I should get one thing out of the way before I go any further. I’m not a fan of the term “date night”. It seems a bit trite and a bit not very “us” as a couple. However, for the purpose of this post the “parents date night” is a very apt name.
Let me explain. Until last Friday night we hadn’t had a proper “date night” in over two years. I’m talking a meal in a restaurant, dressing up in something other than pyjamas, leisurely pre-dinner drinks in a pub… the works.
Like many couples, our main issue has been childcare. As Baby Girl was always such an unreliable sleeper I was hesitant to leave her with a babysitter until recently. The thought of getting a call from a panicked sitter while my baby screamed in the background just put me off the idea completely.
In our quest for some sort of social life aside from Netflix we’ve compromised and had nights out with friends separately, taking it in turns to stay in with the kids. That’s all well and good but (aside from his annoying habit of not putting his dirty laundry in the wash basket) I quite like my husband and rather enjoy spending time with him.
That’s where the Fairy Godmother of the parent world stepped in and gave us a break. The website Childcare.co.uk is a fantastic resource for parents like us who want to find a local babysitter. You can also look up local nannies, childminders, private tutors and maternity nurses – to name but a few. I signed up to the site, popped in my postcode and did a search of babysitters within a 5 mile radius.
You can send messages via the site (although you need a paid account for this facility) which makes it even easier to organise a chat with a potential babysitter – you don’t even need to pick up the phone. I found a lovely looking lady who lived less than two miles away. Not only was she available Friday and Saturday evenings (result) but she was working as a teaching assistant and part-time nanny. I messaged her and within a week she’d been round to meet the kids and have a cup of tea – just as much to check us out as vice versa!
Friday night rolled around and I won’t say I wasn’t a little nervous. The only people I’ve ever left the girls with before is my parents (aside from an evening at a hotel which included a babysitter – but they were only in the room upstairs so that doesn’t really count!). Funnily enough, two gin and tonics down and the nerves started to go.
I did all the usual stuff you do when you leave your kids with a babysitter – stocked up on chocolate, left Netflix running, wrote down a million “in case of emergency” phone numbers and stuck them to the fridge.
The evening itself was perfectly low key. We went to a pub (I got far too excited about being in a pub in the actual evening with actual adults around) and then for a curry. We ate spicy food and didn’t need to worry about a suitable kids’ menu. We chatted without having to take it in turns to walk around the restaurant with an inquisitive toddler. It was bliss.
Afterwards we went back to the pub for a drink before getting a taxi home and returning to a quiet house. There were no kids wailing – they’d not even woken up – and the house was still intact. Bonus.
The best thing (aside from the king prawn curry, of course)? It went so well we’ve decided to make it a regular event. Even if we don’t go for the full works of a three course meal, just to have an evening outside of the house in a different atmosphere was so lovely.
We’re definitely guilty of not always appreciating each other – it can be hard to find time for each other when you’ve got a kid hanging off each leg – and getting out of the house together proved to be just what we needed. It was also rather nice to wear something other than my pyjamas on a Friday night.
If you’re looking for a solution to a lack of date night in the diary then I thoroughly recommend having a look at Childcare.co.uk. I’m their new biggest fan.
Thanks to Childcare.co.uk for working with me on this post and for being our Fairy Godmother for the evening. All opinions and words are my own. For more information about how I work with brands check out my Work With Me page.