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Desperate Times

This post was originally published July 17, 2012, and is being republished as a reminder that I desperately need a date night.

(disclaimer: this post has been approved by my husband who would like another night out with his amazing wife…)

To say that the week had been rough would be an understatement {I’m talking the kind of understatement that makes one question the speaker’s sanity}.  From the five days without childcare to the slice and dice hairdo to the twenty-four hour sojourn in the wilds of Appalachia, it was the kind of week that can break a person, driving them to eat an entire candy bar in one sitting or stare at the computer screen, paralyzed and unable to do anything more than listen to Heavy D and dream of a simpler time when the only thing on the to-do list was deciding what to do now that we’d found love.

But the worst moment of the entire debacle that was my final moments of June came when my husband did something he will probably allow me to call idiotic that made me mad in an “again? really?” kind of way (which we all know is the worst kind of mad that that there is).

Here is the thing about being angry with your spouse during what even your governor admits is a state of emergency.  You have to talk to him anyway.  Granted, the change in sleeping arrangements brought about by the power outage and escape to a power source was convenient because it placed my snuggly six year old next to me each night instead of the offender, but still there was much that had to be discussed.  How many days should we try to ride it out with no power?  If we flee, where should we go?  Do we want to stop at Cracker Barrel or T.G.I.Friday’s for lunch during the drive north?

So we made it through the end of the crazy as pleasantly as possible with me occasionally and calmly reminding him not to mistake my agreeable and uncharacteristically cooperative demeanor for forgiveness, and when the power returned, we carried on with our pre-storm lives, dropping the kids at camp, focusing on work, returning to the daily grind.

Only the “again? really?” lingered in my house. It threw me into a funk that even Salt-n-Pepa couldn’t drag me out of no matter how many times they insisted that I push it good (push it real good).  That’s when I opened a new tab, typed the F that alerted my browser to tap into my Facebook addiction, and saw a friend’s status update: “It’s datenight!”

It’s what?  Because I *think* it’s Tuesday and I *think* we are all eating mac and cheese tonight with our kids like everyone else in America.    And then I let out a deep sigh that surprised even me.  And I realized that desperate times call for desperate measures, and surely as I sat there with my sadly bandaged finger and my overwhelmingly full inbox and Snap! telling me I’ve Got the Power!, it was time to do something.  Anything.

It was time to find our first babysitter.

Now before you gasp and proclaim the insanity of waiting until my kids were six and eight before hiring some bubbly neighborhood teen to sit at my house, let me explain that my husband and I have had date nights.  However, those date nights have really just been the two of us going out to eat and returning immediately home where my parents have been hanging out with the kids eating wacky macs.  Did I mention that my parents live nearly four hours away?  That means that our date nights have in the past required overnight houseguests.  I love my parents and enjoy when they visit, but for those of you who are visual learners, let me help you out:

This graphic clearly illustrates how needing to host houseguests in order to have a night out with your spouse is diametrically opposed to actually reducing stress through said evening out.

That is when I turned to my often monitored but rarely used neighborhood Yahoo! group and posted something a bit more sensibly written than this that essentially said:

“May kill my husband (stop) Please send help (stop) NOW (stop)”

Within minutes the other listserv stalkers were responding, and my inbox began to fill up with messages that all resembled the following:

“My child babysits, has never maimed or killed a child, and needs to come to your house as soon and as often as possible because should she roll her eyes or ask me for money one more time, I may need to be medicated.”

And with that I had a babysitter booked for two nights later.

I texted my husband to let him know what I had done, and his questions regarding why and for what purpose simply solidified how desperate the need.  Thursday arrived and as I opened the door to a smiling sixteen year old, I realized that I didn’t even know this child’s name. I knew her mom’s name, because we had arranged for this bouncy savior to appear at my door. I knew her rates because my husband confirmed that he had the thirty bucks it would cost for us to escape. I knew she was a camp counselor by day, neighborhood childcare provider by night. But I had no idea what to call her.

So I introduced myself.  And then I left her in charge of my children for the next three hours.

And it was glorious.

My husband and I ate filet mignon at a restaurant seven minutes from our house.  We took little bites and chewed slowly and didn’t stop once to fill someone’s glass because the gallon of milk was still fairly full and therefore too heavy.  And at no point during the meal did we remind anyone to sit properly on their seat or risk falling to certain stitches on the tile floor.  We used words like contract negotiation and Yemen and making out. We didn’t make out because we were in a restaurant seven minutes from our house, but I swear to you, the words were said.

And when we were finished with our meal, we over-tipped the amazing creature who brought the food to us and refilled our glasses without being asked.  Then we walked around Home Goods picking out pillowcases for the kids to tie-dye the next day at camp and choosing fake flowers to put in our will-never-be-painted-or-decorated-but-finally-has-furniture living room.  It was absolutely amazing.

We returned to happy children who had crafted and played and talked to someone for three hours who had never heard their little voices before and didn’t know their kooky stories.  They had eaten pizza and helped clean up and could have cared less that we were gone.  I thanked the babysitter, trying to hide the frightening level of gratitude in my voice and promised to call her again soon, but not too soon.  We don’t need her to know we’re desperate.

If you have never walked out of your home with your spouse next to you and your children left behind, plan it now.  But don’t over-plan it,  and don’t wait for a nationwide newsworthy storm.  Don’t even ask your husband if he’s on board.  Just make it happen and then go.  Leave.  Enjoy each other…alone.

