NO PHONES! And Other Rules for the Too Rare Date Night

Ohmygosh, you are actually going to get a night away from the kids or the job. A night you can eat your dinner without some little creature crawling all over you or your boss breathing down your neck. A night someone else cooks AND cleans. A night you can fix your hair and wear high heels and do your eyelashes a favor with some mascara (Remember mascara? You might not, since it has been months since you took the time to dress up).

It’s date night, and it is long overdue. Who knows when your next one will be? Take advantage of the night and use these guidelines to get the most out of it.

Date Night Rule No. 1: Plan in Advance

Set up everything ahead of time so there are no last-minute headaches, as your kids are sure to supply those on their own. Line up and pay the sitter in advance. Make reservations. Look at the menu online and have an idea of what you want to order. Plan what you are wearing. If you do everything possible ahead of time, you minimize the risk of something going wrong.

Also, if the kids throw spaghetti on the walls or fight about doing their homework, you have an extra 20 minutes to clean up the mess.

Date Night Rule No. 2: No Phones

You live and die by your smartphone, we know. You manage your calendar, respond to emails and yes, we know you check Facebook at work. It’s OK – everyone does. But on date night, you do not need to look at what tomorrow’s appointments are and you definitely do not need to see what your friends are doing. Let the sitter know where you are going so in case of emergency, they can call the restaurant.

Then, do the unthinkable: Leave your phone at home. Or in the car. Just anywhere away from where you are. You really don’t need it. Parents went on dates all the time without phones, like when you were a kid, remember?

Date Night Rule No. 3: Cut the Small Talk

You already know what your husband does for work, and you both know your kids pretty well, so there is no point in talking about either. Talking about your job or home life might just lead to stress or even an argument, and nothing ruins date night like rolling eyes or an “I told you so.” Save that kind of chatter for another time. On date night, talk about the things you never get to, like the things you talked about before you had kids.

Date Night Rule No. 4: Have Fun

Date night is supposed to be fun, that is the entire point. This is your escape from the chaos of your house or your job or bills, so enjoy it. Maybe your idea of fun is trying a new restaurant or have a second (or third?) glass of wine. The point is to enjoy this time with your spouse. Use date night to remember why you fell in love – his sense of humor, his interest in your interests and the way his eyes light up when he sees you. Laugh. Hold each other’s hands. Sneak in a kiss at dinner. And maybe tell the sitter you’ll be home a little late, just because you can.