The 8 All-Too-Real Stages of Date Night for Parents

couple jumping for joy

Congratulations, you did it! You actually penciled in a date night with your partner and, by golly, you're sticking to it. It was even super easy to find a babysitter for this blessed event -- it's like a parents' night out was written in the stars for you.


While the very thought of going to a grown-up restaurant without a kids' menu in sight is making you whistle a happy tune, reality sets in. There is so. much. to. do. Leaving someone else in charge of your kids for a few hours is akin to trying to clone yourself in a scientific lab on short notice.

And that's when the 8 stages of date night kick in.

1. Aaaah ... the babysitter is coming.

You've found a person you wholeheartedly trust to take care of your little munchkins for a few hours while you bliss out in the real world. But wait, the babysitter is coming! A mad dash to clean your home ensues before she (or he!) arrives. You don't want them to know how you really live.

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2. Lists. So many lists.

Emergency contact lists need to be updated and your youngest is having a horrible bout with allergies, so specific instructions need to be written down to remind your sitter how to administer his, as he calls it, "watery eye medicine." Post-It notes with a lot of underlining and exclamation points are involved.

3. Gotta warn the kids.

You're sweating a bit in terms of how to break it to the kiddos that you'll be leaving -- without them -- for the evening. Depending on their moods and level of tiredness, there could be tears, which can result in extra clinginess as you try to get ready. You decide to put off breaking the news for another hour.

4. It's time to get ready -- while watching the kids.

You wanted to duck and dodge that extra hour of babysitting so you're currently trying to curl your hair while engaging your kids in a game of hide and seek. This means your "hiding spots" are limited to the foot you have between yourself and the outlet to which your curling iron is plugged. Somehow they keep finding you with ease.

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5. Find something date-y to wear.

Great news -- you achieved those beachy waves all the young women are sporting. Bad news -- you need to find something to wear. While you scour your closet for something that isn't either yoga pants or boring work attire, your daughter plays fashion show and struts out of her own room wearing no less than six different fabulous outfits as you search desperately for one. Now you're reminded where your fashion budget went. To her.

6. Figure out where the heck you're going.

The babysitter is on the way, as is the pizza for dinner, but you just remembered that you never did get around to making a restaurant reservation for yourself. But, hey, you're going out at 6:30 p.m., which is technically considered "old people" dinner time on a Saturday night -- something has to be available. But where? All your favorite spots you used to hit up pre-kids have all turned into something else. You put in an emergency phone call to your foodie friend who knows exactly where to go in these situations.

7. This is it! You're out the door.

Nobody cried! The world is your oyster. You and your partner settle into your table for two and breathe a sigh of relief.

8. Done with dessert.

It's 9 p.m. The last time you took two and a half hours to eat dinner was sometime in the early '00s. You feel liberated. But you also feel ... tired. There's some mumbling about perhaps walking to a nearby spot for a cup of coffee just so you don't have to go home quite yet, but seriously, you're tired. You take the longer route home just so the babysitter thinks you're slightly less lame than if you showed up back at the homestead at, say, 9:05 (it's not like 9:15 is so much cooler). Still, the evening was exactly what you needed -- even with all the stages it took to make it happen.


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