Parents of small kids, it’s not just you. Nobody else can find time to get out as a couple, either. Where are all the sunny, cheerful, college aged girls that live around the corner and want to make some extra cash? And speak Spanish and enjoy doing paper mâché and have background checks? Where are the lovely, gracious, child-centered grandparents who want nothing more than to take your kids for the month of July?
Don’t lose heart! Just follow these 50 simple steps for scheduling a date night and you’ll soon be sitting across from your husband, drinking a glass of Riesling and compulsively checking your phone for texts.
1. Think: We need a babysitter.
2. Bemoan lack of available babysitters, the fact that you know nobody that you really trust, and the disintegration of the very fabric of society and the social webs that used to characterize every block and neighborhood.
3. Reread Bowling Alone on your Kindle while you’re all riled up about this idea.
4. Post GoodReads review.
5. Ask your mom to babysit and then rescind your offer with vague excuse when you remember how neurotic your mom is halfway through the phone call.
5. Email your friends asking to use their go-to sitter.
6. Send apologetic follow up emails when you realize that this was a faux pas of epic proportions, as your friends felt you were trying to purloin their best sitters, and are now all emailing with each other about how inappropriate and self-centered this behavior is, and how it reminds them of the College Incident when you stole one of their boyfriends, who wasn’t actually a Boyfriend, but merely a Friend, but they never remember that part.
7. Cry to your husband about the inability to find a sitter.
8. As the couples counselor advised you, tell your husband that when he looks at his smartphone when you’re crying, it makes you feel invalidated.
9. Leave room when husband refuses to put down phone.
10. Attempt to remember the password for your Sittercity account.
11. Note all the attractive young nannies that are available in your zip code.
12. Google weight loss tips.
13. Google percentage of men who cheat with younger women.
14. Google divorce laws in New York.
15. Google your old couples counselor and write her an email.
16. Try to unsend email but realize that only worked on AOL in 1995.
17. Eat the cereal your husband has brought you as a snack.
18. Close Google.
19. Post ad on Craigslist looking for sitter with BA in Early Childhood Education, fluency in Mandarin or Spanish, athletic background, and unattractive.
20. Delete ad.
21. Consider whether your mother’s neuroses contributed to your development as a person, perhaps giving you a depth or edge that prevents you from ever being called “boring.”
22. Consider whether your sister can babysit.
23. Remember that your sister hates children and has an Adderall addiction.
24. Google Adderall addiction.
25. Google correlation between lack of date nights and likelihood of divorce.
26. Google your ex-boyfriend.
27. Ask your husband why this whole babysitter thing is falling squarely on your shoulders again.
28. Rephrase using “I feel” statements.
29. Throw husband’s phone across room.
30. Engage in argument for 20 minutes in which your sanity is implicitly questioned.
31. Have sex because you feel guilty.
32. Sleep and dream of Mary Poppins having sex with your husband.
33. Awake refreshed and ready to conquer.
34. Put out ads in every online babysitter service known to Google.
35. Email back and forth with everyone who responds, except the one who obviously used to be a model in Eastern Europe.
36. Schedule five interviews.
37. Interview the one person who shows up.
38. Consciously disregard that she was 15 minutes late and has a tattoo of an iguana on her neck.
39. Ask if she likes paper mâché.
40. Explain what paper mâché is.
41. Confirm that your baby is indeed 8 months old.
42. Turn the deadbolt as quietly as possible after the prospective sitter departs your home.
43. Consider whether perhaps your mother, having, after all, recently attended a workshop on transcendental meditation offered by the community college, may have grown as a human being since the years when you remember her acting like a total lunatic.
44. Call your husband and cry.
45. Talk for 45 minutes despite your husband having big meeting in an hour.
46. Google ways to please your partner.
47. Call your mother.
48. Ask your mother to watch your baby next Friday night.
49. Dry clean the only nice outfit that still fits you.
50. Go on date. Over dinner, discuss how lovely this is, and wonder aloud why you don’t do it more often.
Related post: 5 Ways Date Night Changes With Kids
This article was originally published on