My husband and I had a difficult time finding childcare when my girls were little. We did not live near family, and we didn’t always have the extra funds to pay someone to babysit our girls. So what did we do? We went on the date anyway!
Before you report us to child protection, we never left our girls unsupervised. When Tim and I needed a night out and didn’t have the resources to make it happened, we invented (or at least perfected) the “Date at Eight.”
The Date at Eight is an at-home date that starts at 8 p.m. It’s simple. On the night of the date, Tim and I would work together to get the kids fed, bathed and in bed by eight o’clock. Once the kids were settled in and asleep, date night began. However, there were a few things we learned along the way:
- Schedule the date. Healthy couples understand that finding time to nurture your relationship is intentional, not natural. Don’t make the mistake of thinking quality time will just happen. It won’t. The demand of parenting can get in the way of prioritizing your marriage.
- Take a nap. Avoid doing anything on the day of your Date at Eight that will make you tired. Resist getting caught up on your laundry, cleaning your bathroom, or running errands, and take a nap instead. Fatigue is the number one intimacy killer for moms with small children. Prioritize your time with your husband by protecting your energy level.
- Allow for error. In the same way out-of-the-house dates can have their hang-ups (traffic; dropped reservations; failed directions), in-house dates can have some issues as well. Don’t give up on your date if the bath time doesn’t go as planned or the kids don’t fall asleep on time. There is no rule against the Date at Nine or Date at Ten.
- Put away your devices. One of the perks of the at-home date is that you won’t be distracted by your phone because you won’t need to keep it near in case the babysitter calls. Put your phones away, pretend it’s 1995, and have a face-to-face conversation.
- Get creative and have some fun. Order take-out and share a dinner by candle light. Play a game. Sit under the stars in your backyard and dream. Go on an online shopping spree. Watch one of your favorite movies from your dating days and make-out.
I love being a mom, and I love being a mom alongside my husband. However, some of the toughest years in our marriage were the years when our girls were small. I was exhausted, unsure of myself, and a tad psychotic at times. Tim and I aren’t perfect parents, but we’ve worked hard over the years to make sure we don’t allow the joys of parenthood to hurt our marriage. We want to be great parents, but we want to be great lovers as well. The Date at Eight helped us stay connected when a night out wasn’t possible.
Today, are girls are 15, 13, and 11, which means the days of needing a sitter are over. Hallelujah! I’d be dishonest if I said I didn’t like the freedom of getting to go out on dates more often, but even in these babysitter-free days, we still enjoy the coziness of the Date at Eight.
Tasha Levert, Ph.D., is a licensed professional counselor in New Orleans who provides face-to-face and online care. She is a conference speaker, worship leader and the author of Stories of Hope for the Sleep Deprived. Tasha and her husband Tim (Pastor with Students at the Vineyard Church of New Orleans) have three beautiful daughters and a lazy schnauzer named Gumbo.
To find out more about Tasha or her practice go to
tashalevert.com or broomtreecounseling.com.