Wednesday, December 9, 2009

we went on a date

image found here

That's right. We actually went on a date! Let me explain why this is such a miracle.
  1. We have kids. They prevent us from spending time together alone.
  2. We have ZERO family members where we live to lend a helping hand.
  3. Sometimes we make babysitting arrangements with friends and they cancel on us because they are either busy with families and children of their own, or they are single and have better things to do.
  4. There is one teenager in the neighborhood that I trust and she goes to her dad's every other week.
  5. HF's schedule. 'Nuff said.
My childhood friend who actually lives in the same city as me, volunteers once in a while to take the kids, sometimes for a weekend. She is single and busy professionally and socially, so it's a rare occurrence, but we snatch it up when she offers because she is one of those people that knows exactly what to do with kids and we don't worry one bit when she has them. I feel fortunate to have her in my life and that my kids think of her as one of their aunties. She is the reason we had this date.

I know that dating isn't just a problem for police families/couples. But in the last few weeks I have felt like everything comes back to HF's job. We make plans, and he has to go in to work. We make plans again and he forgot that he was signed up to do some overtime work and no one can cover. We make plans, but because his days off fall on a Sunday and Monday, those days are just too awkward for someone to babysit, especially a teenager who has school the next day. This teenager I mentioned by the way charges $1 per kid per hour. That's kind of an unbelievable deal if you can get her.

We have some friends with kids that we trade babysitting with once in a while. The idea is to do it once a week. We would go out every Monday night on a date and they could go out another day of the week and we will babysit. Sometimes it works out, but mostly it seems like there is a lot of canceling because of things that come up in both our lives. I finally told HF that I think that the devil doesn't want us to go on dates. We try to have dates at home, but sometimes a girl's just gotta go out with her man. And if you have kids, you spend a lot of time in your house without other adults, so staying in is sometimes the last option you have in mind.

Dating has really been on my mind a lot lately. The year that HF spent in the academy and was working full time, I was also pregnant and was caring for 2 other children. I never saw HF except in passing and when he had a day off he spent it sleeping. Of course, I've never been able to leave a baby with someone else very easily. It seems like it takes me until they are 2 or 3 to be comfortable leaving them for a few hours. So if we did go out, I was anxious the whole time being away from our baby. One night I went to applebees to get a late dinner for HF and myself. It was packed! It was karaoke night. I remembered that I loved karaoke and late nights out together. Then I remembered that it had been too long since we had really gone out and dated other than the occasional movie. I love watching movies, but that was quickly becoming the last thing I wanted to do when we had a chance to go out. I remember being filled with so much sadness and self pity at that moment. I wanted to be at one of those tables with friends enjoying the karaoke. I wanted to be one of those couples that had family living near by so we could help each other out with our kids. Why was this so difficult?

We have both made it a goal to go on a weekly date. I know that some of these dates will have to be at home before he goes to work or on one of his days off. I would like HF to be in charge of 2 of the 4 dates. Our challenges: Getting creative at thinking of dates at home and BABYSITTING. I would like to get some of your ideas on how you date your significant other whether at home or out. I'm curious what HF will come up with. I'll probably have to remind him when it's his turn to be in charge. And I'm serious when I say that for the last 8 years whenever I tell HF that I want to go do something fun, he asks me if I 1. want to go bowling and 2. if I want to go ice skating. Without fail! In fact he asked me if I wanted to do one of those 2 things today. I asked him if I agreed to go bowling if he would stop asking me if I want to go bowling. I suspect we will end up having to do a lot more dating at home than going out because of our current situation. I seriously can't wait until our daughter is old enough to babysit. 5 more years? What do you guys do for dating and babysitting if you need it?


Damsel Underdressed said...

I wish I lived closer! I'd babysit for you! :)

This is one of the advantages of being divorced. I have a babysitter everyother weekend!

Indubitably and I will sometimes just go have a couple drinks at a quiet bar. Or if we stay in, we'll watch something on a comedy channel after I make some special dinner. Sometimes our "dates" involve him swinging by while he's working a midnight and I run outside to steal a kiss.

What about wine and a card/board game? Do you have a fireplace? How about sipping cocoa and making s'mores?

Slamdunk said...

We have not been on a date in years for many of the same reasons that you list. I applaud you on your effort though.

Natalie said...

Wish I could be of more help, but I'm actually looking forward to other comments as well on how to make it work.

We even have both sides of family living near by so finding babysitters isn't always the problem (sometimes it is...) A lot of it his in his ever fluctuating schedule so we can't do anything consistent, which I've been told works the best.

