yes, all we do is harp on about our boy but we also get the opportunity to talk about the future, our plans, our creativity and we thrive on that. Something you literally cannot do when your son interrupts you talking with “Noooo daddy, stop talking!!” every few minutes! Parenting is hard work. We've learnt in the last two and a half years that there is no off switch so it's important to have some time together as often as you can.
I was looking back through photos on my phone earlier to a time before we became dads. All the parties and gatherings with friends. Such amazing memories but I looked at my face and I could see that I didn’t know what I was about to experience. I literally had no clue. I wish I knew back then how much care free-ness I had on my hands. But as I was scrolling I got to photos around late 2014 when we were matched with our baby boy and the pictures started to change. Gone were the selfies and pictures of beautiful hotels in a European city and they were slowly being replaced with selfies of me and my boy, pictures of him on his little adventures, at the park, the beach, out for brunch. And this makes my heart so happy… There’s nothing wrong with being happy with everything you have at home. In fact, I absolutely love it.
I feel I see status updates of parents heading out a fair bit and I wonder how they are so good at it. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no way I could be out drinking every weekend or partying with colleagues… that ship has sailed. But I’m going to make a pact with myself to book a date night in now, right this second. I’ve missed a million films at the cinema I wanted to see, I miss getting two scoops of Ben & Jerrys and I look forward to not having baked bean sauce and egg yolks wiped onto my clothes when eating out.