"I'm fed up with date night."
One of the hardest things for dads to deal with is the sense of routine that comes with parenthood. Once, we were young and free, without a care in the world. (Stop rolling your eyes. That's how we like to remember it.) Now everything is scheduled, planned to the nth degree, and endlessly repeated to the point that even date night starts to feel predictable and pressured.
Getting out with you once every two years (I mean, two weeks) should be a fun evening of escape, but all too often it ends up feeling like more of the same. From the anxiety of having to spend what has to be 500 bucks just to have dinner with that couple who likes to order too many bottles of expensive wine, to the worry that we're going to have to pay the babysitter for another hour if we don't leave now, to listening to you stress about how the kids are doing, date night can be a real downer.
Instead, we're dying for something more spontaneous. Go on a date day: Call in sick, drop the kids off at school, and have lunch and a couple of glasses of wine. Engage in silly public displays of affection. Go to a 1 p.m. movie where there's nobody else in the audience. If date day isn't in the cards, then stick with date night, but don't plan anything this time --just get out and go wherever the night takes you.
"I want more guy time."
Now that I've told you how we really feel about date night, you should know something else: Even though you're our best friend, the mother of our wonderful children, and the love of our lives, this Friday night we'd really like to hang out with our buddies and watch Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, complete with commentary by Ricardo Montalban.
Please don't make us feel even more guilty about it: We know we never get to go out and do stuff together; we know we constantly complain about how we just want to spend quality time together (i.e., have sex); and we know we promised you a night at the ballet. But as much as we love you, you're, well, not a guy. And now that we're dads, what we need is to blow off some steam with our buddies. A little absence makes the heart grow fonder, especially when we're able to swill beer, belch, call our friends names you'd find offensive, and make stupid jokes you'd be embarrassed to hear me say. You know the phrase that inside every man there's a little boy? Actually, he's a big dumb teenager, and if you let him go hang out with his friends every now and then, he'll come home a better man.
So how about we call that expensive but totally trustworthy new babysitter with an MA in creative arts therapy and, as crazy as it sounds, go on separate date nights? Maybe that's not technically date night, but you can go hang out with your book club and discuss the revelations and disappointments in that new novel by the guy who wrote The Kite Runner, and we'll check in on our "loser" best friend who's "still single and always will be because he's a total slimeball." Later on, I bet we'll both be really glad to see each other again.