Then come back here and tell me what you did (while you were out, not after you returned home).

You’re welcome.

Comments

  1. 1

    I am a HUGE fan of date night and do most of the planning myself. My birthday is next week and all I asked for from my hubs is a totally planned date night that all I have to do is show up for. We’ll see how it goes!
    Andrea (Lil-Kid-Things) recently posted..Chronicling A Day In the Life of a Diaper Rash {giveaway}

  2. 8

    Let me just say it should be Cracker Barrel – ALWAYS Cracker Barrel!

    We have a sitter that we all absolutely adore! She is happy with whatever amount of money we give her. Hubs and I usually go see a movie just because we can’t think of anything better to do and I usually have passes.

    I am so glad you got to go out and enjoy your spouse! And I LOVE that you’ve found a close sitter!
    Sara recently posted..Label GMOs #CARighttoKnow

  3. 11

    “you have to talk to him anyway” <— you do? I'm in the "no babysitter" camp now, but this post has me ready to take the leap. I found love, now I know what to do with it 😉
    Lara recently posted..Make Your Own Pear Vodka!

  4. 15

    Too funny! Loved your graph with the
    Evening Out… Houseguests…

    We always had people around that we knew and family members but did not use them regularly.

    Now our older kids are old enough to babysit their younger siblings and we don’t have to find anyone.

    Just remember through this and all the different stages that will come that, “This too shall pass.”
    Elisabeth recently posted..6 Ways to Help Keep Your Child Cool in Their Carseat When It’s Hot Outside

    • 16

      I feel like I just found gold with this whole neighborhood babysitter thing. I probably wouldn’t use family members to babysit regularly if they lived closer because I just wouldn’t think about it just like I waited so long to hire the neighborhood teenager. Now I know better!

  5. 17

    This is really funny! We have 2 local babysitters we know through our church and they are ALWAYS booked. You have to plan 2+ weeks in advance to reserve them AND you have to call to remind them that you reserved them or they will forget. True story…I called one to reconfirm and she said she had plans…only to text me back and apologize b/c those plans were with ME! It’s totally worth the night out though! Glad you got to escape for a few hours.

    • 18

      When I booked this girl, I made a list of all of the back ups for other days. I have a feeling there will be more desperate moments like that one!

  6. 19

    You made it through. It is times like these that test our patience and keep us laughing at ourselves. Because it’s only through laughter that we can see the beauty of those tough times. I am long over due for a date night with my hubby and I am getting ready to start planning one now. 😀
    Elle recently posted..August 11, 2012 VeggieTales Releases “The Penniless Princess”

  7. 21

    We are lucky enough to have a wonderful babysitter that lives down the street. And have regular date nights. Date nights can save a marriage. I believe it.
    jodifur recently posted..Oh Right, BlogHer 2012 Edition

  8. 25

    Love this post. Love it so good. 😉

    Seriously though – you need time together or it’s far too east to drift apart from the busy-ness.
    Angela England recently posted..Get Your Hair Wet – Active Parenting Thoughts

  9. 26

    Hello! Thank you for a wonderful story. When I was engaged to my ex, we always talked about how important the date night is to keeping love alive. Now, as I have developed a Growing Healthy Families program, I coach about loving yourself and loving your spouse, especially having a date night like you did before you got married. It is vital to keeping love alive. Have you considered a date night with your children too? That is also important for them.

    • 27

      We actually often do date nights with our kids, both as a whole family and with one parent taking out one child. We try to schedule things that are fun for each individual kid such as bowling or paint your own pottery. Somehow in all of that family fun we forgot how to date each other as a couple. I plan on remembering from now on 😉

  10. 28

    Loved this!! And I will say as a single Mama it is also wonderful to get a sitter and go out with friends or even to the movies solo.

    • 29

      Dresden, the babysitter told me that sometimes the parents just go get Starbucks and sit on a bench. At the ripe old age of 16, she already had it all figured out. Smart girl.

  11. 30

    Teenage babysitters rock.my.world. I regularly pick up teenage girls at church.

    I am very. very. sorry if you now get some sick Internet p&rvs because of my comment.

    (Besides, I can never, um, perform if my parents are under my room. That would ruin one of the benefits of the date night, in my book..)

    CONGRATS!!!

    • 31

      I love this comment so much! Someone just commented in DM yesterday that you can’t really FINISH a date if you have house guests. I agree that it is much easier to end the night on a high note if the only other people in the house are your happily sleeping children.

  12. 32

    ROOF. I meant ROOF.
    Jessica McFadden – A Parent in America recently posted..GIVEAWAY TODAY: Tickets to Thursday Performance at Strathmore Backyard Theater for Children by Recess Monkey!

  13. 34

    My husband and I have date nights. We also have ahem nights. Those vary, as do date nights. But we both know the importance of keeping our relationship fresh, fun and all that kind of good stuff.

    LOVE this post!

  14. 38

    LOL as empty nesters we call that Tuesday!
    Adrienne recently posted..USA Nemo

  15. 39

    Loved this! My daughter is about to turn five and we have yet to use a sitter. We are incredibly lucky though, my mom and sister will take my daughter for an overnight stay, so that’s when we plan our date nights. Marriage is constant work… and you need time to just be a couple again. Now for us though, the problem lies in the once we DO have that alone time- we kinda sit there and say, so uh- what do you wanna do? And end up doing nothing LOL
    Yolanda recently posted..You’re Invited to a Special Cord Blood Registry Twitter Party & Giveaway #CBAware

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