One thing I've been trying to do with him is what we call hubby/wife night with other young family friends in which we meet at one couple's home (which changes) for dinner and games once a month (more achievable than trying every week).

It's always pretty relaxed but WAY fun. Everyone can relate with having kiddies, so that makes it easier.

The few times sitters couldn't be found, they would bring the kids and leave them loosely monitored in the playroom.

Again, sorry I'm not being much help. Can't wait to hear from on what works!

mrsofficer said...

OHH BABYSITTING is a pain! But because we pay that is why im happy we go to the movies free!(see my last post)And thats usually what we do. The hubs and I also switch off who plans as we have different taste. When we are doing a dinner we try to never go to the same restaurant.Our date are early weekdays as they are his DO. So unless its monday night football somewhere no alcohol will be involved lol. But I do got out once a month on a girls night out. And thats when we do stuff like karaoke or whatever...What to do , their job is all consuming. All I ask is its off topics and phone off when its me and him!

mrsofficer said...

ps what about an early day date??? when that teenager gets outta school?

LOUD n PROUD said...

I am extremely lucky and blessed to have so many babysitters-so thats never been problem.We don't go to the movies,I would fall asleep!Dh always wants to go eat first no matter what we are going to do,we sometimes go around visiting people,family and friends-that way the kids can't nag us to go home,or we have a local pub we go to,like right at the corner from us,they serve dinner and have a live band.Every once in a while we will send the kids to stay with their friends or my fam so we can have the house to ourselves,thats great.Maybe you should check into the local church see if anyone does babysitting?maybe check out the local high school too?My dd does babysitting for our fam n friends now that she is older,I'll ship her to you,she is great :)

Anonymous said...

Nannying is HUGE where I live. I am a nanny...hahaha. I would suggest posting an ad in the newspaper or even better-a college's website asking for someone to watch your kids once a week. Tell them what you'll pay, too. The college I attend has a jobsearch site specifically for the students and there are over 35 listings for babysitting opportunities. Good luck!

The Bus Driver said...

Will babysit for free, if i can have use of your washer and dryer.


Jillian said...

ALL of our family is close so we never are short for babysitters, thankfully. However, because I breastfeed our youngest still, it's SO hard to leave her... I'm with you on that one! It's hard to leave them when they are so small. I'm a total fan of late night dinners after the girls go to bed. A few weeks ago I made a fancy dinner and for us late at night and then we watched a movie. It was the perfect at home date! Another fun at home "date" is to make some fun appetizer/snack type foods and just talk and relax together.

Anonymous said...

If you have a group of friends who know and trust each other you can start a babysitting co-op/swap group. There are websites for it or you can do it with a yahoo group. I'm considering setting one up. You get points for joining the group and then pay points when you need a sitter and earn points when you sit for someone. So, it's fair for everybody. You can get sitting if you don't sit and get some points.

We too have struggled in this area. My parents are close and watch him a lot. But, we still need some other options. As much as our friends offer to sit for us, nobody is ever available. Since hubby graduated academy five weeks ago we've been out once I think. I too and looking for answers as well.

I told hubby I want us to trade off weeks planning dates at home. Some ideas:

• Football date - Watched the Cowboy game and eat our fave football foods, brats, queso, beer, etc.
• Late Night Wine and Cheese
• Picnic in your room after the kids are in bed
• Bake something together, cookies, brownies, etc. Maybe something a little more labor intensive than just the usual.
• Set up the living room with some dance music and dance the night away

Can't think of anything else. There's a good book that my pastor wrote called The Creative Marriage. It's by Ed Young. I haven't yet read it, but have heard good things. He's all about keeping the marriage first. He also has Kid CEO which is about how to keep your kids from running your life. Other than that, I'd try doing a google search on date nights at home.

Commchick said...

My LEO and I are not married, just trying to date and already it is difficult. I have only seen him three times this year, but we talk constantly on the phone. He is also in the guard which makes his availability even less. I understand too well about making plans and having to cancel because of obligations. However, to me, he is worth it and I will continue to stand by him. Hope you and yours have a great holiday and may the new year be even better for all of us.

firefighter / paramedic said...

We are in the same situation. No family and unwilling friends nearby. We got a date night just Sat night. We went to a new restaurant and one hour into our date we were done with dinner(not that good). We didn't want to waste the babysitter so we ended up at a dive bar which was full of cowboys (yuck) fans watching football. We were kinda bored so we returned home and went to sleep. SUPER EXCITING!