Remember dating before kids?
When you got dressed up to go on a date? When you tried on multiple outfits while your husband watched football and patiently waited for you. And when you finally made your entrance, his jaw dropped and he remembered how lucky he was to have married you? And vice-versa?
Fast-forward 13+ years and 3 kids........
Our last FIVE attempts at date night have been thwarted. Twice to a sick Owen, twice to icy roads, and once to a migraine. Seriously?
So we finally gave up and did the next best thing.
A Monday lunch followed by running errands together.
(I know. Our lives are so exciting you just can't stand it.)
Was it totally worth it?
But it was still not the same as a Friday night reprieve from the dinner and bedtime routine. The bedtime routine that's also known as "look at how inquisitive, insightful, and thirsty my kid gets when it's time to go to bed" in the parenting world.
So in case you're married but don't have kids yet, let me help you. This may save you some heartbreak down the road. I would hate for you to suffer the delusions that dating your spouse after kids is the same as before. That's like saying your body won't change after pregnancy. And that's just downright hilarious.
Here's my list. Don't say I never gave you anything:
1. I know you're probably tempted to wear a shirt that shows of your toned belly. I did that too. Don't. Find something that hides that toned belly. Preferably a black mumu. That way, years down the road, when that cute little belly has turned into a roll of gushing waves full of saggy skin and your black mumu is too small, your husband won't have anything to look back and compare it to.
2. Instead of putting on lots of makeup to make your already perfect skin look even better, try drawing on an extra chin and some forehead wrinkles with your eyeliner. Then put makeup on one eye but forget the other because that's what happens when you're getting ready for a date with kids and your son poops and you have to go wipe his bottom and you wash your hands before finishing your make-up, and then while washing your hands you realize you never finished the dishes and now it's three hours later and you're sitting at the restaurant looking like a foxy lady, but only on one side of your face.
3. You probably have money right now and so your tempted to go to a fancy restaurant with awesome drinks and atmosphere. Try chilis instead, but only if you have a groupon. If not, McDonalds and Taco Bell are pretty cheap. And make sure you split a meal because the price of that second entree needs to go into the savings account for swim lessons or basketball or piano, or in our case, formula for our five year old. What's more important? You getting your own entree or your son being able to play on a basketball team that doesn't keep score during the games because apparently that would be cruel.......
4. Remember staring into each others eyes? Now this is called "checking to make sure the other person is still awake." If they are, great. If not, no judgement; just be glad they're finally getting some rest. Plus, you get to eat their portion of the entree now while they nap. It's a win for everyone. Oh also, on this note, you should probably have sex before you leave on your date because after 7:00pm hits in the parenting world, our bodies and limbs are no longer our own and the only thing we want is sleep or a minute to ourselves with nobody touching us. And I mean NOBODY.
5. When the check comes, instead of him graciously paying, you get to play the game of let's both search our wallets, pockets, and even the booth cushions to see if we can scrape together enough money to pay for the this meal.This is of course after asking the waiter if anybody in the restaurant did that whole "pay it forward" thing with your bill? Unfortunately they didn't.
6. When you're leaving the restaurant and your aging digestive system finally starts processing the cheap processed crap you couldn't afford, don't worry about letting it rip. You lost all modesty in the birthing room. And he did too apparently.
7. Don't even think about dessert or a movie or a bar. It's after 7:00pm for crying out loud. Your yoga pants and Friends re-runs are ALL YOU CAN THINK ABOUT.
8. Last but not least and this is probably the most important piece of advice:
Do not, I repeat do not attempt any of these steps before you are safely married. On the other hand, if you do, you will probably be able to enjoy a child-free dating life for much longer.
And that's Dating With Kids in the Real World.