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The Lost Art of Date Night

There’s a lot to be said for properly sleep training your kids; restful evenings, good daytime moods, maintaining your sanity, but one major advantage of having a child that sleeps through the night is the ability to get some fancy clothes on, leave your little one with a sitter, and have a night of fun, intimacy, and connection with your spouse.

About a year after I had my first baby, I was talking with a group of moms from my community, and I heard one of them chatting about her devotion to her kids.

“They’re my only priority in life now. They’re the only thing that matters to me,” she said.

I’m sure she meant it well, but I couldn’t help thinking, “How would your husband feel to know that he’s not on your list of priorities anymore?”

New parents, new mothers especially, tend to forget that they need to focus on other things besides their kids every once in a while. There’s nothing wrong with devoting yourself to your kids, but devoting yourself entirely to them is a good way to burn yourself out and probably harm your marriage.

• Don’t treat date night as an option

I know that every parent faces a hectic schedule, and the temptation is hard to resist when Friday night rolls around and the two of you get that, “I’d rather just stay home,” kind of feeling.

For the majority of couples, date night is the first thing they’re willing to scratch off the calendar when other commitments demand their time. We tend to see it as a luxury, and unlike most appointments, it can be perpetually put off until the following week.

I’ve even spoken with couples that viewed date night as indulgent, irresponsible, or selfish.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Taking the time to recharge your marital batteries is beneficial to your entire family; primarily for you and your spouse, sure, but your kids benefit from seeing Mom and Dad stepping out for the evening as well.

Kids love to see their parents happy. They may have an initial bout of jealousy because they’re not invited, or apprehension about being left with a sitter, but that will pass; especially once it becomes routine. Talk to them while you’re getting ready, let them help you pick out something to wear, and show them how excited you are to be going out for a special evening.

• Don’t discuss your kids

If you’re like most parents, you spend the vast majority of your conversations with each other discussing your children. Make a mental note, “We’re not talking about the kids tonight.” Tell your partner to do the same, and call each other out if one of you starts to forget it.

This is an opportunity for you and your partner to focus specifically on the two of you. Take the time to ask each other questions about, you know, each other!

You’ll be surprised at how much you’ve lost track of one another’s thoughts on political affairs, world events, and life in general since the last time you talked about something other than the kids.

• Turn off your phones

Few things tell another person that you’re not interested in what they’re saying quite like checking your phone every ten minutes. If someone did that to you on a first date, would you even entertain the thought of a second one?

This isn’t just a night away from the kids; it’s about the two of you, just the two of you, being together. Don’t invite your contact list to join you.

I know this is easier said than done when there’s a child at home that might have an emergency, but try setting a designated ring tone for your sitter, or wait to check your phone unless one of you leaves the table.

Remember, this is the person you chose to share your life with, so go ahead and take the opportunity to do exactly that. Ask questions, evoke happy memories, joke around, but remember to keep your attention on one another!

The choice is up to you. You can either make time for date night, or make time for couple’s therapy. I can assure you, the former is much more enjoyable. (And usually much more affordable!)

Also, if you’re looking for a complete, step-by-step guide that will help you get your child sleeping 11+ hours a night you can check out The Sleep Sense Program by clicking below.

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The Sleep Sense Philosophy

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Dana’s Sleep Blog

Straight talk about sleep, parenting,
babies, toddlers, relationships… and
just about anything else!
My blog is a great place to find opinions, advice, the occasional rant, and some great videos about sleep.

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