Mixed reviews on date-night

Before we were childed I would have been all about, "parents need to care for themselves first," and "keep the romance alive." I'm not against those ideas but I think the whole idea is just a little bit off. I don't really know what having a 7 year old or a 10 year old is like but I think these statements might be a little bit more directed toward their parents rather than us.

Babysitters are hard to find. When you are a twenty-something or a thirty-something with a child you don't really know very many teenagers or college students. My current job allows for a pool of babysitters but that is just luck and I am just now getting comfortable with students to ask. The fact of the matter is that finding babysitters is hard. Our community is other parents or childless partnered or single people. Parents might be into the idea of a babysitting co-op but that only works if your child sleeps well in another person's home or you go out during the day. Frankly, romantic dinners just aren't that romantic at 3:00 in the afternoon on your only day off and besides, being out during the day just means you run into people with kids and then you think, "why didn't we bring our kid." And our childless couples and single friends? Giving you a friday night off is only a good idea if they are trying to figure out if they are ready to have a child or if the person they are dating has any parenting skills.

The reality of the babysitter is also that the emotionally easiest way to go out is to leave your kid with someone they like. If you leave them with someone they don't know (we did this last sunday) she just might scream her head off for 30 minutes at the beginning and an hour at bedtime. Then you just feel bad for leaving your kid and your babysitter in such a charged state. If you don't like that option it means you have to go out regularly to get them to have a good relationship with an adult. But okay, lets pretend we find a good 20 year old babysitter who is competent at babysitting a baby and can handle meltdowns and bedtime and all that jazz and the child knows this person so relative calm is possible. You still have to pay them. So this means that your date just got way expensive.

The real kicker of all of this is that staying out late is like self-mutilation for parents. Seriously, just cut your fingernails too short and everytime you use your fingers think of this because for the next week you will be reminded of having stayed out too late. Just because we are out until midnight, heck 10 is more like it, your child is not going to sleep in and let you have breakfast in bed or wake up with that "I slept too much bone ache." Your little person will be up bright and early at 5:30 ready for a rousing game of pots and pans; night of too little sleep that will take days to recover from.

So I like going out on dates with S. I like saving money for our adventures and doing special things. I love it when we suprise ourselves with a trip to the hottubs or go to a perfect dinner. But I think it might be overrated. I think the unspoken delight and joy of "dating with a baby" is figuring out how to make evenings at home restful and wonderful. How to light candles, make a cocktail and dance in the living room...how to play a board game, take a bath, and read some poetry to each other, how to take a shower together, dry each other off and . . .

For us, at this point in our childness, the latter is the more sustainable option.


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