I am so excited and honored to have my lovely friend, Christy, featured on my blog today!
I so loved this post that she wrote,
and she gave me permission to feature it here!

Christy and her husband Steve, and their three boys live in Atlanta and are involved in inner-city missions full-time.
You can follow them on her blog, Moving Out in Faith.
She is also the co-author of a book with her sister, and you can find them here.

Thank you so much, Christy! ♥

_______________________________________________________________________

I believe date nights are important because they build connection and trust.
They create a time to talk about the things that get pushed behind the daily chatter of work and children and schedule.
They help you have time to relax and have fun together as a couple.  Recently we’ve started taking an hour every Sunday for some couple time.
The little ones nap and Zachary, who is too old for naps, has an hour of quiet time in his room.
He may draw, read, or play something quietly; but he may not come downstairs. We love it.

Marriage is fun.  Marriage is joy.  Marriage is sacrifice.
Through it all I want to always keep celebrating my husband. Dates are one of the ways to do this.
When finances or lack of childcare or distance make it difficult to go out date nights can happen at home.

valentines day ideas

If you’re like me, Valentine’s Day is one of those times you really, really want a date with your husband.
Even if you have children Valentine’s Day can be your day as a couple. It’s a day for fun and sweetness, for romance and passion.
In a perfect world we could all go out for a date Valentine’s night.  In reality it is one of the hardest days of the year to find babysitting.
Unlike your anniversary, almost every other couple you know is carving out some time for each other, too!

Thus I propose: the stay-at-home date.
Yes, of course having little children makes these nights a challenge;
but before you think a date impossible, throw a pretty party for your family and caIl it a night,
here are a few suggestions to make romance at home attainable:

1. Plan ahead.
Dream up your plan–an all out candlelit dinner with steak or bacon wrapped chicken?
A fun dessert in bed? A Bahamas experience in your bedroom?
Moving your mattress into the living room?
Write up a list for everything you’ll need to do to make it happen–
the foods you need to make, any supplies you might need to buy, cleaning, what you will wear, the music.
Choose the room for the big event.
Depending on the size of your house and the proximity of your children’s rooms, you might have a few rooms to yourself or you might choose the living room or your bedroom.
The farther from their room the better, but that goes without saying.

2. Prepare the day before.
Most cleaning or cooking or DIY decor, or love note-writing can be done ahead of time.
Collect candles, blankets, pillows, and chocolates in a hiding spot to be whipped into place just after the kids are tucked into bed.
Children are notorious for creating urgent situations; it’s better not to leave most of the work for the day of the date night.

3. Include your children in the preparations.
Take a walk and cut some green branches from shrubs or collect twigs and other bits of nature to use for decor.
If you can’t get all the prep done during naptime, bake the cheesecake together.
You can tell them you’re making something VERY SPECIAL for Daddy and the next day they can may some, too.

4. Get rid of romance busters.
The hard part of staying home is that all your responsibilities are still .right.in.front.of.you.
Do whatever you need to do to make your home seem like a retreat.
I normally have only enough energy to really  tackle one room, so that’s what I do.
That means cleaning out clutter, putting the toy basket out of sight, temporarily covering windows that don’t have blinds, getting rid of stinky attitudes, silencing the phones.

5. Build Anticipation.
Whisper an invitation to your husband as he heads out for work.  Send him flirty texts. Give him a glimpse of what is to come.

6. Re-work the children’s schedule.
Okay, so here’s the most tricky part of all–ensuring that the children are in bed.
Here’s one plan: baby–take a walk at his morning naptime to hold him off to one early-afternoon nap instead of the normal two naps.
Pre-schooler/first grader–after a light lunch have them take a one hour quiet playtime in their room.  No naps will be all good news to them!

Play tag or kickball outside in the afternoon. Goal: exhaustion.
Serve them a simple but filling meal at 5:00.  Quickly move along to baths and stories.
By 7:00 they should easily be tucked into bed with some background music playing.
The little crowd will be ready to sleep; an older child could take a flashlight and book to bed as well as a timer to beep at lights-out time.
Be SURE they went potty, and had a drink.
This is when an established, good bedtime routine is a lifesaver because you can trust your children to stay in bed.

7. Refresh Yourself.
While the children are having their quiet time, spend some quiet time with God.
Take a nap if you can. Even if it’s only for fifteen minutes a rest will give you a kick of energy for the evening.
Shower or soak in a bath.  Pamper your body and get your glow on.
Choose what you’ll wear after the children are in bed.  Smile about how your husband is going to love you in that!

