Up until last Friday night I had been so snarky and resistant to the idea of date night.
Pre-baby “date night” felt contrived. I much preferred to snuggle up on the couch with a good movie and bottle of wine. Who needs all that fuss of getting dressed, smelling nice, and going out? (In hindsight, I regret not having gone out more now that it’s not so much of a daily option.)
Post-baby I felt like everyone who urged us to have a date night just didn’t get it. They clearly didn’t understand. We actually like hanging out with our baby. And yeah, it might be nice to get away but coordinating care, pumping, the idea of disrupting the routine, and the general anxiety that comes with trusting someone else with your baby … nothing about it felt sexy or desirable. It was just more trouble than it was worth.
It took seven months into this parenting gig to finally find myself ready, no desperate, for a night out with my man. I wanted to wear a real bra, put on some makeup, and go bowling. I asked one of Fox’s favorite teachers at daycare, Miss Taylor, if she’d be up for some Friday night moonlighting – she said yes! I almost canceled last minute because Fox had a snotty nose and none of us had gotten much sleep the night before. Date night was starting to feel like a lot of effort. But I put on my best smoky eye and my tightest raw denim. Miss Taylor showed up just before 7PM and I gave her as much information as I possibly could. “Here are his bottles – I don’t know how to heat them up (Miss Taylor assured me she could heat a bottle on the stove). Here are his diapers and here is his crib. He’s asleep right now but he’ll probably wake up soon. He can jump in his bouncer or chill and watch TV with you. I’m leaving his car seat in case there is an emergency or you’d like to kidnap him to Mexico.” Miss Taylor, sporting a backpack full of textbooks to study, assured us that she would take care of our baby and urged us out the door.
As we pulled out of the driveway I was tempted to roll down the windows and whoop “DATE NIGHT!!!” Pre-baby me was rolling my eyes big time. Then post-baby me gave pre-baby me the finger.
First we hit up some Indian buffet – which I’m always so enthusiastic going into and always a bit regretful about halfway through my second plate of saag paneer, raita, naan, and fried spinach. We split a beer and talked about things other than our baby. Then bowling. We got to the bowling alley while it was still a bit too bright out and there were very few cars in the parking lot. Just another reminder that … things now are not like they were before. Whatever. DATE NIGHT!
When I was a kid my parents had a weekly date at the bowling alley. They were on a league and even had their own bowling balls with their names engraved on the sides. Jeremy and I are parents now, so bowling seemed like the most appropriate option for our first date night out. Two games in my left boob was reminding me that I’m still very much a new mom. Meanwhile, Miss Taylor texted me to say that Fox was SO happy when he woke up that she was there to give him cuddles (and a bottle or two). I was ready to head back home when Jeremy reminded me that we were having fun. Plus, we paid for unlimited bowling which was a whole 3¢ more than the cost of two games. So we might as well get our money’s worth. We high-fived through spares and gave each other tips in technique. In my last frame I got two strikes in a row. It was awesome. But my left boob really was about to explode. And at 9:30PM it was getting past my bedtime.
It really does feel like just yesterday that I was the one being babysat while my parents went bowling. And it was literally just yesterday that I didn’t see what all the “date night” fuss was about. But as we drove home I felt a little older – a little more grown up. I felt like I was really starting to get it. The whole date night thing. The whole mom thing. The whole wife thing. The whole life thing. It’s not always super sexy. But sometimes it is. Sometimes it takes coordination and a little extra effort. And sometimes it’s glimpses of spontaneous bliss. It’s all a little messy but it’s all oh so worth it.
P.S. I bowled a 77, 111, and 99. They all felt like lucky numbers. Jeremy managed to beat me by a few points every time even though I always felt as if I was kicking his ass.
P.P.S. I need more date night ideas! Comment below with suggestions.