Once upon a time, kind of long ago, we used to eat every dinner on the couch. This was before children, before evening events, and before there was a “bedtime routine” to follow. We talked to each other during dinner or just stuffed our faces while we watched our favorite shows. We even invested in super cool TV trays because our table was really just a clutter catcher.
Then came the kids.
We love our kids. We love spending time with our kids. We make family dinners a priority… most of the time. But sometimes, we book what we like to call, fake date night. No sitter required, and you get to be comfy, enjoy time with the love of your life, and relax. You too can have this low cost, high reward pleasure.
- Decide on your fake date night. This might be planned days in advance, or be brought on suddenly by moody kids, and poor dinner planning. Either way works GREAT.
- Feed your children (something you should probably be doing anyway…), and do it a little earlier than usual. Feed them something you can be pretty much guaranteed they’ll eat without complaint, that requires little to no prep work, and minimal clean up. In our house, chicken nuggets or sandwiches with a side fruit usually get the win. You’re trying to set the mood for your evening right now, so don’t set yourself up for food battles. There are plenty of other nights for that.
- Decide where YOUR dinner is going to come from. That’s right, where. Part of the fake date magic is that YOU do not cook or clean. Our regular fake date caterers are our local pizza place, a little bar up the road that does take out, Chipotle, and Jersey Mike’s (splitting a giant sub is both easy and saves a little cash). If you can, order early and set a pick up time. You want this pick up time to be about the same time your kids will be getting in bed.
- GET THOSE KIDS TO BED! This is one of the major elements of fake date night. One parent heads out to pick up dinner. The other stays behind for a slightly early bedtime. In our house, my husband usually heads out to get our food. I do bedtime, and can usually end up with the kids in bed, my face washed, and my PJ’s on by the time he gets back. It’s a skill that I’ve practiced, and almost mastered. 😉
- Get comfy. Sit on the couch (or at the table if that’s what floats your boat) and enjoy all of it: enjoy the time with your partner in crime, the fact that neither of you had to cook the meal, and that cleanup won’t involve washing dishes. Have a good conversation and watch a good show… or even a movie! A real movie, like one of the award winners from the past few years that you still haven’t gotten around to watching.
It’s YOUR fake date night. Do what makes you happy. Relax and remember how much you still enjoy just being with your happily ever after.