All right, mamas! Something a little different for you today. I love getting together for play dates with my friends and their kiddos as much as any mama does. However, I won’t lie to you. Some weekends, I really just want to ditch the play dates, and do a day date instead. Sans children. With my husband.
Sure, I know what you may be thinking. “My husband and I go out to dinner the last Saturday of every month,” or “Checking out a movie at night is one of our favorite things.” Well, that’s all well and good. My husband and I like to get out in the evenings as well. However, more recently, we have started making the switch from evening dates to day dates. If you haven’t yet jumped on the day date bandwagon, I am here to tell you why you should.
Make your sitter earn her money. My husband and I try to use family to babysit for us as much as we can, but obviously that is not always possible. Honestly, I cringe each time I pay a sitter $12-15/hour to essentially sit on my couch, eat my food, and scroll through Instagram. While I totally understand that the going rate for sitters has changed quite a bit since I was a teenager, it does not mean I love paying sitters roughly $75 to do virtually nothing. (Yes, I understand that I am paying them to care for my child in the event that he wakes up and needs something, or in case, God forbid, there is an actual emergency, but still. Shelling out that much money for childcare is a bitter pill to swallow).
Personally, my favorite time for a day date? 3:00-8:00pm. You still have a good chunk of your day to spend with your child early in the day, so you don’t have to feel guilty about leaving them. My son still has “nap/quiet time” until about 3:00, so he is pretty well-rested in the late afternoon. Let your sitter play with your children, tackle dinner, and put them to bed. This is key, ladies. I repeat, Let the sitter put your children to bed. Nothing can put a damper on a relaxing day like wrangling a child into the tub or having a battle about brushing teeth. When you get home, continue the date with watching a movie, having a nightcap, or playing a game. Cap it off with an early bedtime, and you will feel like a million bucks the next day. Promise.
Motivation is higher in the daytime. Honestly, it can be difficult to have the motivation to get out in the evenings. By the time dusk hits, I am ready to get in my yoga pants and call it a night. Parenting is tiring, as we all know. The last thing I may feel like is getting myself dolled up and driving into “the city” for a night out. (Honestly, some days Raleigh seems like the other end of the universe. I don’t often leave my Apex/Cary bubble anymore!)
Going out in the evenings can be more difficult, no doubt. However, I do think dating your husband is essential to a healthy marriage. Therefore, if going out in the evenings is too much of a pain for you, get out in the daytime. Especially this time of year, I LOVE checking out the early scene . Whether it is exploring a new hiking trail, hitting up a fun brewery, or grabbing some appetizers and a cold drink, I am all about adventures with my husband.
You will feel more rested the next day. Going out at night just kills me. I swear, I have noticed a drastic difference in my “rebound skills” since my son Gavin came along. Staying out until midnight, or even 11:00pm, is just harder for me. As any mama knows, our kids tend to have radar where this is concerned. Parents stay awake until 1:00am?? Yup, that will be the morning that your darling son/daughter learns how to leap out of the crib at 5:00am. Or the night they have a nightmare. Or need a glass of water. You get my drift. Day dates provide you with all of the benefits, but none of the drawbacks. It’s a win-win.
So, where to go??
The options are endless. Some of my favorite things to do are free, or inexpensive. Take a hike or check out a new park. Duke Gardens is one of my favorite places to visit on the weekends, followed by a lunch in Durham, or maybe a stroll down Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Hit a matinee (they are much cheaper!), or head to a fun coffee shop.
Breweries are another fantastic idea, and Raleigh/Durham is not short on them, that’s for sure. Fortnight Brewing in Cary has board games available, in case that is your thing. Wine samplings can also be a blast, and there are a handful in close proximity to Raleigh. Gregory Vineyards in Angier is one option. Bonus- they also have a restaurant on property.
More ideas include festivals (Peak City Pig Fest is coming up in June!), cooking classes, bowling (Kings in North Hills is a blast!), or bike riding. Brunch is another great day date option for you foodies out there.
Moms, I would not steer you wrong. Day dates are the way to go. You will have the opportunity to explore new places and revitalize your marriage. Furthermore, you will wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle motherhood. Grab your calendars, call a sitter, and make it happen. You won’t regret it.