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The most important thing in the world is family and love.
- John Wooden
When it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day, John and I don’t tend to make too much fuss. This is due to a variety of things; including the fact that more often than not one or both of us has been working, and also we are strong believers that we love each other every day of the year and don’t need a special day to celebrate that fact (after all we have our wedding anniversary for that!).
That doesn’t mean we do nothing at all, however. We try and make Valentine’s Day one of our semi-regular date nights. Date nights are something that we have always tried to include in our relationship, and they feel they allow us to build a stronger bond with one another. