My husband woke up to pee at around 4:50 in the morning. I heard him because I'm a light sleeper, and naturally, I woke up to pee too.
He was giddy when I returned to bed. "Do you wanna check out the super blue blood moon? It's happening right now!"
I thought about it for too long, perhaps. Yes. I did want to see this rare event. But I also knew that in anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours, one or both of my kids would be awake. And would I risk losing out on sleep when I have a super busy day?
"Let's do it," I said.
Fuck sleep. We're going on a date.
We threw on sweaters and jackets and shoes as quickly as we could. Sleepily. Half in the dark, and stumbled into the middle of the street searching for the moon.
"Oh shit, there it is!" He said as we spun around to face it.
There it was. This completely eerie yet beautiful red moon, surrounded by a completely clear, black sky.
I thought, wow, what did our ancestors think when they saw a moon like that? I thought, man, I wish my kids could see this right now. I thought, how fucking romantic is this!
Chris must have felt the same way because suddenly he was leaning in wanting a kiss. It WAS romantic. There we were, alone in the middle of our street, watching this pretty incredible once in a lifetime event, squeezing in quality time with each other.
And this is how date night has been for us lately.
Sure we can hire a babysitter, and spend far too much money going out to dinner, or a movie. But the past few times we've done this we've found that we've been so stressed out...rushing to get home to pay the babysitter, constantly checking in on our Nest cam ap to make sure the boys are sleeping, or are minding the babysitter. (You mean you don't do this? You relax when you go out? Pshhh)
We may have a smattering of connectedness but we also have far more moments of worry and anxiety (at least I do!) So much so that more often than not, we've been finding little moments like this super blue blood moon to squeeze in a connection when we can.
Here are some ways we've found to scrape in a date night:
We're lucky to have a porch swing at the front of our house which has become our favorite spot to meet after the boys have gone to bed.
We each grab a beverage of choice, and settle into the gentle swaying of the swing. Sometimes we switch it up and sit in the adjunct Adirondack chairs, which can be very relaxing...and we just talk. Talk into the darkness. Talk into the night. Sometimes we drink booze. Whatever, we're on a date. We do what we want.
We Cook Dinner Together
Almost every night before we go to pick up the boys, we make dinner together. This is something we've done before we had children so it's one of our go-to methods for connecting and also feeling like we're having some fun while doing an activity together. Lately, we've been enjoying making meals from Blue Apron. If you click here, you can try it out too, and get $30 off your first three meals.
I'm not suggesting that you have to cook dinner with your significant other to go on a date night, but instead, find something that you do every day that you can do together - fold laundry together? Clean up the kitchen together? Walk to the mailbox together? Whatever? It all adds up.
Driving to Pick up the Boys From School
Our boys go to a Montessori daycare that is about a 10-minute drive from our house, depending on traffic. We use those 10 minutes to wrap up our cooking date.
There's almost always hand holding, or leg touching because we instinctively know that once we get the boys, we will barely have a chance to even look at each other until they go to bed in a few hours.
Hug Until Relaxed
This is an old school therapist trick that I learned in my own therapy once upon a time, but something that Chris and I have tried to integrate into our daily lives since we got married.
The idea is to hug until both of you can relax. You'll know you're relaxed because there will be a sigh, or you'll feel your shoulders or your grip soften. The idea is to hug until that moment comes for both of you.
Sometimes it takes 30 seconds, sometimes when there's a lot going on in our lives, it can take minutes. Sometimes one of us is able to relax far more quickly than the other - but the idea is that you are there to support your spouse to help them feel safe and calm.
The trick is to try and do this every single day. It seems like a simple, totally implementable idea, but you'll be surprised how many times we've climbed into bed and realized, Shit! We forgot to hug!
Do What Works for You
These are just a few examples of ways we've been able to scrape away connected time as the married people and parents of two time-sucking, energy-sucking, little loveable creatures. But truthfully, you do you.
If getting dressed up and going out is your way of feeling far more connected and whole, then, by all means, go for it. I do love a good night out on occaision. But more often than not, squeezing out moments here and there can often be more practical and affordable.
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