Just a few weeks ago, the hubs and I had the opportunity to have, oh what do you call those things that often forgotten and thrown by the wayside? Oh yeah, date night! So we had the opportunity to experience one of those a few weeks ago thanks to my son’s school. Heeeeeyyyy!!!!
Now for us, date night or any night OR day that allows us to be child free is never far from our brains. Between the full time jobs we both have, side projects and of course the little person, there never really isn’t much time for anything else. With the closest family member living an hour away, its not always easy to plan, because they have lives too. But we can’t lose sight of how important it is to connect and continuously do so in your marriage. Date night allows us to actually have conversations while still having fun.
So back to this date night, we had nothing really concrete planned except to attend a monthly gathering on the East Side of town to help support the local businesses. Now let me tell you a little something about the hubs and I. We can be as planned as the next person, but we can be just as random and in fact we kind of prefer it that way. On this night we went with a combination of the two.
We started at a local convenience store/coffee shop/bar/restaurant called the Quickie Pickie.
YES! Allll of that in one spot. We looked around, because hey we had never seen a place quite like this! With all we had to choose from, I opted for a cup of chai tea while he had of course, a bottle of cider.
And I had to get this chocolate.
I mean this combination begged to be tried. And yes it was good. Very good. We tried to come up with a game plan as to what to do next but yeeeahhhh that didn’t happen so off we went to discover new places.
We passed an outdoor theater where a jazz ensemble of high school students would soon be performing before coming upon a local liquor that seemed to be having a tasting of some sort. You already know who spotted that one! Yeah, I entered that store a lady and left feeling like a lady of the night. Alcohol hits me so fast since because I rarely imbibe outside a glass of wine or two. When baby Jesus smited my soul on Christmas of 2005 after having 3 long island ice teas, I just chill. HARD. So after my slowly sipped shots and convo with the owner of said bourbon, we moseyed on in search of viddles aka food for you non southerners. After roaming a bit and still not coming to any sort of conclusion of what to eat, we decided to Yelp it and hopefully try something new.
We drove a few streets away and came upon a few choices before a little shop caught our eye. Yeeeeahhh….so there’s this pottery spot called Clayworks and that night they were having a little event. The jist of it was, you and few other people, in this case, us, the owner and her father would create a story based on a line from a crime novel printed on slips of paper picked at random. You rewrite the line and then a few lines more to create a short paragraph. THEN, you pass it to your left for the next person to write the next few lines but they are only allowed to see the last line written. There was some creative folding going along with some interesting storytelling. Let’s just say my contribution to one of the stories involved a fashion school for the blind. Jesus take the wheel!!! Yeah I wrote it. Don’t judge!! After we read our stories out loud and enjoyed a good laugh and took this quick pic, we finally went in search of food. Again.
We went to a food truck lot we’d visited before and the hubs got his Philly cheesesteak and I picked Mexican. We devoured our food and ended the night with a funnel cake. You can’t go wrong with funnel cake!
With only a half hour to spare, we headed back towards our neck of the woods to pick up our little person. He seemed to have enjoyed his own fun filled night having watched a Dora the Explorer movie, a little food, some popcorn and juice. Shortly thereafter we arrived home and put him to bed, another successful date night in the books.
As I mentioned earlier, date night is not only an opportunity to engage in true conversation and share a few laughs but also to reconnect and have a "little fun". We're adults so you know what I mean! With that being said, here are my 3 rules for having and maintaining date night.
1. Take Advantage of PNO (Parent's Night Out). As I mentioned earlier, this date was able to happen because of my son's school having one of their regular PNOs. He goes to a montessori so I don't if this offered in a public preschool. But school is not an option, check your local health club (mine has one pretty regularly as well but only for the 5 and up) or church. If all else fails, and you're like us without family within the immediate vicinity, then ask your friends who they use for their childcare needs. Or better yet, take turns providing childcare so that each of you gets a night to themselves even if its for a couple of hours.
2. Don't Do Dinner and a Movie. Now don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with a flick and a little din din. But save that for the times you're unable to get out. Instead, go explore your city! Be the first of your friends to discover a new dive bar, food truck or even an beautiful hiking trail. But if money is an issue, check out what's free or nearly free in your area. Just look for "free to do" in whatever city you live in and look at what seems interesting. For my fellow Austinites, we've found success here for many a family outing AND this semi planned date night. Which brings me to tip number 3.
3. Be Random! Don't be so planned and in the box. As I mentioned earlier, we planned about 25% of our night and the rest we just kind of went wherever the night took us. While we were starving and were in desperate need of any food at that point, we took a chance on Clayworks and those 20-30 minutes resulted in not only some literary genius but an idea to try with friends at the next get together.
Now with these 3 rules in your arsenal, the only thing left to do is follow them and make date night a permanent fixture. Ok that was two things but you get the message. Now go frolic and play!