Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

When’s Your Favorite Time for a Date?

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I didn’t really make New Year’s resolutions this year, but I did casually set some personal and lifestyle goals for 2016…

including spending more quality one-in-one time with Drew. Last year was such a busy, roller-coaster year, with my pregnancy (and some health issues related to it), Joanie’s birth, getting Jackson adjusted to big-kid school and his new sibling, and then the sudden death of Drew’s dad. As a result, Drew and I didn’t have as many dates together as we have had in years past (and, of course, since we became parents, the number of dates we go one was already pretty limited). This year, I hoped we could carve out time to get out together every three weeks or so, with an effort to switch things up from our usual dinner-and-drinks-in-the-neighborhood routine.

So far, two months into the year, we’re doing great with this goal. February, especially, has been a record month for both quantity of dates as well as variety. We’ve had, like, five or six dates, thanks, in part to our trip to Miami a couple weeks ago where we shared a condo with my parents who were nice enough to babysit a few nights while we were there. And I really enjoyed the date we had this past Saturday night because it started so early (the sitter came at 5 so we could grab dinner in Manhattan before the 7:30 start time) β€” which meant that not only did we get a break from the tedious bedtime routine, but we also had no problem scoring dinner reservations, and we were home early enough (9:45) that we could enjoy a little down time before passing out in sheer exhaustion.

We’ve experimented with different start times for our night-time dates, and I think, in general, that this 5 PM start time will be the way to go from now on β€” hit happy hour, then an early-ish dinner, and then maybe a walk through the neighborhood, window-shopping and people-watching (Jo, from CupOfJo also discussed this week the marvel of the early date, especially for parents of young kids). But I also want to start incorporating some daytime dates into our schedule. How great would it be to have a few hours “off” from parenting on a weekend morning and go to brunch and maybe a museum or a matinee movie instead of the playground? The bonus is you still have your “date #2” at night, after the kids are in bed. Order some take-out, fire up the Netflix… and chill. And be asleep early enough that, if you do have young kids, your 6 AM wake-up call is a little more bearable.

What’s your favorite time (and activity) for a date? How does being married (or living with your partner) vs. being single affect your dates? If you have kids, how do you prioritize one-on-one time with your spouse? Do you try to treat your evenings together after the kids are in bed as special time with your partner to connect after a long day? Or do you prefer more solo activities like reading or chatting on the phone? If you’re a single parent, how does that affect your availability for dates and when you prefer to schedule them?

27 comments… add one
  • avatar

    RedRoverRedRover February 25, 2016, 1:33 pm

    I know I’m apparently not the norm for this, but one of the biggest benefits of being married, for me, is that I don’t have to go out anymore. Hahahahah. My husband feels the same way. Even when we were dating we didn’t go out much, we’d just go to one or the other’s place and hang out. I told him last time I was pregnant that after the baby’s born, we should go on scheduled dates to make sure we have time together. But honestly, neither of us want to. Hell, half the times that his mom takes our son for the night, we just hang out at home. Separately, usually. We both need lots of alone time, that’s what works for us. If we had to have a weekly or even monthly date, I’d be stressed, no joke. πŸ™‚

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      SpaceySteph February 25, 2016, 3:59 pm

      My husband and I are like this, too. If we do go on a date, which is rare, it’s dinner out (usually up in town) and then when dinner is over we’re like “so should we go to a bar or something?” and we’d both rather just go home and go to bed at a reasonable hour. So we do.
      We do, however, have a friend group that throws a lot of house parties, so we do go to these events but we stay for a few drinks and then go home before midnight. (I was joking that everyone is going to know when I get pregnant because we can’t go a month without a party and if I’m not drinking it’ll be obvious.) I don’t really think of these as date nights though, because it’s not one-on-one time, it’s social time.
      Will we be sorry when we have kids that we didn’t go out more when we didn’t have kids? Or will we be glad we were well-rested and used our weekends to go to bed early AND sleep in?

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover February 25, 2016, 4:09 pm

        If you’re anything like me, you’ll never be sorry you didn’t go out more. πŸ™‚ I used to stress about it, but now I’m like, eh, what’s the sense of pushing myself to do things I don’t want to? I do miss being able to buy concert tix for like a Wednesday night, or coming home after work and being tired and just saying let’s go out for dinner (now we do takeout on those days). But I’m not aching to “go out”, so it’s not a huge deal.

        We used to do the house party thing a lot too! Now it’s died down a lot though, because that whole group of friends has kids, lol. So now we do a lot of birthdays or playdates or whatever where we all bring the kids. A lot different than it used to be, but whatever. It’s just a few years till they’re all older and then it’ll be easier to do what we want again.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover February 25, 2016, 4:11 pm

        Oh and I love that there’s a fellow social introvert on here. πŸ™‚ I guess I’m not as much of a freak as I thought.

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  • gigi

    gigi February 25, 2016, 1:44 pm

    As a single mom its a lot harder to fit in dates. I felt some guilt leaving the kids to go out, actually I still do come to think of it. They only see their dad every other weekend (ex’s choice) so that weekend is the time that I see my BF. In between, we meet at the gym a couple evenings a week to work out together, & many times we will do something on the weekends that I do have my kids, just for a couple hours. Its a tough mental balancing act though.

