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As parents of two
small children, my husband and I don’t get many nights out by ourselves. The babysitters are expensive, and we are
both so tired that often times it feels easier to just plop down on our couch and
scroll through Netflix to find a movie. As much as I love our comfortable routines, I don’t want to get too comfortable. I may be a mom, but I still want some
To get the sizzle,
however, I have to get off the couch.
So, I did. I decided it wasn’t cool that I was putting
more efforts into playdates for my kids than date nights with my husband. My kids and my job were getting the best of
my energy, time and attention. For one
night, I wanted to treat spending time with my husband as if it were as
important as the parent-teacher conferences or the big meetings at work.
To get date-ready,
I went back to some of the tricks in the grab bag from when I was single. Long before I had a breast pump and a
mini-van, I put some effort into dating. And I’m not talking about getting all dolled up to catch a man. I’m talking about preparing my mind and my
energy for an evening of adult conversation with the man I love. Yes, I did some extra grooming, but make no
mistake: I didn’t do it for my husband, though he was certainly a happy
recipient of my efforts. I didn’t even
really do it for my marriage, though I’m sure it was good for our relationship
to get more of my attention.
I did it for
myself, to tap into the part of me that
gets ignored—the part of me that likes to be something besides a mother, the
part of me that likes to end the night with something besides unfathomable
exhaustion and an old sweatshirt that my kids have snotted all over. You know, the part of me that likes to have
So, if you’re
stuck in a rut and ready to liven up a date night, I give you: 5 Things I Did
To Prepare My Body, Mind and Soul For a Killer Date Night
1. Find an outfit I love
How often do we get to wear our sexy clothes? Mine actually had dust on them.
We all love our comfy jeans and our college sweatshirts. But how often do we get to wear our sexy clothes? Mine actually had dust on them. The last time I wore my favorite little black top, it was for a holiday party. Two years ago. It felt good to shimmy into it, even if it was just for the two of us.
2. Brush up on current events
My husband and I get into conversational ruts. We talk about the kids, our jobs and then we talk about the kids some more. Before my date night, I read a long, fascinating article about psychology and listened to a podcast about politics, both of which were full of information I didn’t know on subjects to a depth that was just beyond my comfort zone. At dinner, when I was tempted to steer the conversation toward our children, I stopped myself and talked about the article or the podcast. Now, I know exactly how my husband feels about the diversity in Obama’s cabinet and the psychology of deferred gratification.
3. Have some ideas about what to do
When I was dating, I was very conscious of coming to the table with some great date ideas. Why make your partner do all the work? For my date night with my husband, I took an active role making suggestions about places we should check out just like I used to do when I was single. I actually looked online for new restaurants and for information about what was going on in our city that weekend. It felt good to research something for us after years of looking up gymnastics lessons, family-friendly restaurants and stuff for the kids.
4. Pick something you’ve never done before
We are creatures of habit. We like the tacos at the place down the street; we like the pizza at Costco; and we like the dessert at the little ice cream shop by the kids’ school. But for date night, we needed to branch out. We ended up doing something we’d never done together before: bowling. The novelty of the new activity (and trying to bowl in my sexy black top) helped me get in touch with the old part of myself that used to do new things all the time.
As fun as the bowling and the tapas were, I made sure to save some energy for the extracurricular activities back at home. Because going out is refreshing and energizing, but it also takes energy. It’s important to come home with enough energy to “finish” the date (if you know what I mean), instead of collapsing on the bed moments after brushing our teeth.