Blogger Jenni Chiu reveals her best date nights -- before and after kids -- as part of the Care.com Interview Series
"What is this date thing you speak of?"
Jenni Chiu will be the first to tell you that she doesn't get out much -- not with a 3-year-old and a newborn, anyway. But on the rare occasion she does score some time for a date with her "hot nerd" husband, date nights usually take the form of, in Chiu's words, "eating grown-up food at a grown-up place, and then sitting in a dark theatre eating the stuff you tell your kids not to...it's fantastic!" The stay-at-home mom and author of the blog Mommy Nani Boo Boo gave us some great insight into life after kids, and "grown-up dates."
Describe the best date night you've ever had.
My then-boyfriend had orchestrated a treasure hunt type evening for my birthday. After work, I opened my trunk to find boots, a cowboy hat, and directions to a ranch. He met me there and we went horseback riding. One of the employees then handed me a card that instructed me to my next adventure.
The evening went on, with a stranger at each place handing me a card hinting at the next location. I enjoyed a horseback ride, a massage at a spa, a luxurious dinner, and finally a secluded spot overlooking the city with a lone table set with chilled champagne.
Then a strange dog came running up, and my boyfriend said' "Happy birthday! I got you a dog!"
In reality, the dog was simply delivering the ring. He proposed to me that night. I said, "I'll totally marry you."
Best. Date. Ever.
What kind of planning was involved in your "best date night"?
The planning took weeks and weeks. Of course, he also had to ask my father for permission... and then sweat bullets until the big night.
Describe the dates that you had with your husband pre-kids.
Most dates involved little planning before we had children. We had the freedom to be spontaneous, and would often go from place to place until the wee hours of the morning. Dinner would be casual, since we did it so often. We also spent a lot of time enjoying live music, dancing, and um... sipping on many, many cocktails.
What kind of dates do you go on now that you have kids?
What is this "date" thing you speak of?
I was under the impression that once you got married and had kids, you were no longer allowed on dates. That's what I was told. They made me sign a piece of paper and everything.
Okay, in the rare event that we go out without the kids, we keep it pretty basic. We usually stay pretty close to home, and limit ourselves to just a few hours since we're paying a babysitter... and we are likely sleepy by 10 pm anyway.
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Who is more spontaneous in your relationship?
My husband... in a "I just thought of something fun we could do, now let's over plan it as quickly as possible before we do it" sort of way.
Have you had a date that occurred out of spontaneity?
Before marriage, a lot of our dates were spontaneous. I don't remember much of the details because it seems like a past life, and my brain cells are dying from lack of sleep. Did I mention we have a new baby?
Do you have planned date nights?
We used to. Dinner and a movie sounds so cliché... but after you have kids, eating grown-up food at a grown-up place, and then sitting in a dark theatre eating the stuff you tell your kids not to... it's fantastic.
When you finally get a great date planned, how do you find a babysitter?
We secure the babysitter first, then plan. We had only one person that we trusted with our son. She was a friend of a friend, and spent time with us at the park on many occasions before we used her as a sitter. Now that we have moved to a new area, we are sitter-less for the time being.
Do you and your husband take Valentine's Day seriously? How do you celebrate?
We usually forget, until the last minute. Then I'm the one who pretends to take it seriously, so he feels the pressure to fawn over me. Plus, any reason to not cook and be taken out to dinner is a good one. Soon I'll be pretending to take Columbus Day just as seriously.
Blogger Jenni Chiu lives in Orange County, California with her husband and two sons. Her blog, MommyNaniBooboo.com, is the space where, according to Chiu, "I pour my heart out, speak universal truths, hug the world, scrape myself raw, entertain, and answer life's big questions by asking more questions. I throw in some pee and poop talk every now and then, since I'm elbow deep in that stuff right now." You can also find Chiu on Twitter and Facebook.
Get more date night stories in the Care.com Interview Series: The Best Date I've Ever Had »
Photo used with permission from Jenni Chiu.