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No Time for Date Night? Try Date Day

Categories: Making Time, The Juggle


couple-heart.jpgOn a recent national holiday, as I was scrambling to figure out how I was going to juggle work and childcare, I realized that I didn’t actually have to drive in to the office that day and, for some reason, my kids’ daycare was actually open.

My husband didn’t have to drive in to the office, either. But he’s so used to having to catch up on work from home, and I’m so used to having a big bunch of freelance irons in the fire, that it took us a while to see the potential in the situation: Work (optional) + daycare (open) = pre-paid childcare and time to ourselves. Alone.

He did the math more quickly than I did; when he asked me if I wanted to go to the movies after I dropped the wee ones off, I almost told him that I had been planning to work from home that day and wouldn’t have time. Sad, isn’t it?

When you and your partner are both working and juggling all the time, its easy to let your relationship simmer along on the back burner. When we first started dating and everything was new and shiny and the angels sang each and every time we gazed at each other over the candle-lit dinner table, we were sure that we’d always make time for Date Night. It was easy then; even though we already had kids (from his first marriage), when they were with their mom, our time was ours to divide between work and play as we saw fit.

As life got more hectic and we got married and added our fourth child to the family, Date Night was still a regular thing, it was just rarely outside of the house. My husband worked nights, I worked days, Friday and Saturday nights were the only times that we both had off, so making time to be together was a priority. We’d tuck everyone into bed, turn up the baby monitors, turn down the lights, crack open the wine, pop in a movie, et voila – Date Night.

Then our schedules shifted again. The end of maternity leave with child number five coincided with my husband taking a job on the day side. Money got even tighter once we had to pay for childcare (before, the kids were with my husband while I was at work, and vice versa). I took on more freelance assignments. His new job required him to do so much that he often brought work home with him. The office hooked him up with a BlackBerry, and suddenly he was double fisting the workload, laptop on the table, infernal CrackBerry by his side.

More and more often, Date Night morphed into Both-of-Us-Working-in-the-Same-Room-with-the-TV-On-Night. And, after a while, we weren’t even in the same room.


So, when he asked me if I wanted to go to the movies that day, my first thought was, “But I have so much work to do!” (Thank goodness, I had already had some coffee, and my second thought followed quickly: “A date! Say yes!”)

I said, “Yes.” We caught a movie, and rediscovered how cheap a matinee can be. We drove past a new restaurant and stopped and had lunch and rediscovered that we actually had more to talk about than work. We got home and rediscovered how quiet the house is when the kids are all at school.

By the time we picked the kids up late that afternoon, we had rediscovered the importance of “Date” — and that the “Night” part was optional.

How do you stay connected?

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7 comments so far...

  • It’s great the way you were able to seize an unexpected opportunity and make it work. :-)

    My husband and I are like you and yours were in the early years - we get our time together when his kids are with their mom, and that makes it much easier to manage. And we don’t plan to expand the family with any more children, so this will probably keep working for us.

    Florinda  |  April 7th, 2008 at 11:54 am

  • We used to do this when we had a nanny who liked to make some extra $$ by working on certain national holidays. She would come in for 1/2 day and hubby and I would catch a movie and have lunch out. Now that our daughter is in daycare and it’s closed on all holidays, we don’t get to do that — but once in a while my parents will take her for a few hours on a weekend day and we do our day date then:) Personally, I even prefer them to night dates sometimes — I am less tired!

    Nataly  |  April 7th, 2008 at 12:41 pm

  • hehe my hubby litterally works less than 5 miles from our house and normally i work about an hour away. so on the days that i work from home - i pick him up and we go out for lunch! together! alone! it is FANTASTIC!!! those work from home days need to happen more often…

    Kate  |  April 7th, 2008 at 12:46 pm

  • Alas, date night alone is a rare thing for us these days. We might get out for dinner alone once a month if we’re lucky. We sometimes watch a movie alone in the evenings when Little Chickie is in bed. We are definitely not as connected. You and Nataly have both lamented the evening phenomenon of you working alone in one room and your SO working alone in another room. It’s gotten a bit like that at our house, which I find sad. Your post is inspiring me to work on it…the question is how to find time??

    Diane  |  April 7th, 2008 at 1:07 pm

  • I love this! DH and I get to have lunch alone occasionally (and I’ll admit that we went to BK last week because we could and it was fast). He works from home one day a week right now and we have a sitter that day so I can work, too, so there are times we just take advantage of this and get out. It’s so great to have that reconnect time, no matter how short. By the time night roles around it’s too late/I’m too beat/there are chores or more work to do. Here’s to daytime dates!!

    Mandy  |  April 7th, 2008 at 2:10 pm

  • Florinda: I’m actually amazed that it hadn’t occurred to either of us to try Date Day years ago!

    Nataly: Less tired is *definitely* another benefit to Date Days… sometimes, just the idea of going out anywhere after working, freelancing, housework, and kid duty is too much to contemplate.

    Kate: What a great set-up! I hope you have a chance to work from home sometime soon!

    Diane: In my case, I had to really decide to make time. Like I wrote, my first reaction was, “Can’t go out, must work.” I’m glad you feel inspired to try, though!

    Mandy: Thank you! You’re right, no matter how short, that reconnection time makes a big difference.

    Lylah  |  April 8th, 2008 at 7:30 pm

  • I work full-time, part-time and have 3 kids. The wonderful man I share my life with has 2 kids as well. Date night? Well, let’s just say we make it a point to be together every Friday night. Sometimes that means we drive together to drop the kids’ off, or we cook together, or yes, play the Wii with the kids. But we eventually have time to ourselves — and we treasure it! And we do sneak in Saturday night dates (NO KIDS) from time to time as well!

    BlapherMJ  |  April 9th, 2008 at 9:35 am