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  • avatar

    ktfran February 25, 2016, 2:16 pm

    That’s so funny. I read Cup of Jo’s date time talk yesterday and read a lot of the comments. I’m happy you and Drew are getting some alone time!!!!

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  • avatar

    Vathena February 25, 2016, 2:22 pm

    I’ve also been trying to come up with more exciting date-night ideas – we typically just go out to dinner, sometimes dinner and a movie. This weekend, though, we’re going ice skating, then getting pizza and beers. We’ve been doing a date night about every 3-4 weeks. We have two regular sitters, so that schedule is as much about keeping them in the loop/having our daughter be familiar with them than it is about us having alone time! My husband gets home from work after the time that my daughter has dinner, so on weeknights she eats before we do (usually some leftovers of whatever we cooked the night before) and then he and I cook and eat together after she goes to bed. It makes for some late dinners, but that schedule seems to work for us for now. We also eat in front of the TV and watch trashy reality shows/presidential debates (which are pretty close to being trashy reality TV, now that I think about it…)

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet February 25, 2016, 2:24 pm

    I went on a date with my husband last week that went from 4-8! Happy hour, then dinner with great conversation, and we were home in time to put our 4 month old to bed (I exclusively breastfeed, so I only missed 1 feeding). After baby was asleep we wrapped up our night with good prosecco and even better sex. We were asleep by 11:30 PM. Perfect.
    .
    It’s hilarious how life has changed post-baby. We’ve gone out and stayed out late a few times (fortunate that we have a very easy baby who has STTN since 8 weeks), but I prefer the early evening dates by a long shot. I used to be a night owl. Now I prefer to sleep! We have also been fortunate enough to go on a date about once a week (or every other week) if only for 2 or 3 hours. In the first months before we were comfortable leaving her, we made an effort to have mini dates at home while she napped (beers in frosty mugs on the back porch, picnic in the backyard, etc.). Having a baby has strengthened our marriage because we appreciate the time we have together and don’t take it for granted.

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    • muchachaenlaventana

      muchachaenlaventana February 25, 2016, 3:04 pm

      hey!! you haven’t posted in awhile. Congrats on your baby πŸ™‚

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      • sobriquet

        sobriquet February 25, 2016, 3:50 pm

        Thanks! It’s hard to find time to comment, but I still lurk regularly πŸ™‚

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        Anonymousse February 25, 2016, 4:18 pm

        Congrats!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy February 25, 2016, 4:35 pm

      Dates once a week and you have a 4 month old? Holy cow — you get the blue ribbon! I don’t know a single couple with a baby or young kid who goes out that much. Actually, strike that — I do know one couple. The grandparents live with them, so there’s built-in babysitters.

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      • veritek33

        veritek33 February 25, 2016, 4:45 pm

        Apparently when I was born my grandma used to take me every Friday night so my parents could have a date night. (Grandpa died many years before I was born and most of my cousins weren’t local, so I was like her only grandchild in town and she was lonely)
        I don’t know many grandparents that would offer to do that or many first time parents that would take them up on it, but apparently my parents did! I think I was 9 or 10 days old when grandma kept me the first time! But I wasn’t breastfed and Grandma was pretty spry, so I think that’s why it worked so well. So My parents were pretty spoiled by that πŸ™‚

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        Anonymousse February 25, 2016, 7:10 pm

        That’s awesome!

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      • sobriquet

        sobriquet February 25, 2016, 4:51 pm

        My husband’s older sister lives a mile away and she has 2 small kids, so we do a babysitting swap with her every other weekend (that started about a month ago). My mom lives 30 minutes away and she really enjoys babysitting, too. There are definite perks to having family close by!

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy February 25, 2016, 7:04 pm

        Awesome!

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  • avatar

    Taylor February 25, 2016, 2:24 pm

    My very favorite date recently came when I told a friend it was hard to find time where my husband and I were both alone and awake. Said friend gave us their house keys when they were out of a town, and we took a day off work and hung out at their house, tasty food, day drinking, and, ahem, netflix. Actual Netflix. It was awesome.

    Day dates where you play hooky from both home and work, ftw!

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  • avatar

    K February 25, 2016, 2:50 pm

    Dating for 2 years and not living together but spending every night together – we don’t really specifically make time for “dates”. But we don’t have kids and I know the need would be there more, if we did. We go out to eat or get takeout usually once or twice a week, and we often go hiking, or kayaking in the warmer months. For special occasions like our anniversary we’ll try to go somewhere nicer, but overall we sort of just focus on having fun together without thinking “oh, this is a date”. Like if we decide to go to a winery, we don’t really think of it as a date, just this fun thing we are doing.

