“Don’t lick that” and “You have to wear pants”. These are two things I have said to my kids that have interrupted conversations with my husband this week. And each time, I’ve thought, “Ugh, we need a date night.” But finding a good babysitter can be like finding the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. And will cost that once you do find them. If date nights are few and far between, you’ll love these babysitter-free methods to help you reconnect with your spouse.
1. Cook a meal (from start to finish) together.
From deciding on the recipe, shopping, cooking, all the way to consumption – do it together. It is a casual and no pressure way to start a conversation and allow for quality time. And if all goes well, you’ll get to eat some tasty food!
2. Meet for lunch during the work week.
This works great if you have kids that are school-age. Meeting mid-week has a special feel about it, and since it’s out of the norm, might even feel like a real date. Take advantage of all the amazing wineries, farm stands, and small spots in Sonoma that you can meet at for a quick bite, all while the kids are in school. Trying to be budget friendly or have little kids? Pack a lunch and meet at a park. The kids can run around and you can keep your money in your pocket. And maybe even save for an actual date night.
3. Have your spouse teach you something.
Last year, my husband took me to a shooting range. It felt like our first date, but better, because I wasn’t wondering if he’d call me afterwards. I had never held a gun in my life, let alone aim and fire one. My absence of knowledge required me to trust his instruction and give him all my attention. There is an element of vulnerability and respect in this: admitting that you don’t know how to do something and valuing the other person’s skill. For you, this might look different. It could mean learning to do something on the computer, using a table saw, or painting with watercolors. Approach it with patience, have fun, and reconnect.
Sidebar: When we went to the range, we did have grandparents watch the kids. Please don’t think I had toddlers circling my ankles as I was shooting a gun. And while this may not be the best example of not hiring a babysitter, my goal was to paint the picture.
4. Look at old photos together.
We all have a gajillion of them! They sit in photo books, wedding albums, computers, phones, and the cloud (wherever that is). Put the littles in bed, pop a bottle of champagne, and reconnect over old memories by celebrating your life together. There is nothing that softens the heart like the sweet feeling of nostalgia.
5. Read the same book.
Pick a book that covers a topic of mutual interest. This could be a parenting book, a biography, or even a book you were required to read in high school but only read the cliff notes (here’s lookin’ at you, The Great Gatsby). This gives you an undeniable “something” in common, and you won’t be able to help but reconnect when you talk to each other about it. Do one better and pick a book that is (or will soon be) a movie. Once you finish the book, you can look forward to seeing the movie together!
It’s Important to Reconnect with Your Spouse
As simple and cliché as it sounds, the point is to slow down together. We can get in such a habit of living at the speed of sound that we don’t notice when we need to hit the pause button until it’s too late. I can’t promise you won’t have any ludicrous interruptions like, “Stop barking at the dinner table.” But if you’re intentional about your time and make an effort to be present, you’ll be well on your way to reconnecting with your spouse without hiring a sitter.