This I know...
I guess years and year of babysitting my younger siblings one night a week for my parents so they could go on date night, planted a little seed in my heart that I am not fully enjoying the fruit of. It doesn't happen every single week of the year, but we do try.
Usually it's dinner and a movie, but sometimes we go crazy and head to the local bookstore instead. I must confess though, although one of my favorite things to do on date night, we immediately separate once in the store. Literally. He usually heads to something weird like books on..."How to learn a foreign language" or "Trigonometry for Dummies" or classical books & poetry. I too, seek out intellectual [thin] books---sometimes referred by some as magazines. I use to lean towards scrapbooking ones, but after my almost now two year hiatus from scrapbooking [gasp], I have been leaning towards books on decorating, dieting, and photography. Equally as education as numbers and Shakespeare right?
All joking aside, it's just nice to get out of the house once a week and catch up with my husband. To date him again. It's a great time to catch up on conversations we couldn't finish throughout the week because we kept getting interrupted with..."mommy, mommy, mom, mom, mama, mama...". It doesn't have to be fancy, we've eaten at one end of the spectrum and back. It just has to be without kids. Can I say that? We love them, but it's nice to have 2-5 hours to ourselves out in public like normal pre-kid couples. It takes me almost the whole night to even remember how to eat with two hands instead of one. Oh, and enjoy the silence in the car. I have been known to turn around and yell at empty carseats. Just sayin' #habits
It costs us money, but it's just in our budget to make a point to get a babysitter and go out. When we are tight, we usually have some sweet family members taking pity on us, or friends willing to trade babysitting. If you don't have family near you willing to help, see if there is another couple you can trust and take turns watching each other's children. Like I said, although dinner and a movie is very common, it can be very expensive too. We haven't thought twice before when eating dinner at home, making a coffee and taking it to the local bookstore---which costs $0.
And if babysitting isn't an option in this season of your lives, then make a point to make an in home date. Kinda like a staycation. Let's just be honest, it's not like going out, but hey---if you make it special---it is. Google it. There are plently of inexpensive ways to spend time together---just the two of you. If nothing else you'll realize A) you're doing a great job as parents and your kids sleep so quietly in their bed, it's like they aren't there, or B) you haven't trained your children and they keep coming down the stairs a million time so you decide to finally train them to stay in their beds all night. It's a win-win either way.
I say all this to say, if you're married, and date nights have been hit or miss. Make them a hit. Every week. Plan. Prepare. Brainstorm. Get a sitter. Trade a sitter. Show a bit lip to your mother or mother in law. Do anything, but take your kids to dinner and a movie with you and thinking no one else will notice. We do. We are on a date too, that's why we left our kids at home. I'm teasing. [Kind of]
A successful date night can be summed up by this...
---you are both so full you're sick
---you get a phone call in which daddy has to get on the phone and threaten to come home
---you thought that glass of wine would make you more friendly, but now you're just sleeply
---[or] that warm cup of coffee you romantically shared is now keeping you up well past your bedtime, but just you, because...
---the other person falling asleep on the couch upon entering the house
---you ended up seeing ANOTHER guy movie
---it was what it was, but you still can't wait till next week!
So my jewel on day 3---go out on a date. Doesn't have to be the same night of the week, doesn't have to be expensive, doesn't have to be perfect and by no means are you required to actually have a clean shirt on or pants without baby spit up and snot rubbed all over---although I highly recommend something that resembles you are still a woman and not just a daycare worker.
This, my friends, for bonus points.