Surviving Marriage without Date Nights

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My dad managed our local movie theater when I was a kid – movies were a big part of my life then and they still hold a special place in my heart.  As cliche as it may be, my perfect date night is dinner and a movie.  With four wonderful children, however, date nights are few and far between.

The price of a date night grows exponentially when you factor in childcare for multiple children.  When I asked local moms how much they paid for “date night” sitters the range was from $10-15/hour per child – and even if I cut dinner out of our plans we’d need a solid 3+ hours of baby sitting to see a movie which could run me over $100 for babysitting services alone.  Who can afford that?!

So, how do we survive marriage without date nights?

UNPLUG

My husband is a gamer and I am a social media addict.  For a while we were in a rut where we would sit on our opposite couches with something random on the television, each pressing keys on our laptops until it was time for bed.  Now, we limit our computer time to about an hour.  It’s not a firm limit for us because as a self-employed entrepreneur and stay-at-home mom, sometimes I HAVE to be on the computer to get work done or meet a deadline… but we do our very best to work smarter, and stick to our limits.

PLUG IN

Every single night after unplugging from our computers we watch TV together.  We are Netflix lovers – so we are typically binge-watching a series, but sometimes we throw in a movie from Netflix or the Redbox.  I will admit that the shows we watch now are mostly up his alley – but over the course of our marriage I have learned to love a lot of “his” shows.  Right now we’re in the middle of Gotham and recently caught up on Arrow and The Flash.  I already have our next series picked out: Fuller House (yup, that’s one of my picks)!   Having a show we both look forward to and enjoy not only gives us something to look forward to each night, but it gives us something different to talk about too.

BE HONEST

If you are at a point where you need a break – whether that means a solo trip to the grocery store or someone else cooking dinner – be honest with yourself and your husband.  My husband and I don’t get date nights, but we do allow each other to take a break when it’s needed.  It’s important to remember that you can not take care of others if you are not taking care of yourself.

SWAP-A-SITTER

Another great idea is to find another family in the same boat that you are and set up a sitter swap.  Maybe once a month or every other week… come up with a plan that works for both of you and alternate watching all the kids so that each couple gets some alone time to watch a movie or take a nap!

 

I’d love to hear the ways that your marriage thrives without traditional date nights – or even the ways in which you keep the spark alive between date nights.  

 

Top 40 Questions to Ask Daycare, Preschool or Private School

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[huge_it_share]Finding the right day care, preschool or private school setting for you and your child can be a challenge – especially if you are in a new area or completing a search for the first time.  I researched and listened to recommendations of local moms, to compile this list of questions to ask your child’s prospective school choices. Before you visit the school, read through the questions and think about which are most important to you and what answers you’d like to hear. That will help to give you a starting point to narrow down your search and zero in on the school that is the best fit for your family.

Top 40 Questions to Ask Day Care, Preschool and Private School

Curriculum

  • Do they follow a specific educational philosophy?
  • Do they have a curriculum?
  • Is there a schedule?
  • What will the children learn?
  • How do they account for different learning styles/flexibility for children with special needs?
  • Do they incorporate music, art, and/or foreign language into their curriculum?
  • Will the children get recess/physical activity time to develop gross & fine motor skills?

Classroom Policies

  • Do children nap regularly?
  • How do they handle discipline?
  • Is potty-training required and if not: how do they handle potty training?
  • What are the illness policies?

Teachers/Staff

  • How many kids are in a class or session?
  • What is the teacher to student ratio?
  • What is the educational background and experience of the teachers and staff?
  • What is the turnover rate with your teachers?
  • Are teachers and staff certified in CPR and/or First Aid?
  • Are all staff background checked?

Meals/Snacks

  • Are meals and snacks provided?
  • Can they accommodate kids with special diets/allergies?
  • Can children bring their own meals?

Extracurricular

  • Do they offer field trips?
  • Do they invite community organizations/guest speakers into the classroom?
  • Do they offer any parent workshops?
  • Are there family-friendly special events hosted throughout the year?

Transportation

  • Do they provide transportation?
  • Do they offer field trips, and if so, how is transportation handled (consider the need for car seats)?

Parent Involvement

  • Can parents come into the classroom?
  • Are parents expected to help in class, and how often?
  • Are parents expected to take on “roles” for the school like fundraising/cleaning crew/etc.
  • Are there committees or board meetings you may attend and/or consider joining?

Communication

  • What forms of communication do they utilize?
  • How will parents be notified of problems/concerns?
  • Will there be opportunities for parent/teacher conferences?
  • Is there a newsletter sent periodically from the school? or the classroom?

Financial Needs

  • Are scholarships available for those who cannot afford full tuition?
  • Does the school offer part-time rates for those who do not need full-time care?

Security

  • How many entrance/exit points are there?
  • How are exits secured and monitored?
  • Is the playground fenced?
  • What additional security measures are in place?
  • Will the school provide references?

There is a lot you can learn from speaking to parents with students currently at the school. If you are able to do so, you will want to have some different questions ready to ask seasoned parents. Consider asking:

  • What do you like the least and the most about the program?
  • How is communication is handled?
  • How does your child like the school?

