Sex & Relationships

My Partner and I Replaced Our Date Night With a ‘Rot Day’—Here’s Why You Should Try It

rot day"
rot day
Source: Canva
Source: Canva

I first heard the term “rot day” from a friend after I asked her what her plans were for the day. When I asked her what it meant, she simply said, “You know, you just sit and rot. You do nothing.” From there, my fascination grew. In a world full of responsibilities and must-get-dones, it seemed impossible. I love a mindless scroll as much as anyone, but to sit around for a whole day seemed like a foreign concept.

Then came a day when my boyfriend and I had plans to spend the day together. It wasn’t particularly nice outside, so some of our typical go-to’s were out of the question. Not to mention that neither of us felt like getting dressed up, and we had previously discussed a pact to try to save money.

From there, our epic at-home date was born: a rot day. We ordered in Chinese food, laid out my pullout couch, and donned it with pillows and blankets, and put on a movie (National Treasure, of course). What looked like a lazy day on the surface turned into a playful date experience that we’re itching to replicate again. And it got me thinking that more people—especially parents—need to experience this kind of laid-back date night. Here’s my experience with a rot day, why I think it’s the perfect date night replacement for parents, and how to do it up right.

What is a Rot Day?

Like all good things, the concept of “bed rotting” (or “rotting” on the couch) came from Gen Z on TikTok. More than ever, it seems like everyone—from wellness experts to our favorite creators—is talking about the importance of rest. This idea sparked the notion of “rotting in bed” or spending a day in bed foregoing chores and daily tasks when our bodies need a break.

From there, the concept grew. I like to think of it as a day where you put the to-do aside and simply have a relaxing day at home. The idea is that you spend most of the day sitting and relaxing, usually in front of the TV. My version of a rot day turned into a bit of “date night” with my partner. Instead of going out of the house on a particularly crummy day, we figured why don’t we just spend it in our comfy clothes and watch a good movie?

What started as a simple thing to do turned into one of our favorite “dates” we’ve had in a while. It felt great to slow down together and spend an afternoon simply being in each other’s presence. No to-do list, no rushing to the next reservation. Just spending quality time together. If quality time is on your list of love languages, a rot day may be just the thing for you.

rot day for couples
Source: @sopharush

Why is a Rot Day a Great Date Idea for Parents?

Consider it Productive Relaxation

Rot days are for anyone, but I personally believe there’s no one better fit (or more deserving) than parents. As unfortunate as it is, sometimes relaxing is actually really difficult. It can be tough to shut our brains down and take a rest, even when we know we desperately need it. The call of the to-do list is more often than not too strong to deny.

“Sometimes relaxing is actually really difficult. It can be tough to shut our brains down and take a rest, even when we know we desperately need it.”

What makes this a great date idea is that it still offers an opportunity to connect with a partner. When we have this intentional connection opportunity, it takes away the feeling of wasting a day. Plus, it’s always so much easier to relax when you’ve got someone to do it with you. Thinking of our rot day as a date night replacement allowed us to give ourselves permission to simply be and not do.

It’s Inexpensive

Nearly all of us are feeling some sort of financial strain these days. As much as my partner and I would’ve enjoyed an expensive date night dining experience, it’s simply not in the cards right now. That’s why putting a spin on a typical at-home date idea was a fun way to switch things up. And save money while doing it!

Here’s a breakdown of our day:

  • National Treasure movie rental: $5
  • Chinese takeout: $30
  • A cozy living room environment: $0
  • Uninterrupted time together: Priceless

It Doesn’t Require Much Planning

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes it’s really nice to get out of the house. That being said, sometimes after a long week, the thought of getting all dolled up isn’t as appealing as rocking a no-makeup look. That’s another thing to love about the rot day date night. You don’t have to spend hours picking out an outfit, doing makeup, and getting ready. Instead, you can lounge in your comfiest clothes all day—a luxury for parents constantly giving their all.

Provides a Great Opportunity to Reconnect

Once upon a time, I didn’t believe it was possible to really reconnect with a partner apart from a traditional date night. I thought we needed to spend uninterrupted time outside of the house in order to connect over something other than daily routines. A rot day changed my perspective on that. Even though I still believe there’s something seriously special about a true date night, during our day on the couch, we were able to talk, laugh, and feel like kids again as we took a break from daily responsibilities.

couples rot day
Source: @paigechristensen

How to Have the Perfect Rot Day

Prepare for It

It may sound silly to prepare to relax, but setting yourself up for a day of doing nothing may actually make it that much better. What I mean by that is to plan ahead by getting any really pressing tasks done beforehand. This will allow your brain to take a break, knowing that there’s nothing of urgency waiting for you.

Pro tip: If you’re like me and it’s difficult to go a day without exercising, start your rot day with a long walk with the kids or an exercise class. I know, this goes against the concept. But getting some movement in early on in the day can help us feel more relaxed later on—which is exactly what we want!

Enlist the Help of a Babysitter

It’s certainly possible to let everyone in on the fun and have a family rotting party—what kid wouldn’t love to stay in their pajamas all day? But, if we’re looking at it through the lens of a date night opportunity, an empty house is crucial. Maybe send the kiddos out to the grandparents’ for a day. Or consider a childcare swap with friends—they take your kids for a night and you take theirs for a night in the future. Otherwise, reach out to your go-to babysitter or nanny, or find one through friends. Sure, this will bring the overall spend up a bit, but it likely still wouldn’t cost nearly as much as a night out on the town.

Find the Most Comfortable Spot in the House

Even though the term began on this concept, I’m the type of person who physically couldn’t spend an entire day in bed without feeling worthless. The couch, on the other hand, is a whole other story! No matter what the perfect spot looks like for you, mark your territory for the day.

For my partner and I, it was pulling out the mattress on my pullout couch and setting it up with plenty of pillows and cozy blankets. We have friends who participate in the rot day ritual as well. Their go-to is taking the mattress off of their bed and putting it in the living room for an optimal experience. Find yours and rot away.

Secure the Perfect Snacks

A rot day would be incomplete—and highly less enjoyable—without goodies to munch on. We opted for Chinese food—a delicacy with which we often don’t indulge. The best part was we were able to get it delivered to our door, thus optimizing our rot levels.

Your favorite takeout ought to do the trick, be it pizza, Indian, or even a fancy charcuterie board. It’s a day of indulgence, so let your imagination run wild.

Track Down Binge-Worthy Content

As busy parents, it’s not often we get to watch the shows and movies we want to watch. In fact, most of us can probably recite lines from our kids’ favorite shows from so many rewatches. Rot days change that by giving us an opportunity to catch up on something we want to watch. Sure, you may have to compromise with your partner, but don’t we all get to a point where any sort of content intended for adults is welcomed?

My partner and I took the nostalgic route with a movie from our childhood (one of the best if you ask me). We opted for National Treasure and had a blast quoting Nicholas Cage’s famous lines together. Try saying, “I’m going to steal the Declaration of Independence” with a straight face.

If nostalgic movies aren’t calling your name, try a new series or a blockbuster you meant to see months ago. No matter what, it’ll take the whole dinner and a movie notion up a notch because you get to do it in the comfort of your own home.

brett nicole hayden

Brett Nicole Hayden, Editorial Assistant

As the Editorial Assistant, Brett works with the editors of The Everymom on the content creation process by updating stories, sourcing images and graphics, and pitching and contributing her own articles. Her favorite topics to write about are culture, relationships, and living. She’s also The Everymom’s resident baby names and family movies expert!