3 Alternatives to “Date Night” when you don’t have childcare

3 Alternatives to “Date Night” when you don’t have childcare

I see so many posts on blogs talking about the importance of having a social life and quality time with your partner. I’ve read a lot recently about how to make the most of your time together and why it’s essential you make an effort to spend quality time alone. I get it. I really do. But we don’t all have access to babysitters.

For me, I’m an older mum with a family that I could count on one hand – well actually two fingers as I don’t think I can count my great granny with dementia in my “potential child-minders” count. I am the youngest one in my family bar my two year old. There are various limitations on what they can do, and if you throw a child that doesn’t sleep through the night, or go to bed easily, it’s not a winning combination.

My husband’s family is larger but dispersed throughout the UK. We’re talking about having to get on flights to visit here. When we do visit, social occasions are largely family affairs so it’s home early or one of us staying in on Small Boy Watch – typically me as I’m usually the non-drinker.

That leaves friends – those with their own kids our son’s age battling their own sleep problems and exhaustion. It’s one thing looking after another toddler for a few hours, but when they’re barely two, dumping your semi insomniac child with a big personality on someone else isn’t exactly fair.

I’m sure when he is older or sleeps through like a regular person then it will be easier, but for now it isn’t. I’m sure we can’t be the only ones in this situation. I’m sure there are single parents and older carers and guardians and a whole host of people in our boat.

We’ve had to be creative with ways to enjoy quality time together, at least creating the illusion that we’re grown-ups and can enjoy adulting. I thought I’d share them for the benefit of those who might be feeling a bit disheartened and missing their “parent” time.

City Breaks

This is the term we have affectionately coined for sitting in a car park drinking coffee while Small Boy naps in the car seat. We now know the location of every Costa and Starbuck with a drive thru option in a 10 mile radius. (vague disclaimer about Hubs coming up with this and he probably picked it up off a meme)

Lunch Out

I keep a tight rein on our budget so we can afford treats like having lunch out every couple of weeks. Small Boy is with us, but at two he’s now at an age when he is happy to doodle, or just chat with us, as we have some adult food in an adult restaurant. Franky and Benny’s, Nando’s and Las Iguanas are particular favourites. It might not be ideal or an exciting night out, but if we do want to talk about some adult stuff, Small Boy is happy enough colouring, and worse comes to worse we whip out the iPad (no accusations of lazy parenting please!)

Eat late and eat well

Once in a while, don’t eat together in the evening as a family. Sort out the kids and get them into bed and you stave off hunger with a few rice cakes. Make something for dinner which you wouldn’t typically let the kids have – spicy curry, pizza, a “2 Dine for a £10” meal. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you like it! Throw in a bottle of wine and you’re almost adults again. We use this opportunity to watch an adult film – not the wink wink, nudge nudge type, more an action film which would be a bit too much for a toddler.

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  1. 21st February 2018 / 9:42 pm

    Chris and I are trying to have a little bit of couple time this year, great for planning the wedding too! #sharingthebloglove

  2. 21st February 2018 / 2:22 pm

    I totally ageee it can be so hard to have date nights when you don’t have anyone to call on for
    Childcare. We try to do the same as you with lunches and having dinner together (but doing something a little more exciting than the usual)! Thanks for linking this to #thursdayteam

  3. 20th February 2018 / 7:43 am

    There are some great ideas here for date nights and it is so hard to go on one when you haven’t got family around you. A £10 M and S meal deal is a real winner. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

  4. 19th February 2018 / 8:57 pm

    We struggle for child care to have date nights. Whilst I’m sad my youngest daughter starts school in September, it does mean we can have the odd lunch date together. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • 19th February 2018 / 8:59 pm

      So many others have said the same. I’m relieved as I’ve always got the impression (from Facebook) in particular that everyone is off having date nights and going out “to keep romance alive”. I knew we couldn’t be the only ones who struggle.

  5. 19th February 2018 / 8:02 pm

    Nice ideas, and I hope to implement one or two of these very soon! #fortheloveofBLOG xoxo

  6. 18th February 2018 / 7:30 pm

    We struggle finding time for date nights too – my parents do a lot of childcare for my sister, and both have committments with their own elderly parents, and my husband’s parents aren’t up to looking after children. These are great creative ideas – sometimes needs must! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  7. 17th February 2018 / 8:16 pm

    great ideas. we are too far from Family and our youngest doesn’t sleep well so our chance for date night’s is pretty none existent. #sharingthebloglove

    • 18th February 2018 / 2:36 pm

      Same here. Only my mum near us and she is in poor health, or my uncle who is partially sighted and doesn’t drive. I love my coffee breaks or lunches out though, and I don’t actually mind having Small Boy in tow.

  8. 16th February 2018 / 3:35 pm

    With Ben’s age its hard to have date nights, however, we often go out places at the weekends with Ben and he’s really good in restaurants so sometimes its nice to carry on similar to how we were pre-babies!
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

    • 16th February 2018 / 3:51 pm

      We love eating out together. It doesn’t bother me not going out in the evenings or things like that. Give me jeans and a nice lunch out of coffee and cake any day!

  9. 16th February 2018 / 8:40 am

    Oh wow, if giving the kid a tablet to amuse it in order to have some time to yourself, or to have an adult conversation with your partner, is lazy parenting then I’m lazy, loud, and proud!
    I feel your pain with the dispersed family, mine is too. 🙁

  10. 15th February 2018 / 11:10 pm

    These are some great ideas! I find getting child care in the day for a day date much easier as it doesn’t involve getting a toddler to sleep! An afternoon cinema date is fun and then we pick up the toddler from the in laws and have a normal bedtime at home. #ThursdayTeam

    • 16th February 2018 / 5:41 am

      We are in the same position. One or two people we could call on for a couple of hours on an afternoon, but it’s a big ask to try and get a two year old to bed. Especially one who doesn’t always stay in bed for the first few hours.

  11. mummy here and there
    15th February 2018 / 7:21 pm

    Come back over from #thursdayteam I do like a morning date where we have breakfast whilst one child is at school and the other is at nursery. We actually talk like adults, yay! X

    • 15th February 2018 / 7:55 pm

      You must grab those moments when you can! X

  12. mummy here and here
    15th February 2018 / 10:57 am

    Fab ideas to do with a loved.one X #bloggersclubuk

  13. 15th February 2018 / 1:18 am

    Such good ideas for convenient date nights. I only have one potential babysitter so going out just isn’t an option unless it’s a very important occasion…as it’s valentines tonight we did your last tip…we fed the kids an easy tea and had a home cooked dinner for ourselves later and a film 🙂 x #fortheloveofBLOG

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