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How Often Do You Go On Date Nights?

Taylor Newman

Aaron and I went on a date last night. Just us—no babies allowed. Aaron's mom drove down from Dallas, and we all had dinner together. Then we put Kaspar to bed as usual, and the two of us hit the town. Actually, we hit The Elephant Room, a great little basement-level jazz club here in Austin (intimate, casual setting with an upscale musical palate), and lucked into seeing Tameca Jones and her phenomenal band; this woman was wearing a sequin jumper and rocked a version of “Summertime” like you wouldn’t believe. Date night score. We walked around the block afterward, holding hands and talking, and then headed home just before midnight. We were surprised to hear that Kaspar hadn’t woken once while we were out, and thus we resumed our parenting roles, relaxed and romanced, and ready to make this a habit.

Several good friends have put forth standing offers to cover date night baby-watch, and we’re planning to take them up on it. I babysat for years, handling dinner, playtime and bedtime for families with multiple children, many of them much smaller than Kaspar-- and I was, like, fourteen at the time. I was completely responsible (and fun) with those kids, but now, as a mom, I’m not comfortable hiring a teenager to cover my Saturday night shift (maybe because we’ve had some real emergencies, fairly recently)… but good friends— that, for sure, will be fine. It takes a village and all.

We’ve waited this long because of Kaspar’s allergy stuff (bedtime didn’t really count for much until recently), and because we’ve been so busy working and just keeping up with daily domestic demands. We’ve gone out without Kaspar for a few daytime excursions, and a few at night, but I can count all of those on one hand (Taliesen in Wisconsin, Black Swan in the theater—Aaron did the tattoo animation in the sex scene!). Our general approach, when it’s come to evening parties, meetings or social engagements, has been to take turns and trade off. We’re good sports, and we play fair—we’ve never argued about whose turn it is or anything—but this system neglects a crucial component in our lives together, one that’s easy to overlook when two people spend as much time together as Aaron and I do: us. Just us.

Aaron opened doors for me last night, and went to the bar for our drinks while I chose our table. We sat across from each other before the band went on, and our conversation had an entirely different pace than it does when we are three; we weren’t jumping up to prevent Kaspar from falling off of furniture, or racing through subjects like ‘So what do you need to do tomorrow?’. We simply relaxed into each other’s company, laughed at each other’s jokes, had fun… remembered why we got married in the first place.

It’s not that either of us had forgotten, either. I love Aaron all the time, and tell him so. But I think it’s important, as we emerge from an epic first year with baby and move comfortably toward the middle of year two, to make space for sharing the non-parenting parts of ourselves on a regular basis. Not just in the midst of family life— we do relate to and appreciate each other as ‘whole’ people, no matter the context—but also in some designated space and time for us. Just us.

How frequently do you go on date nights? What are your favorite things to do? Do you notice a difference in your marriage with date nights in the picture? What’s your babysitter setup? Don’t you just love soft lighting, mascara and heels?