Yeah, yeah: you weren’t expecting anything sparkly but dinner and a night out would have been nice, right?
If you’ve got kids, your odds for that happening is actually pretty slim.
I’m not just saying that to be a downer, but a recent survey by Ratesupermarket.ca discovered that 68% of Canadian parents struggle to afford romantic date nights in general. As in: all year – and not just on a random day where we were taught you’d be a douche if you didn’t deliver, and a chump if you got nothing.
This totally makes sense. The Canadian dollar is hella weak right now, so everything costs just that little bit extra. With the top reasons being bills, rent/mortgage and the costs associated with having a family, there just isn’t enough moolah to frivolously throw at romance like pre-baby times. And when you’ve spent an average of $61,821.60 on romance from the first date to the honeymoon, it can really feel like there’s a big void in the relationship that’s begging to be filled.
Does this need to change?
Yes. It most definitely needs to change.
The good news is: you don’t have to sacrifice groceries, bill payments, or the kids’ college fund to do it. One of the positive sides of our weak economy is that gas prices are lower than they’ve been in a really long time. This means that no matter what vehicle you drive, it will cost you less to get from your house to point B than it has for the past few years. While 50.83% of Canadians spend between $50-$100 per date night, twenty-five percent of them are able to do it between $10-$50.
Some inexpensive or free date ideas are:
- Search Google for the best natural park closest to you and go for a hike and a homemade picnic lunch.
- Go stargazing.
- Slide down snowy hills on a plastic bag, recess style. (No teachers around to tell you to stop, either.)
- Watch airplanes land and take off at the airport. (Bonus points if you can park somewhere under the flight path!)
- Discover a funky new coffee shop (ie: not a popular chain) and have a drink while talking about something other than the kids.
- Use up those points that you’ve accumulated from your credit cards and redeem them for a hotel stay or a nearby tourist attraction.
Actually, you don’t even have to leave the house:
- Attempt a challenging recipe together.
- Grab a canvas and some poster paints, and without using brushes, try to make a piece of art that looks like you bought it from a gallery. (You could even hang it and tell people you did!)
- Learn some new massage moves and then practice on each other.
- Build a fort with your bedsheets.
- Load up some old workout videos on Youtube and do them in your underwear while trying not to laugh. (I’m talkin’ 80s Disco Sweat.)
- Watch a TED talk together. Then discuss. Then watch another (because you will want to) and discuss. Discover the different observations and meanings that you’ll both make from watching the same video.
Why is this important?
Because your relationship with your partner needs to continue growing, even and especially if you have children. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. And a dying relationship isn’t good for anyone. There is research saying that how you both deal with the first two years of your firstborn’s life is a good predictor to the success of your relationship further down the road.
…Well, yeah: it’s got “for better or for worse” written all over it!
Everything changes when you have a kid. It’s how you both adapt to those changes that’ll determine whether you’re actually working as a team or not. If you’re not regularly checking in and making sure that your relationship is thriving, then it’s surviving, at best, and I’m sure that’s not what you signed up for.
So go on a freaking date already. Going out or staying in, it doesn’t matter. But whatever you decide to do, make sure the two of you are alone – which means ditch the kids with the grandparents, friends, or hire a sitter. If you don’t have money for one, find some or make more.
Because a babysitter is cheaper than couples’ therapy.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Ratesupermarket.ca