Date night takes on a whole new meaning with kids on the scene.
Gone are the days of impromptu happy hours and last-minute dinner decisions. Now, date night needs to be planned weeks in advance, and even then, it’s always a rush out the door.
And although we are refraining from date nights in the current stay at home orders around the world, I know that they will still follow this timeline when they return. Pandemics do not change the chaos and planning of date night for parents!
A Mom’s Timeline
4:00 PM: The sitter is set to arrive in one hour. Where are we going for dinner? What am I going to wear? Does my daughter have clean pajamas? The questions are endless as I try to get everything ready to leave mom life behind for five solid, blissful hours.
4:05 PM: The aforementioned daughter decides to play in the mud. Not just a little bit but all the way up to her elbows. Which means she needs a bath. Now. Because I still need to layer make-up onto my face and see if any of my nice clothes still fit.
4:12 PM: The child is splashing in the bathtub, and I find out that she does have clean pajamas readily available (Hooray!). I use this tub time to pluck my eyebrows and ask my husband if he still wants to see the movie that he suggested earlier. All is going swimmingly.
4:24 PM: The tub is draining, and I wrestle a naked, slippery kid out of the lukewarm water. I win and wrap her in a hooded towel. We head for her bedroom, and I notice that my husband is sitting behind his computer. Making reservations? Paying bills? Who knows? I don’t have time to ask him. Once I get my daughter dressed and comb out all of the knots, I am visibly sweating from physical activity and stress. I leave her room and tell the husband that he is in charge of the kiddo now.
4:30 PM: I run downstairs to preheat the oven for the frozen pizza that I plan on leaving for dinner. While in the kitchen, I grab a cold beer and head back upstairs to my bathroom to try to fix up my tired-looking self.
4:38 PM: I stand in my closet and discover that I have nothing to wear. I have the sudden urge to run down the hallway to my best friend’s closet to borrow something – but then I remember that we haven’t lived together for ten years! I text her and drink a few swigs of beer. I think about how much my Saturday nights have changed. I used to get ready to leave the house at 10:00 PM, and now I am hoping to be home by that time because 1) babysitters are ridiculously expensive and 2) I need to go to sleep.
4:50 PM: I put on makeup, including eyeliner, and I manage to find something presentable to wear. I am on my way to a hair toss, check my nails, real-life Lizzo moment. That is until my daughter crashes my party and says…
“You look like a lost mom.”
A lost mom? How can that be? I am wearing a black tank top, an open cardigan, skinny jeans, and sensible shoes.
So, maybe she has a point. But it is too late! Date night is imminent. Besides, this is my only option. Everything else is too tight or too baggy. I throw the frozen pizza in the oven, set the timer, and hope for the best.
4:52 PM: The husband goes upstairs to get ready. He emerges with a clean, button-down shirt. He is ready. 😑
4:58 PM: The doorbell rings. I finish my beer and quickly throw the empty bottle into the recycling bin. My daughter is so excited that she is jumping up and down as I open the front door. I go over the list with the sitter and remind her to turn off the oven when the pizza is done.
5:03 PM: I exit the house and plop into the passenger seat of my husband’s gray sedan. I haven’t been inside his car since our last date night, and I immediately notice the clean, crumb-free floors. I usually drive the family car, the one with car seat and all of the food wrappers, so this is a welcome change. I feel less like a lost mom and more like myself.