Remember that “the only stupid question is the one that isn’t asked.” Ask anything and everything you can think of with confidence, knowing what an important decision this is for you and your child. Tour the schools you are most interested in and pay special attention to how you and your child feel during the tour. Knowing what questions to ask is comforting and empowering as you make your decision, but the information you obtain from listening to your own instincts and observing your child should be key to your final decision.

 

Do you have any questions you like to ask that I missed?  Share them with me in the comments!

I Was Nominated for a Liebster Award!

[huge_it_share]After only 2 blog posts, I have received a lot of positive feedback and met so many wonderful mommy bloggers through social media.  Earlier in the week I was even nominated for a Liebster Award by Erica at The Big Red Patch House.  The Liebster Award recognizes newer blogs, showing them appreciation and encouragement, while helping them network with other bloggers.  It’s a fantastic way to get to know other writers, and learn a little bit about yourself as well.  I am truly honored to have been nominated and have accepted the Liebster Award!

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There are some rules associated with the award and they are as follows:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Share the award on your blog and social media channels.
  • Answer the questions given to you when nominated.
  • Nominate 10 other new(ish) bloggers that you admire.
  • Notify your nominees via social media
  • This LINK offers further explanation about the award and it’s benefits.

The questions I was asked are:

  1. When you were young, what did you want to grow up to be?  I was always told I would be a lawyer – because I was opinionated and enjoyed arguing the less favorable side of an argument.  For a long time that is what I believed I wanted to be.
  2. How do you feel your vision for life has changed since then?  I have had so many experiences that have shaped who I am and what I enjoy.  I have been constantly fine tuning what I want to be when I grow up… right now I am a wife and mom (among other things) and those are what matter most to me.    
  3. What is your blog’s mission and vision?  Blogging is something that I enjoy doing as a way to self-reflect and grow through the interaction with other like-minded people.  I hope to establish a strong network of support through my blog.
  4. If you could choose one charitable cause to donate $1 million to, which would it be?  This is a tough one for me because my family has been effected by cancers, developmental delays, economic hardship, mental illness, addictions, rare genetic conditions, and more.  All are causes that I believe deserve funding and attention.  I would probably choose the United Way because they serve so many different worthy causes – is that cheating?
  5. When you’re in a slump, how do you get yourself out?  A “squeeze hug” from one of my children always does the trick!
  6. What advice would you give someone else who was having a difficult time in life?  One of my favorite quotes that helped me get through some of my difficult times is: “It’s all okay in the end.  If it is not okay, then it’s not the end.”  It always reminded me that there is hope and you just need to make the most of what you have to work with now, and have faith that things will work out
  7. Where do you see in yourself in 5 years?  In 5 years my youngest will be in Kindergarten!  It’ll be the first time in 12 years that I will not have a child home with me all day, and the last year before I am the mom to a teenager (a phase that will last 13 years in my house)!  I imagine that I will be considering going back to work full time or possibly continuing my education.
  8. Where do you see your blog in 5 years?  I hope that my blog will have grown (obviously).  Since I have just started, I do not have a lot of insight into how my style and focus may change as I work out the initial kinks of a new venture, and I am still learning about all the possibilities that come with blogging.  I’d definitely like to be monetizing in some way to supplement our income – if you are going to do what you love, it’d be nice to get paid, right?  
  9. What would you do differently if you could start your blog all over again?  Nothing yet!  I am in love with my domain, branding, logo… I am sure there will be hiccups as I get going, and I hope I will be able to learn and adapt easily to make my blog everything I hope it will be!  
  10. What advice would you give a brand new blogger?  Get involved with social media!  Join groups and talk to other bloggers.  The support from other people who are embarking on the same journey that you are is invaluable.  

I would like to nominate the following blogs, and I hope they enjoy this opportunity as much as I have:

  1. Ann Rebecca: Be Brave, My Heart. Have Courage, My Soul.
  2. The Preserves Project: Celebrating the Sweetness in Life
  3. 14 Mile Farm: Handweaving an Homesteading in Alaska
  4. I am Obsessed!  #Fangirling
  5. From Designer to Diapers
  6. Full of Grace and Greens: Blogging about Motherhood and Life One Crazy Day at a Time
  7. JKLMN Homeschool Adventures
  8. Blue Eyed Babies
  9. Lindwine Bernard
  10. Mama Ain’t Raisin’ No Fools: Former Lawyer. Current Mother.  Trying not to raise fools.

All of my nominees should answer these questions:

  1. What inspired you to start blogging?
  2. How did you name your blog?
  3. Where and when do you blog?
  4. What is your biggest pet peeve?
  5. Where did you grow up, and where do you currently live?
  6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
  7. If you could have any one superpower, what would it be?
  8. What actor/actress would play you in a movie about your life?
  9. What is your favorite social media platform and why?
  10. What advice would you give a brand new blogger?

Thanks again to The Big Red Patch House for nominating me!  This was definitely a fun activity, I loved familiarizing myself with so many other “new” blogs!