8. Be flexible.
Inevitably, something will happen to complicate your plans.
The phone has to stay turned on because your husband is on-call.
The baby wakes up at 9:00 for no reason at all and won’t settle down.
Your neighbor knocks on the door and won’t stop knocking.
Sometimes you can scramble to take care of the need, laugh, and get back in the groove.
Other times you dip your strawberries into the chocolate fondue with a baby on your hip or, if the situation calls for it, wait for another night to try again.
Sometimes there is laughter.  Sometimes tears.
Remember the goal of the evening is to love each other even if it takes more of a sacrificial bent than blissful.

9. Make it happen!
A mom has 20 reasons why this is not easy to pull off, no kidding!
It doesn’t have to be tomorrow night on Valentine’s Day.
It doesn’t have to be a whole big production.
However, even with little children in the house, it is possible to create space to enjoy one another.
Instead of saying, “I can’t because…,” ask, “How could I work around…?”

10. Enjoy with abandon.
Forget about the rest of the world, that annoying spider web in the corner, and the children who are just fine.
For several hours it’s all about th

I believe date nights are important because they build connection and trust.
They create a time to talk about the things that get pushed behind the daily chatter of work and children and schedule.
They help you have time to relax and have fun together as a couple. Recently we’ve started taking an hour every Sunday for some couple time.
The little ones nap and Zachary, who is too old for naps, has an hour of quiet time in his room.
He may draw, read, or play something quietly; but he may not come downstairs. We love it.

Marriage is fun. Marriage is joy. Marriage is sacrifice.
Through it all I want to always keep celebrating my husband. Dates are one of the ways to do this.
When finances or lack of childcare or distance make it difficult to go out date nights can happen at home.

valentines day ideas

If you’re like me, Valentine’s Day is one of those times you really, really want a date with your husband.
Even if you have children Valentine’s Day can be your day as a couple. It’s a day for fun and sweetness, for romance and passion.
In a perfect world we could all go out for a date Valentine’s night. In reality it is one of the hardest days of the year to find babysitting.
Unlike your anniversary, almost every other couple you know is carving out some time for each other, too!

Thus I propose: the stay-at-home date.
Yes, of course having little children makes these nights a challenge;
but before you think a date impossible, throw a pretty party for your family and caIl it a night,
here are a few suggestions to make romance at home attainable:

1. Plan ahead.
Dream up your plan–an all out candlelit dinner with steak or bacon wrapped chicken?
A fun dessert in bed? A Bahamas experience in your bedroom?
Moving your mattress into the living room?
Write up a list for everything you’ll need to do to make it happen–
the foods you need to make, any supplies you might need to buy, cleaning, what you will wear, the music.
Choose the room for the big event.
Depending on the size of your house and the proximity of your children’s rooms, you might have a few rooms to yourself or you might choose the living room or your bedroom.
The farther from their room the better, but that goes without saying.

2. Prepare the day before.
Most cleaning or cooking or DIY decor, or love note-writing can be done ahead of time.
Collect candles, blankets, pillows, and chocolates in a hiding spot to be whipped into place just after the kids are tucked into bed.
Children are notorious for creating urgent situations; it’s better not to leave most of the work for the day of the date night.

3. Include your children in the preparations.
Take a walk and cut some green branches from shrubs or collect twigs and other bits of nature to use for decor.
If you can’t get all the prep done during naptime, bake the cheesecake together.
You can tell them you’re making something VERY SPECIAL for Daddy and the next day they can may some, too.

4. Get rid of romance busters.
The hard part of staying home is that all your responsibilities are still .right.in.front.of.you.
Do whatever you need to do to make your home seem like a retreat.
I normally have only enough energy to really tackle one room, so that’s what I do.
That means cleaning out clutter, putting the toy basket out of sight, temporarily covering windows that don’t have blinds, getting rid of stinky attitudes, silencing the phones.

5. Build Anticipation.
Whisper an invitation to your husband as he heads out for work. Send him flirty texts. Give him a glimpse of what is to come.

6. Re-work the children’s schedule.
Okay, so here’s the most tricky part of all–ensuring that the children are in bed.
Here’s one plan: baby–take a walk at his morning naptime to hold him off to one early-afternoon nap instead of the normal two naps.
Pre-schooler/first grader–after a light lunch have them take a one hour quiet playtime in their room. No naps will be all good news to them!

