posted in Life
Last week was date night, so my husband and I had a romantic night in which we gazed deeply into each other’s eyes, our hearts practically beating as one, and it felt just like falling in love all over again.
Just kidding. We went to Target, and I walked the aisles alone while he pooped.
It sounds like the set-up to a joke, but this was too real. Of all the adjustments I’ve had to make during post-baby life, Date Night has been one of the most difficult.
I almost can’t believe there was once a time when my husband and I, if we felt the need to reconnect or spend time together as a couple, we could do just that — dinner by candlelight, a night at the movies, a weekend getaway in which we never leave the hotel room. It was so easy. Now we compartmentalize love, wedge it into our Friday nights like just another appointment on the shared family calendar.
It’s not just that the logistics of Date Night are difficult, although they do pose a challenge. My husband and I have no family in our area, and we don’t have a regular babysitter. It’s also hard to justify the expense of hiring child care on top of the expense of going out. So the light and easy bliss of Date Night is already a burden.
But here’s the real issue: Date Night is too much pressure.
It’s like prom night or a bachelorette party, an event hyped to the point where it has reached epic status — anything less than, and it feels like a failure somehow. Plus on top of expectations running high, all of this is happening on the clock, usually while paying a babysitter and wondering if your child is behaving/eating/sleeping/breathing.
Date Night means squeezing a love life into a 3-hour window in which you’re shouting at the waiter for the check so you can have 5 minutes to make out in the car before driving home and handing over all your cash to a teenager.
Besides, my husband and I always end up talking about our kid the entire night anyway.
Last time we went out, I established a rule that we could talk about anything in the universe — politics, music, astrophysics, whatever — as long as we didn’t talk about our son.
“Every other moment of every day is focused on our child,” I reasoned. “Let us have this dinner as two adult people who exist in the world and can discuss things beyond our household.”
We lasted 10 minutes.
So we’ve given it a fair shot. My husband and I have done regular date nights for the past several months, because I thought these outings were essential to the care and cultivation of our relationship, but each one has ended up grimmer than the last. And now this, aimlessly wandering Target and purchasing a box of blue hair dye, (even though I’m pretty sure it’s going to look terrible with my complexion).
The truth is that our relationship thrives, and our nights are better when we just stay home.
That’s why next month we’re going to stay in. Maybe he’ll even help me dye my hair blue. It’s not a Date Night, and it’s not epic, but it’s ours.
Do you hate date night too?
BABY CARE UPDATE: