Dating pre-marriage and pre-kids (particularly “pre-kids”) dating was easy, you could do things at the drop of a hat without much planning involved. Now that I have two cutie rugrats at my feet, keeping track of all our family stuff can get busy and planning date nights can get hard… sometimes I just don’t have the time or energy to think of something awesome or amazing to do. Other times, it seems foolish to spend so much time planning, when there are so many other things to get done in a day – plus the extra work of finding someone to watch the kiddo’s. Other times, I feel guilty. I am a working parent so knowing that I am going to spend more time out of my day away from my kids can make me feel like I’m not giving them enough of my time.
I would say that my husband and I go in spurts – we’ll do lots of events and date night things in a row and then we’ll get overwhelmed with all of the extras on our calendar and pull things back a bit – taking a month or so off.
Today I want to share some of my favorite date ideas – hopefully to provide inspiration to others out there, who like me, have a love-hate relationship with planning date nights!
1. More than dinner. Yes, we all do the dinner thing. I like to do more than dinner – an interactive dinner is always fun – whether it’s fondue at Melting Pot or trying out the new restaurant cinema on our side of town or even going to dinner and then hitting another place for drinks afterwards. It’s nice to do something more than grab a meal out. When I was younger, we used to do a lot of dinners at the local dinner theatre where you got to eat a meal and watch a show. I think this could be another great date night idea.
2. Use a groupon. Sometimes I buy ‘too many’ groupons and then get overwhelmed trying to use them all before they expire. There are often cute date ideas for activites that come through these channels. I’ve seen ziplining adventures, winetasting tours, haunted houses, etc. Those sound like great dates. I love active dates where you have a couple great memories to take away!
3. Try an activity. Do something you like, but go and don’t take the kids. I’ve been wanting to hit up the whitewater center and try the ropes course and our kiddos are too little for this. So, we are hoping to do a date this Spring and try it out with just the two of us. My husband loves football, so when we were first married, sometimes I would suggest a date at Buffalo Wild Wings to spend time watching his team (the terrible Ravens) and eat wings – something I knew he would love to do. Take turns finding things you both like.
4. Plan a surprise. Whether it’s trying out a new restaurant or scalping tickets to a sporting event you know your parter will love, it’s always fun to plan a surprise date. The “be ready by 6pm tonight, we’re doing something fun” text or note is always a great way to start a date night. I’ve always wanted to take a hot air balloon ride and while this is a crazy and out-there idea, it would be a great surprise night. Other fun ideas – a comedy club show, a concert, a “voucher” to go out and buy the new pair of boots you’ve been wanting – shopping together! It doesn’t have to be anything over the top, but when my husband makes the plan and then gets the babysitter lined up, I always appreciate it, no matter what we do together. (sidenote: the day we got engaged, my husband surprised me and blindfolded me for a TWO HOUR ride (yes, blindfolded the whole way) to visit the Biltmore Estate – something I’d said I wanted to do for several years… what a fun date day together!)
5. Invite friends. While it’s great to do things as a twosome, sometimes inviting your favorite couple friend to tag along makes the night great. Guys can talk sports and girls can talk gossip and you can both enjoy the time together. While my husband and I both love our time to crack up and joke around together, sometimes the addition of the extra couple makes everything more humorous and lively for the night.
So there you have it… some of my favorite date ideas. Since my husband reads my blogs, I am hoping he takes to heart Idea #4, and has something up his sleeve for a surprise date night soon!