When you’re a parent, sometimes it’s hard to actually make it out of the house for a date with your significant other. Stressing about getting the baby down on time so you can make it out for your dinner reservation? Finding a babysitter you’re certain won’t go full Nanny Carrie on your kid? Putting on a bra? Meh.
I am a big supporter of setting aside time every week for my husband and I to have a date, and some of the best dates we’ve had have taken place over some Netflix, takeout, and a bottle of moderately priced wine (parents give a whole new meaning to “Netflix and chill“). For those of you who aspire to do the same, I have put together a detailed list of steps for you to accomplish a memorable night in with your better half.
1. Make sure your child had the recommended amount of sleep for their naps during the day, as preventative work.
2. Get a bucket of ice ready for the night to ensure that the ice machine won’t be your arch nemesis following bedtime.
3. Get the baby down on time for bedtime.
4. If you are making dinner:
– Try to not bang around too many pots and pans.
– Beat the oven timer to the obnoxiously loud beep.
5. If you are ordering takeout:
Option 1: Have your significant other call while you do bedtime.
Option 2: Call as soon as you get the baby down.
Put dog outside and/or distract him with a bone so the barking doesn’t wake the baby.
6. Your food is ready! Eat it as quickly as possible. Children have a sense for when you make a hot cup of coffee, try to eat a hot meal, when you get into the shower, and when you lay your head down on a pillow.
7. Now it’s time to choose a movie.
8. Spend the next 45 minutes perusing Netflix.
9. Spend another 15 minutes looking at your own movie collection.
10. Decide to watch that movie you saw trending on Netflix when you looked 40 minutes ago.
11. The baby is awake! Have a quick game of rock, paper, scissors to determine who has to put the baby back to sleep.
12. After two lullabies, one boob, and endless rocking, the baby is back asleep.
13. Put the baby down without waking them.
14. Sneak out of the nursery.
15. Realize the floor in your house is incredibly creaky.
16. Realize that your ankles crack too much. Make a mental note to call a doctor about that.
17. Sit down to watch the movie.
18. Realize you want to make popcorn. Weigh whether making popcorn is worth the possibility of waking the baby back up.
19. Live on the edge and pop the popcorn anyway.
20. Pour yourselves a Tami Taylor-sized glass of wine.
21. Sit back down and get ready to watch the movie.
22. Your dog is growling at you for popcorn.
23. The baby is stirring on the monitor.
24. Bribe the dog with popcorn and sit back ready to enjoy the movie.
25. Forget that you are watching a movie with crazy explosions or incredibly loud orchestral crescendos.
26. The baby is awake!
– Pause the movie.
– Have a quick game of rock, paper, scissors to determine who has to put the baby back to sleep.
– Wait a minute. Scratch that. He put himself back to sleep!
27. Decide that, because the movie is already paused, it is time for a bathroom break.
28. There goes that damn creaky floor again.
29. The baby is awake! (For real this time.) One Lullaby and 10 minutes of doing the “Oh baby baby” rock that Monica does on Friends.
30. Repeat steps 13 to 16.
31. Sit down to finish the movie.
32. Debate whether you should stay up and hang out, or sleep.
33. Admire your sleeping baby on the monitor together. You made that, and that’s pretty cool.
34. Choose to hang out and pour more wine. The baby will wake up again in an hour or two anyway.
And there you have it. A simple 34-step guide to a memorable date night in with your significant other!