I share my birthday with my twin three year old girls, and this year it was going to fall on the weekend of the school fair. With the twins’ birthday party scheduled for the next weekend, date night options for my birthday were very limited. So when my husband Matt asked what I wanted for my birthday, I suggested spending a weekday together. Matt had Columbus day off, and I had a personal day burning a hole in my pocket. It made so much sense. We would wake up and start our usual routine of dropping off the kids at school. Then, instead of going to work, we would meet up for breakfast and take it from there.
It was a glorious day. We had a three hour breakfast at the new Ruby Slipper Cafe, went to an 11am movie and wandered around a bookstore, all while being able to talk uninterrupted or sit in peaceful silence. After such a nice day together, I have decided to start a campaign to make playing hooky the new date night.
1. You don’t need a babysitter.
Disclaimer: This reason is only valid for parents of children who are in school/daycare. If you have vacation or holiday time available and a place to send your kids, there is no extra cost or coordination involved in securing childcare. Having three kids means that we are already over budget before walking out the door if we have to get a babysitter. Taking that expense off the table definitely put us in a better mood.
2. The date is longer.
We spent a full eight hours alone together. These days, the only time that happens is while we are sleeping. Because date nights start in the evening, there are only a few good hours available to hang out. The night can become rushed and sometimes forced. Matt said that his favorite part about the day was not feeling that need to rush home to relieve a babysitter or family member. It really helped him to relax and have a good time.
3. There are no annoying crowds.
Matt and I played hooky on a Monday. It was almost like we had the whole city to ourselves. There was no wait for a table, and the movie theater was practically empty. It felt like a date on The Bachelor.
Remember the days when you and your significant other could do the simple things together, like grocery shop or go to the gym. With small children, there is a divide-and-conquer mentality that often has one parent on kid duty while the other runs errands. I mean, you can try to run errands with kids, but it usually ends up like this. Attempt at your own risk.
5. It feels sneaky.
Regardless of the fact that you submitted a request to your boss for review, got it approved, and are getting paid for it, not being at work on a work day feels a little naughty. It wasn’t quite the same high-energy adventure as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but it was good enough for a couple of overworked parents of three small children.
6. You’re not tired.
I don’t know about you, but my average day starts with a 6am alarm and ends with a flop on the couch at 8pm. This cycle is not conducive for a dinner date. Inevitably, my husband and I spend most of our night time dates taking turns yawning and staring off into space. We know we need the together time, but we are so tired.
7. Afternoon delight.
Empty house? Check. Mid-day energy? Check. No more explanation needed.
8. There’s no parenting guilt.
The kids are at school or daycare just like any other day. You’re not cutting into time with them by taking off with your spouse, because this is already scheduled time away. I really try not to feel guilty when I’m away from my kids on weeknights and weekends, but I’m a mom and that’s what I do. I never felt an ounce of guilt the entire day which was definitely one of my favorite parts of the day.