We get it, you probably remember your pre-kid days like a romantic comedy montage—late-night talks, walks in the park, actual date nights where you dress up and go out … being able to leave the house whenever you want!? Imagine!
But just because you’re now a mom doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prioritize your relationship, and doesn’t mean you should have to sacrifice romance. Even when you can’t find a babysitter, or don’t have the energy to get out of the house (we’ve all been there!), you can bring date night to you. Put away your phones, put the kids to bed, and get ready for the romantic date night you deserve … in the comfort of your own home.
1. Have a Wine Tasting
Bring Napa Valley to you with a DIY wine tasting. Keep it simple by sampling a few local wines, or get more detailed with cheese or even chocolate pairings. Make it extra special by creating cards for the titles or origins of each wine, and the different notes in each sample (if you want to get extra bougie). Discuss which wine is your favorite, and you might just find your new favorite wine as a couple! If beer or whiskey is more your style, make a sampling of a few different types.
2. Have a Game Night
Even if you’re in a romantic rut, a little friendly competition can really get sparks flying. Bring out Scrabble, stack your Jenga, and get your chess on. You can stick to one game, or make a whole tournament with a variety of two-person games to see who is the ultimate champion.
3. Eat Takeout by Candlelight
Get your favorite go-to takeout food, or mix it up by ordering a few different kinds of food for a buffet of all your favorites (pizza and a spicy tuna roll, anyone?). Rather than a normal night in, turn it into date night by lighting candles to create a romantic atmosphere. Make it extra special by wearing fancy clothes, or even just a spritz of your nice perfume. You’ll feel like you’re at a fancy restaurant, but without the expensive prices and sometimes weird food (it’s hard to pretend to like escargot all the time!).
4. Spark Conversation with Questions to Get to Know Each Other Better
Whether you’ve been together for months, years, or decades, there’s always more you can find out about your partner. Have a glass of wine, cozy up in a comfortable spot, and find out things about your partner you might have never known with questions that will bring you two closer together. It’ll spark much more meaningful and interesting conversations than your next day’s schedules or what needs to be on the next grocery list.
5. Cook Together
It’s probably only one of you cooking dinner each night (likely the one who got home earlier that day), but cooking together turns dinner into quality time. Put your partner on grilling duty for a fancy steak dinner, or roll out dough together for homemade pasta. If cooking isn’t one (or both) of your styles, order-in and bake a dessert. Even making a simple batch of brownies or delicious crème brûlée (for the seasoned baker) will be fun for you two to do together (plus, you might even have leftovers the kids will love the next day).
6. Have a Picnic
If it’s warm outside, enjoy the weather by spreading a picnic blanket in the backyard and enjoy your dinner (or a bottle of wine) sitting under the stars. If it’s too cold outside or you don’t have a yard, DIY your own picnic by lying a blanket on the floor in the living room. Make it extra cozy by lighting a fire (or lighting candles), and enjoy a romantic evening that’s simple to create, but feels more special than your average night in.
7. Create Your Own Spa Experience
Who needs to go to a spa for a couple’s massage when you have each other? Get a nice massage oil (or add a few drops of lavender oil into your favorite body lotion for a DIY), and take turns treating each other. You can also make a nice bubble bath with special salts and fancy bath oils for a luxurious spa-like experience without the high prices of spas.
8. Make Fondue
Fondue restaurants are classic date-night restaurants. Maybe it’s the fact that you have to share your food, or maybe it’s because it’s so damn delicious, but either way, there’s something incredibly romantic about fondue. Lucky for parents who can’t find a sitter, fondue is actually pretty easy to make at home. Get yourself a fondue pot for a date-night you’ll want to have over and over again, or just make the recipe over the stove. Cut up veggies, meats, and bread to dip in a cheese fondue, and cut up fruits, cakes, and cookies (a sleeve from the kids’ Oreos count!) to dip in a chocolate fondue—easiest fancy date night, ever!
9. Have a Movie Marathon
Don’t just settle on the same old Netflix show every night. Switch it up by planning a special movie marathon. Watch as many movies as you can get through of your favorite franchise like Harry Potter or Star Wars, or pick a genre the two of you love (’80s teen movies or historical dramas are both classic choices). Pop the popcorn, put your phones away, and snuggle up for your own movie marathon. Who needs to go to the theater!?
10. Create a “Theme Night”
Remember those really fun theme parties in college? Make the idea work for your own at-home date night by picking a theme and coordinating everything from outfits, to food, to movies to match the theme. Don’t overthink it! Make it a ’50s night by wearing pearls and a midi skirt, playing some OG Elvis records, or watching Singin’ in the Rain. If you’ve been dying to go on a European vacation but just haven’t been able to go, make some pasta, open a bottle of red wine, and watch Under the Tuscan Sun. Whatever “theme” you want to go for, think of creative ways to apply it to your date night.
11. Bring the Sports Bar to You
If you’re less in the mood for a fancy date and dying to go to a good-old fashioned sports bar, save the expense of a babysitter and bring the sports bar to you. Turn on a game (or record one from earlier that day), grab some beers, and make (or order!) all of your favorite sports bar appetizers like wings, onion rings, or pretzels with beer cheese.
12. Have Breakfast in Bed
Sure, breakfast in bed is typically reserved for mornings, but why not make it a night-time thing since your kids are in bed? Breakfast for dinner is always fun (scrambled eggs, anyone?) and having it in bed (maybe with a mimosa or two), will remind you of the days before kids when the two of you actually could stay in bed after 7am. Plus, why dress up and go out for date night when you could relax in pajamas and eat pancakes? Now that’s my kind of date night.
Read More: 6 Ways to Make Scheduling Sex Not Weird