One of the things that Alex and I try to do on a semi-regular basis is go out on dates. Sometime, somewhere, I read that going out with your spouse once a week allowed you to continue to grow and build your relationship, especially once your children are born. That way, when your children are grown and out of the house, you are not sitting across from a complete stranger. Well, we certainly don't make it out once a week, but I think we do pretty good at least going once a month.
One of the biggest obstacles I have found that we face with date night is that our oldest is jealous of this time. We have been very blessed to have one set of Ah-mazing grandparents that live nearby and they pretty much always watch my boys for us. In fact, if you are reading this right now, here's a huge "Thank you." It has been absolutely a blessing to know that we can always count on them. I know someday I will need to hire an actual babysitter, a teenager with a phone and probably a boyfriend just doesn't make me smile at the moment though. But that's another post, another day.
BUT, back to the jealousy. O would really prefer to go on these dates with us. We have done all the explaining of how it's important for mommy and daddy to have alone time. We love you very much and love spending time with you, but we need time too. Blah blah blah. Children only hear that you are choosing Daddy time instead. So, we have started going on family dates too. Sometimes this is the whole family. Sometimes it's just a boy date (read: I get ALONE time, what?!) And sometime, I hope to take them out. At this stage, that doesn't hold quite as much allure though because they are with me all day. Anyway, Mommy and Daddy still get their own time, but the family date helps to alleviate the frustration on those nights because they know that they will get their own special time.
Last night was one of those special nights. We went to a fun place in town called 1984. If you are from this area, you probably have heard of it, even if you haven't been. If you aren't, let me share a little. 1984 is an 80's style arcade that you pay $5 to enter and then can play all night for free. This is especially awesome when you have a 4 year old that starts a game and then walks away halfway through. We had never been before, though we had often talked about it. So, when we received our flipcard from the local library's summer reading program with free and discounted local things to do and 1984 was one of the partners, we finally planned a date. It was a hit!
O and Daddy had the most fun, blasting aliens, knocking down buildings, learning the names of these cool games. Monkey actually just told me today that his dad is "awesome" at the Golden Axe. I however, kinda just walked around trying to get C to play something. This isn't really a toddler friendly kind of place. The controls themselves were above the poor kids head! We finally settled down at a table with chips and a drink and were good for awhile. The family date finally turned into two separate dates as the big boys brought C and I home to watch a movie and they went back to play the night away. They stayed out well past bedtime, which I have simply accepted happens on date night, and O is still talking about the awesome time he had.
All in all, a great family date night had by all. So, if you are struggling with your kiddos accepting date night, or just need some great family time, even if it's something you already planned to do, go ahead, use it as a date night. "Come on kids, we're going to have a date tonight!' Go to the park, fly a kite, play crazy arcade games. They're gonna love it. I bet you will too.