When you’re a parent and you’re in a relationship, it can be easy to get out of the habit of going out with just your other half. When you’re an adoptive parent, it can be even harder. Separation anxiety and a whole host of other things can make leaving our children with other caregivers difficult.
But making time for your relationship is so important. It helps to improve your mood and allows you to really talk and reconnect which can be hard to do with kids around.
Just because you can’t leave the house, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a date night. One of the things we talked about with our social worker during Stage 2 was self-care and what that meant for us. We both said finding the time to cook a nice meal for just the two of us was really important for us as a couple.
It’s something we try and do every weekend. We don’t always cook, sometimes we get a takeaway. But we try and sit down, just the two of us, and enjoy a meal together on our own. Making time for us is so important. And staying in is so much easier than having to arrange babysitters, taxis, and deciding what to wear.
If you want your date night to include a meal but you’re running short of time, you don’t even have to cook. Getting a meal from a takeaway or delivered from a restaurant is just as good (if not better!).
And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to get planning your date night in. Here are three tips to give you some ideas.
Cook a meal together
For most of us, a delicious, home-cooked meal is just the ticket when it comes to reconnecting with our partners and spending some quality time together. When your parents, this can be a bit more challenging to achieve, but with a bit of planning it can help you to create a date night of dreams.
- Plan what you’re going to eat. This sounds obvious but planning means you can buy all of the ingredients in advance so no last-minute panic when you discover you don’t have something vital (just me?!).
- Use a recipe box. There are a range of recipe boxes out there that take the stress out of planning and buying ingredients. Gousto, Hello Fresh, and The Mindful Chef are just some of the options. They all tend to have introductory offers and you can cancel at any time. They provide the exact ingredients you need and easy-to-follow recipe cards to help you create a memorable meal.
- Get a delivery from a local restaurant. A lot of local restaurants started delivery services during the Covid pandemic and many have continued with this service so you can bring the restaurant to you.
Involve the kids
Depending on the ages of your kids, getting them involved can help them to be part of the experience. Ask them to help you decide what to make, create a shopping list, order the ingredients online or go shopping if that’s possible, and ask them to help you prepare things like cutting up vegetables, making a sauce, or a cake for dessert.
If your kids are a bit older, they could even be your waiters and serve the food for you.
The level of involvement they have will, of course, depend on their age and whether it’s something they (and you) are likely to enjoy.
Have a board game night
Having a stay-at-home date night doesn’t have to involve having a meal. Think of things you enjoy doing together as a couple. If you enjoy going to the cinema, watch a film at home. Get the type of snacks you’d normally have at the cinema, turn the lights down, and enjoy a movie together once the kids are in bed.
Or, if you love a good game of Cluedo or Monopoly, have a board game evening. Again, snacks are probably a must, something nice to drink and set up your favourite board game. Add in some of your favourite tunes and you’re good to go.
An evening like this doesn’t require much planning so could be a great spontaneous date night option.
Date night: A walk down memory lane
A great way to reconnect with your partner is to talk. Get out some old photo albums or images on your phone or tablet and talk about the memories they bring back. Reminiscing can also be good for your mental health by helping to boost your mood and strengthen family bonds.
They could be photos from when you first met, your childhood, or when your kids were little. Anything that helps you to reconnect and share memories about the good times and the bad.
Looking back on memories might inspire you to want to book a family trip back to the place where you first met, or somewhere you visited when you were a child that you think your kids would love to go to too.
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