Date night sounds great in theory. (Theory being the operative word here.)
Parenting Sex and Relationships SPM/MM

The Reality of Date Night: Going Out Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

Date night sounds great in theory. (Theory being the operative word here.)

By Deanna of Deanna Said So

Fewer things bring joy and excitement to parents than those two little words: Date Night.

Date Night is a time that allows us to reconnect, decompress and spend time reflecting on the little things that brought us together before we lost sight of our identity as a couple while drowning in a sea of orphaned socks, scattered toys, and rejected vegetables at dinnertime. But oh, Date Night, how you deceive us all. Just as with all other promises that come with being an adult, a Date Night out isn’t quite the romanticized vision of perfection that we all desperately hope it will be.

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Sharing a Bathroom to Get Ready

Sharing a bathroom to get ready for Date Night is about as effective as trying to give a cat a bath in a waterfall… during a snowstorm. No matter how strategic you are about this, it will always be a mess.

Someone will invariably have to use the bathroom while you’re putting on mascara. There will be a mysterious puddle of water on the floor that no one put there, and you will find it – with your socks. Using the hair dryer and keeping the door closed to keep the kids out will invariably cause you to break into a horrifying sweat, effectively melting your makeup before you ever fully get it on. Let’s not even discuss the hair frizz. By the time you’re “ready” to go out, you’ve spewed more curse words than your grandmother heard in her entire life, have thrown a couple things, and are just glad to be out of that hot box of a room and are looking forward to getting away for the night.

Leaving the House

If you ever questioned just how badly your kids need you, trying to leave them for a few hours to go out will solidify for all of eternity just how deep their need for you goes.

The wailing that ensues when you start out the door is the kind that you’re positive will elicit the neighbors calling the police for fear that your children are surely being beaten. Fifteen minutes of reassurance that you absolutely will return and countless promises of candy and trips to the toy store in exchange for good behavior later, you finally make it out the door. With a sigh of relief, you shut the door and exchange a smile with the love of your life: You’re free.

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“Where Do You Want To Eat?”

No other phrase in the English language can bring greater turmoil than those seemingly harmless six words. This is a can’t win scenario.

If you say you don’t care, it’s wrong. If you name somewhere that your significant other doesn’t want to eat, it’s wrong. If you name somewhere that your significant other wants to eat, you clearly chose it only because you knew it is what your love would choose, which means (you guessed it), it’s wrong.

This question is always going to happen, and it’s always going to make you question if this is even real life, because it’s so asinine, and yet you can’t seem to avoid the trap. Even pre-planning where you are going usually backfires with one person asking, “Do you still want to go to Panda Garden, or did you have something else in mind?” That’s usually followed with, “I’m not really set on it (Wait for it…). Where do you want to eat?”

The wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round.

Oh, Social Media

Every Date Night starts out with the same vow: “No Social Media. No texts. No phone calls. We are just going to spend time focusing on each other.” This always lasts a grand total of about ten seconds.

Someone’s phone is going to notify. You’ll exchange glances and pretend that didn’t just happen. Thirty-five seconds later, a second notification will come through. The person whose phone is currently silent will say it: “We agreed….” And the person who has somehow already broken the rule without actually breaking the rule will just nod in agreement. Two minutes later, the other person’s phone will notify, which will also be ignored. This will go on repeatedly until you reach the restaurant, and an olive branch will be extended: you will only check the current notifications while you wait on a table, and then back to Uninterrupted Date Night.

But you both know that totally won’t happen, and when you actually are off your phones and talking, it’s probably going to be about what that crazy chick posted yesterday or that adorable new video with cats that you absolutely have to show each other.  And with that, you decide: so much for the no social media rule. It was dumb anyway.

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Early To Bed

Once you’ve finished your dinner, made fun of bad Vines, and have helped beat each other’s current Candy Crush level, you are ready to head out for your night on the town. You get in the car, let out a big sigh, and promptly agree: you’re exhausted.

Sure, thirty is the new twenty, and forty is the new thirty, but seriously, who has the energy to be that young anymore?

On the ride home, you chat about how expensive dinner was, how it wasn’t really that great, and how it may have given you heartburn. You’re fairly certain that your homemade side dishes and your partner’s grilled steaks are a thousand times better and cost half the price. Together, you decide that the next Date Night, you’ll just send the kids out instead. Then you can skip the restaurant entirely, watch an episode or two on Netflix, and spend the rest of evening on the front porch drinking wine and playing on social media together – in your pajamas.

After all, spending quality time together is what Date Night really all about, anyway.

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About the Author

​Deanna is a wife, mom, mini-farmer, habitual crafter, and chronic rambler. ​You can read more of her work at her new blog, Deanna Said So