There were a lot of hard adjustments when I first became a parent—managing sleep deprivation, figuring out how to care for a newborn and realizing just how little "me time" I now had. Before kids, I really enjoyed trying a cool new restaurant or sipping a mojito on a patio in the summer. While I can theoretically still visit restaurants with small kids in tow, it’s not exactly relaxing to keep kids from crawling under the table or manage tears when the french fries are the wrong size.
While I still enjoy a kid-free date night out from time to time, I’ve come to realize that date nights at home can actually be pretty great. Once the kids are in bed, you can enjoy an awesome night in. Here's how:
1. Forget background noise. A noisy restaurant can be a blessing with a toddler who is still learning to use her inside voice, but on a date night it can be annoying to shout over background noise during your few precious moments of adult conversation. And the hip restaurants I used to enjoy visiting before kids suddenly seem so much louder now. At home, the chance of hearing a potentially TMI convo among strangers is virtually nonexistent.
2. It’s cheaper. Going out for date nights quickly adds up when you pay for a nice meal out for two plus a babysitter. Watching a movie or making your favorite dish at home can be extra enjoyable when you know you aren’t draining the bank account.
3. Homemade cocktails. I like ordering a cocktail during a dinner out—but they are almost always expensive, and it can be hard to gauge how potent they'll be. Since having kids, I’ve become a big fan of the homemade cocktail. Once the kids are in bed, they can be a great Saturday night treat. Plus, they're cheaper and you can adjust them to be as weak or strong as you like. Keeping cocktail glasses and your favorite liquor and mixers on hand also makes prep easy. Cheers!
4. Ideal seating. While I love sitting on a restaurant patio on a warm summer night, sometimes waiting for the ideal table at a good place can take forever. Planning a date night at home means you can set up on your terms—whether it’s a candlelit dinner in the dining room or an al fresco evening on the patio under a string of twinkling lights.
5. You can take advantage of the extra time. Going out for a date night often means you have to spend extra time driving somewhere or waiting for a table. Kid-free time is often fleeting when you have little ones, so staying home means you can spend more time enjoying the date and less time on logistics.
6. You can fall asleep during the movie. Let's face it: Parents are exhausted, and a dark movie theater might be a tempting place to close your eyes—just a little. But, if you find yourself too tired to finish a movie at home, you can just hit the pause button and start where you left off the next night. And you haven't spent $30 on tickets.
7. You can wear pajamas. It is nice to get dressed up from time to time, but sometimes after a long day of managing kids, it’s a welcome relief to just change into something extremely comfortable. With a date night at home, you can enjoy tasty food and drinks in a nice setting—and you don’t even have to put on a bra.