Surviving Marriage without Date Nights


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.  


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