The Importance of Dating Your Kids

I value the importance of making time to date my husband, but being in a new city without the natural supports of friends and family, it was not possible for us to have a kid-free date night.  We were lucky to enjoy the day with our children, decorating heart shaped cookies and giving lots of squeeze hugs, followed by our version of date-night which included catching up on The Flash through Netflix and snacking on Little Debbie Valentine Cakes.

Valentine’s Day really got me thinking about the concept of “dating” not only my husband, but my children as well!  Growing up I have fond memories of my Father celebrating “Meghan & Ashley Day” with my sister and I, and I want to leave my children with similar memories, and honor my late father by continuing his tradition.  With 4 kids, it’s rare that anyone gets time away from their siblings in our house, so we rotate through 1:1 “dates” with each of the kids (sometimes with mom, sometimes with dad).

When we think of dates, many of us picture dressing fancy for a nice dinner, which can be fun and special, but dates with your kids can truly be as fancy or casual as you’d like!  Often times our kids place a huge value on some of the simple things we often take for granted, which can make for pretty amazing memories!

  1. Grocery shopping.  Many grocery stores can be a mini-day trip with your child, too!  Grab a bite to eat in the cafe, then get your shopping list out and let your child help you find all the items, check them off the list, and maybe even make a couple impromptu purchases!
  2. Get the car washed.  Kids love going through the car wash!  Head in and pick up some snacks before you embark on your soapy journey – make sure your windows are up!
  3. Dollar Store.  There is something about knowing you can get ANYTHING you see – go on a little shopping spree with your kiddo.  Set a budget of course, but remember that even one dollar will be fun!
  4. Bowling. Bowling can be a great activity for kids of (almost) all ages.  Many alleys have bumpers and ramps to allow kids as young as toddler-aged kids to have fun bowling.
  5. Museum/Indoor Play Center.  Spend a day at the local children’s museum, art gallery, science/history museums, or one of the area’s Indoor Play Centers.  Let your date call all the shots about where to go, then allow yourself to let loose and make memories with your kiddo!
  6. Zoo.  It’s open year round – so whether its snowy or sunny there will be animals to see and memories to make!
  7. Library/bookstore.  Read a book together on site, or choose a book to bring home.
  8. Picnic.  Whether you pack your picnic as a part of a larger excursion, or as the highlight of the date, picnics are fun for kids, and can keep costs low by avoiding pricey restaurants if you’re on a budget!
  9. Sledding.  Pack a thermos of hot cocoa, bundle up and hit a hill!   (Might take a little more planning if you’re near Phoenix like me, but apparently it’s not a terrible drive up to Flagstaff, AZ where they get plenty of snow!)
  10. Live Theater. Seek out a family-friendly show from a local live performance theater or one of the local middle/high schools!
  11. Sporting Event: Whether it’s high school, collegiate, semi-pro, or pro – cheer on your favorite teams or explore a new sport!
  12. Home “Alone.”  Sometimes we send one parent out with all but one of the kids – allowing “date night” to happen right at home.  Get a snack and play a board game, make a craft, or read a book together.
  13. Restaurant.  Going out to eat can be a lot of fun, whether it’s a fancy restaurant, dessert only, or fast food.  Check your area for local kids meal deals too, and save money on your date night!
  14. Special Events. Last (but definitely not least!) check the local libraries, malls, and community centers for special events going on – storytimes, make-and-takes, and other special events will all make perfect dates with your kids!

I’d like to leave you with a little reminder that it’s not about the MONEY you spend, but the TIME you spend together.  <3

“Sometimes the most ordinary things could be made extraordinary, simply by doing them with your children!”

Share in the comments below: What is YOUR favorite kid-friendly date?

Fearlessly Creative Mammas

Hello world!

Hi! I’m Meg.

I was born and raised in Rochester, NY and spent time in Buffalo, NY (Go Bills!) and Washington, D.C before relocating to Phoenix, AZ where I now live with my husband and four daughters.  I recently made a career change and became a stay at home mom – by far the most rewarding career change so far!

I’ve noticed that, EveryMomDay follows a similar pattern:

  • Coffee ~ I start my day with a little “me time.”  I always try to wake up before the rest of the household so that I can really enjoy a cup of my favorite coffee.  I use the time to reflect on issues that matter most to me, which occasionally change, but are often related to my views on parenting, and entrepreneurship.
  • Crayons ~ Once the kids are up we spend most of the day playing/learning (the same thing!) through crafts, recipes, outings and more.
  • Chardonnay ~ After bedtime, my husband and I have made it a habit to spend time together.  I enjoy a glass of wine, while he enjoys a craft beer.  We enjoy binge-watching Netflix, debating hot topics, fantasy-football, and being weird!

I look forward to sharing some of these aspects of my life with you through this blog, and social media.  I hope that we will laugh, learn, relate, and grow together!

Don’t forget to like/follow me on Facebook & Twitter!  (Instagram & more social media links COMING SOON!) 

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I am busy at work getting myself all situated and ready to go…Stay tuned for mom-a-licious content coming soon!