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  • avatar

    Kate February 25, 2016, 2:54 pm

    My husband and I (no kids) do date night every Saturday night. We are early birds though! We uber into the city around 6, eat dinner at 6:30 before places get packed, have drinks somewhere, and sometimes we hook up with a social event like a dance party or something. If I KNOW we are going to stay out late and party I take an adderol (which is speed, fyi) and only have a couple drinks. That’s the perfect combo to keep me going. Otherwise I get sleepy. On Sundays we have brunch together, then an early dinner (both at restaurants). We also go to this one particular restaurant every Tuesday or Wednesday night and often his friend A (and his gf K) or my friend O will meet us there. Or both. We also take several trips together throughout the year: Somewhere warm in March (next week we’re going on a cruise we got tricked into with my family, but that’s abnormal), then San Diego in late March/early April for a work thing he does and I tag along, then weekends on the Cape, a big friends trip on Martha’s Vineyard for Labor Day week, then Mexico in December. Plus other weekends away at different times. It’s easy without kids!

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  • avatar

    Anonymousse February 25, 2016, 4:27 pm

    Uhh, I’d take a date anytime! The last kid free “date” we went on was when I was pregnant. We had lunch and saw a movie. Before that..it was over a year before when we both went on a mountain bike ride together.
    Now that we have our second and last child and she will sort of take a bottle…I’m definitely considering dates more. But my husband works a lot so we just haven’t made the time to. But we are both okay with that. When the kids go to bed, we crack open some wine or beer and often have sex in front of the fire place. It’s nice.
    My ideal date would probably be a fabulous restaurant and sex, so it’s really not a stretch to feel pretty content with what we can do right now. I have been fantasizing about taking a trip by ourselves. That’d be magic. Although, in reality I’d probably be nervous being without them the whole time.

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover February 25, 2016, 4:41 pm

      You know what we did instead of a trip by ourselves? We drove to where my parents live (a couple hours away), dropped of our son, and stayed in a hotel there for the weekend. It’s kind of a small town so it’s not like there’s tons to do, but we went to a movie, swam in the hotel pool and used the hot tub, went out for brunches and dinners, etc. It was a nice little mini-break, and low-stress because if my parents needed us for any reason we were no more than 10-15 mins away.

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      • avatar

        Anonymousse February 25, 2016, 7:06 pm

        I wish we could do that. On his side, his mom has serious memory issues, so I’d be scared to leave the kids with her. Although, maybe if she had help it would be okay. And my side…so many other issues. And that would all involve a 5-6 hour flight to the east coast, which we will not be doing until the kids are past toddlerhood. Even when we visited for two weeks during the summer, no one offered to watch our son. I didn’t want to ask any of his family, and my mom was just not equipped to be in charge of a one year old.

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  • veritek33

    veritek33 February 25, 2016, 4:40 pm

    As a single person still in the “dating world” I actually really enjoy the afternoon dates more than evening dates! Some of my favorite dates have been on weekend afternoons when the weather is nice and hitting a winery to sit on the patio outside or going for a walk on one of the trails. It’s early so if you’re having fun you can keep the date going and grab dinner or something. And I’m not a big fan of getting really dolled up or doing fancy dinners so afternoon and casual just seems more fun for me. And like I said, outdoor activities are really my jam. So winter just sucks in general for my dating life lol.

    I feel for you parents. I often offer to babysit for my friends with kids so they can have a date night. And I recently went on a date with a single dad and he asked me out again, which I’d like to do, but he has his kid one week on and one week off and he said he’s never used a babysitter before so “bear with him while he finds one he trusts.” Makes perfect sense, just a bummer for him that he can’t drop everything and go on a date when he has his daughter – as it should be.

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    • avatar

      Anonymousse February 25, 2016, 7:08 pm

      It is a scary world regarding childcare. It’s so hard to let go, and all the fears… I feel really lucky to have various people I trust to watch our kids now. It took awhile to build up a plethora of options.

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      • veritek33

        veritek33 February 26, 2016, 10:38 am

        I can’t even imagine. I’m sure that the same friends I babysit for would do the same for me, but finding a stranger seems terrifying. I mean, I’m picky about who I let watch my dogs when I leave town…

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  • avatar

    Ange February 25, 2016, 8:40 pm

    Our favourite date is going out for breakfast. Australia hasn’t really caught on to the American brunch thing where you get to drink as well but damn I wish we did. If it’s a busy period we’ll at least try to get in a quick coffee date somewhere, we both do shift work and I have 3 jobs so it’s been tricky lately. All our dates generally revolve around food which isn’t great for the waistline, I’d love to change it up but we live in such a shitty area *sigh*

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  • Lianne

    Lianne February 25, 2016, 8:52 pm

    Before I got pregnant most of our dates were sitting at a bar, enjoying drinks and good food. We love sitting at the bar because it’s less formal, good people watching, and we can chat easily with each other or others, depending on our mood. I would say we did that a few times a week, at various times of day on the weekends. I love day drinking so my favorites were when we would go to brunch and keep a steady buzz going all day. Ahhhhhh the good ol’ days!! We also live in a very historic city with lots to do – museums, old house tours, etc. so we’ve done a lot of those things, as well. Now that I’m pregnant I barely have the energy to do more than a quick dinner out before I want to go home and put my feet up! After baby comes, it’s important to us to keep a regular date night schedule. We’ve got enough family fairly close by that I think twice a month should work. Check with me once baby is actually here though! Haha ☺️

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