Posted ByKatie Bugbee
A 2015 Care.com Date Night Survey reveals that 85 percent of parents feel they don't go on enough dates. Here are the solutions to the hurdles they hit along the way.
What’s a good date night when you have kids?
A bottle of wine and Netflix.
No one needing you for at least 2 hours -- straight.
Being asleep by 9:30 pm.
Any of these sound amazing, especially when you’re in the thick of young kids and hectic daily lives. It’s exhausting. But the Date Night Survey from Care.com reveals that parents (mostly female respondents) don’t want a night in all the time. In fact, 68% of parents wish they could go on a date a couple of times a month or more.
In fact, these are some parental perks the survey uncovered:
- 96% of parents in a relationship feel date night brings them closer to their partner
- 88% of parents say date nights help them feel more attracted to their partner
- 49% say they love connecting without the kids, and 26% say it feels like old times
- 68% say they are more likely to have sex after a date
And yet, parents just don't seem to be mustering up the energy it takes to get out of the house. Here are some of the most common date night challenges that get in parents' ways, and how to solve them.
1) You Need to Get a Sitter
52% of parents say finding reliable child care is the hardest part of planning a date – and 44% can’t find child care on short notice.
Solution: While it’s hard to find someone you love more than Ben...it’s not as difficult to find someone your whole family looks forward to seeing. The first step is to do the work when you’re not in a rush. Post a date night job on Care.com that's as detailed and thorough as possible; make sure candidates know exactly what you're looking for and when. Once you've found at least five candidates that you really like, call them up (here are tips for a video phone interview) and invite the favorites to interview in-person at a local coffee shop. You should leave those meetings with about three favorites. And the next time you’re itching to go out, you can pull them up on the Care.com app and see who’s free.
2) Date Night Is Not a High Priority
80% of parents say their attitudes about dating changed after having children. And 35% said dates are just less of a priority. Perhaps sleep has been given the top slot.
Solution: Recharge the couple you were before you had kids. True: being parents is making you an even stronger couple in many ways, but you don’t want to just be “best-friend-strong.” You want “in-love-strong.” So don’t let the sizzle, fizzle. Put a date on the calendar once or twice a month -- and stick to it. You’ll be amazed how different it can feel to sit and laugh at a restaurant, rather than your house.
3) Someone Needs to Plan the Date
66% of parents in a relationship wish their partner would plan more dates. They promise, they’ll show up.
Solution: Take turns planning. You take one month, your partner gets the next. Just make sure you have a few sitters you like – and you both know how to contact them. Better yet, find a sitter you love and book a bunch of Saturdays in advance.
4) It's Hard to Leave the Kids
Perhaps it’s the fear of who take the best care of them, or who the kids won’t scare away forever. But it’s hard to put your needs first and walk out that door.
Solution: It’s healthy for kids to see that you have other interests besides them, and that you are investing in your relationship. If leaving was a “scene,” check in with the sitter a half hour later for an update.
5) Going out Is Expensive
55% spend between $50 and $99 on date nights and 23% say money concerns keep them from going on a date.
Solution: Go on low-budget outings and lean on friends, family and neighbors to help with the kids. Putting your pair first is the priority. It doesn’t matter what you do, or how you do it. And if you need some inspiration, check out our listicle of 101 cheap date night ideas -- it's bound to have at least one idea you and your partner will love!
6) There's Actually Really Good TV to Catch up On
When you’re super tired, sometimes this is all you want to do:
Solution: If you’ve made time for each other a lot lately, then curling up with some snacks and Chris Harrison is no big deal. But if you haven’t, you should really rally. You’ll be glad you did.
7) Child Rearing Already Makes You Feel Closer Than Ever
Solution: Take out your manners and your “date” again.
8) It Needs to Be Different Than "Just Us"
49% of parents say they wish they did more dates with other couples, and 28% of parents say they would most rather book a sitter for a couples’ date.
Solution: It can feel like awkward match-making all over again, but find a friend and ask if she and her partner want to have dinner with you. Most likely, she’ll say yes.
While going without a date night can often feel like what parents "should do" (get sleep, save money, don't upset kids), there's something about getting out of your weekend clothes/sweatpants and putting your best selves forward -- that can make you feel closer than ever. It might take some work upfront, but once you have a sitter in place and a few reservations on the books, your new groove will feel like old times -- but better. After all, you've still got it.