As mothers we are constantly busy — changing diapers, getting kids dressed, getting kids fed, driving kids around, calming kids down, rolling around on the floor with kids, keeping kids entertained — god forbid you get a moment to feed yourself or shower.
When bedtime finally arrives and after the third, no fourth attempt, the baby is asleep, all you want to do is lay down somewhere — anywhere — soft. It’s easy to allow the couch to swallow you whole as you drift away to Chris Harrison’s voice telling you tonight will be the most dramatic episode of “The Bachelorette” yet. It’s easy to sit there as your husband makes fun of the suitors’ haircuts and you think to yourself, “but maybe he could be the one” but don’t say it out loud because you’re too exhausted.
Eventually the exhaustion takes over and you wake up to the sound of the 10 o’clock news, realizing you’ve missed the rose ceremony so you’ll just have to watch it all again tomorrow. It’s easy to throw on sweatpants, make a TV dinner, and drink a glass of the white wine you’re not sure is still good but smells fine. But some nights, its nice to do something a little special. Perhaps you throw on a clean shirt that makes you feel a little sexy or rouge your lips. Perhaps you take out that nice bottle of red you saved for a special occasion. You dim the lights, light some candles, and let your partner know this is not an ordinary night — this is date night.
Since our baby was born a year ago, my husband and I vowed to have an in home date night at least once a week. We haven’t always held up the bargain and at the beginning, these date nights sometimes included a tiny third wheel, but once a week we take the time to connect, relax, and enjoy the company of our chosen person. Netflix and chill is always a great option, but if your queue is looking sparse and you need to spice things up here are some date night ideas to turn your home in to a romantic haven.
Here are 10 great options for an (In Home) Date Night:
Make Dinner… Together
It’s nice when your partner cooks for you but it’s even more fun to cook together! Try making a dish that is more complicated so making it is half the fun and sitting to enjoy your hard work feels even sweeter. Making your own pasta or pizza from scratch are easy enough that it won’t be stressful, you can enjoy a glass of wine while making the dish but it’s not necessarily a dinner you’d cook on any old night. Cooking can be playful and romantic. It’s a great way to connect with your partner and have fun together.
Not your kids’ games. I’m talking about a good old fashioned game of Scrabble or Rummikub. When you can’t get out for a bowling date, get competative with your spouse in your home. When you plan this type of date, just make sure you don’t get too competitive. Things can turn sour pretty quickly if you or your spouse hates to lose.
Create Your Own Wine (or beer) Tasting
Head to your local liquor store and ask the staff for some help choosing a variety of beer or wine. Get some fancy cheese, a baguette, and play sommelier as you try a variety of wine or beer. The best part of trying this at home is you can have more than the small sip you’d get at a wine bar and as much cheese as you’d like.
On any typical date night my husband and I like to sit outside and chat. To take this activity to the next level, we like to break out our telescope and search for constellations and planets. It sounds nerdy but there’s nothing like that big Texas sky. If you don’t have a telescope (or even if you do), you can download an ap for your phone that labels the constellations and planets for you.
Grab your tent and sleeping bags, marshmallows and graham crackers, hot dogs and buns. Roast your dinner and cuddle up together beneath the stars. Bring your flashlights and tell scary stories. The best part is, you can retreat to the bedroom when the mosquitos drive you crazy. If you don’t have a fire pit to roast a hot dog and make s’mores, a grill works great.
There’s nothing wrong with getting silly with your partner, in fact I highly encourage it. Dress up and let your iTunes library take you away to a night club or private party where kids are not allowed and the drinks flow freely. Just keep the volume lower and be sure the bass isn’t thumping so the kids don’t wake up.
Drawing With a Twist
You may have heard of Painting With a Twist or even tried it on a ladies night out — you paint a specific picture while drinking wine. Instead of painting try facing your partner, each with an easel or sketch pad and draw each other’s portraits. Even if the portrait you create is borderline offensive, it’s all in fun.
Make Your Own Terrarium
Head to your local (plant) nursery to pick up some succulents and air plants, soil, rocks, and some glass planters. You can each create your own terrarium. The best part is the result of this date will also look great in your home.
I know I know, this one sounds like the boring typical old date. Let’s face it, with kids we don’t get to actually go out to a theatre very often. Now that we have devices such as Apple TV, we can download fairly recent movies and watch them on our home TVs. Pick a movie you completely missed in the theatre and get some real popcorn kernels with your preferred seasoning. To make things a little cuter, you can even keep little popcorn boxes on hand so it feels (almost) like you’re at the theatre.
This one might seem obvious but what else is date night for if not to reconnect and enjoy one another’s company? Sometimes we don’t need candles, or fancy wine, or dinner, you need only to be with your partner. Our days go fast–they’re busy and stressful. Sometimes it’s best to just be. Sometimes we just need to ask our partner how they’re really doing. To get past the parental facade we often put up and forget to take off. We need to be silly and get deep, to talk about the kids and not just talk about the kids. We need to remember why we chose that person in the first place because sometimes we do forget.