Play tag or kickball outside in the afternoon. Goal: exhaustion.
Serve them a simple but filling meal at 5:00. Quickly move along to baths and stories.
By 7:00 they should easily be tucked into bed with some background music playing.
The little crowd will be ready to sleep; an older child could take a flashlight and book to bed as well as a timer to beep at lights-out time.
Be SURE they went potty, and had a drink.
This is when an established, good bedtime routine is a lifesaver because you can trust your children to stay in bed.

7. Refresh Yourself.
While the children are having their quiet time, spend some quiet time with God.
Take a nap if you can. Even if it’s only for fifteen minutes a rest will give you a kick of energy for the evening.
Shower or soak in a bath. Pamper your body and get your glow on.
Choose what you’ll wear after the children are in bed. Smile about how your husband is going to love you in that!

8. Be flexible.
Inevitably, something will happen to complicate your plans.
The phone has to stay turned on because your husband is on-call.
The baby wakes up at 9:00 for no reason at all and won’t settle down.
Your neighbor knocks on the door and won’t stop knocking.
Sometimes you can scramble to take care of the need, laugh, and get back in the groove.
Other times you dip your strawberries into the chocolate fondue with a baby on your hip or, if the situation calls for it, wait for another night to try again.
Sometimes there is laughter. Sometimes tears.
Remember the goal of the evening is to love each other even if it takes more of a sacrificial bent than blissful.

9. Make it happen!
A mom has 20 reasons why this is not easy to pull off, no kidding!
It doesn’t have to be tomorrow night on Valentine’s Day.
It doesn’t have to be a whole big production.
However, even with little children in the house, it is possible to create space to enjoy one another.
Instead of saying, “I can’t because…,” ask, “How could I work around…?”

10. Enjoy with abandon.
Forget about the rest of the world, that annoying spider web in the corner, and the children who are just fine.
For several hours it’s all e best husband ever and one woman who loves him fiercely.

_________________________________________

I hope you all enjoyed this as much as I did.
Sometimes with Valentine’s Day, having children, and the difficulty with finding babysitters,
 you know it’s probably not going to be the dat e nightyou would wish
but there can be a lot of expectations that are not met.

I loved this and was so challenged by it ~ about being the one GIVING,
and focusing on what I can do to make it special for my husband,
rather than wondering how HE is going to make it special for ME!

And I like that this doesn’t just have to be on Valentine’s Day.
We can date-at-home often!

Love, true love, is always outward focused and selfless…

“In this is love:
not that we loved God,
but that He loved us
and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
[I John 4:10]

12 thoughts on “Stay at Home Date for Parents {Guest Post}

  1. Falber02

    What a beautiful reminder of practical ways we can have a great time in the midst of babies. I am finding that mostly this is about me, re-lining my expectations. God is doing a good thing in my heart. I see growth and then I fail. Thank God for grace. My dear husband, planned to take tomorrow off after being on a very long business trip today however the boys were puking all day yesterday and I was completely beat this morning. The biz trip was cancelled and he stayed home today instead of tomorrow. While there were no cupids and red hearts flying around today, I think that this REALLY was love extended to us today. Now I need to be ok to walk into tomorrow and know that we made the right decision. Even though I will be sad that we aren’t going out on a long afternoon date to sit and talk and dream and laugh! Great, great post!! Dawn

    Reply

  2. redladybug18

    It’s funny with all the babysitting I do with lots of different families you’d think I would be in high demand on Feb 14th but actually last year I almost ended up just sitting around twiddling my thumbs except for a last minute call and this year only one family called me to babysit and that didn’t have too much advance notice either. :) It seems like most families, decorate, just spend the evening together, make a nice dinner and whatever else they can do to make it extra special.
    Growing up though I don’t remember ever having a valentine’s dinner with my parents-granted I was the youngest. They always left us at home to fend for ourselves :)

    Reply

  3. appalolly

    I really liked the line about changing “I can’t because…” into “How can I work around…”

    Such a great idea. Jeremy and I have done this sort of thing in the past and it usually works out pretty well. Like Christy said, you have to plan ahead and prepare yourself and at least a part of your house but I am sure any husband would appreciate this effort! 

    Reply

  4. grace_to_be

    oh, christy! hello!!! so fun to see you here. i MISS you!! marriage is one of those topics i always love to hear from you on – just so much matter of fact wisdom and practicality. you inspire me to pour myself more into my husband.. to look for ways to GIVE, and not just sit back waiting to receive. i’m going to try some of your suggestions. i like the idea of moving the mattress to another room.hmmm…. ;))

    thanks for sharing, and thanks for asking her, clarita!
    you’re both two of my fav bloggers~

    xx

    Reply

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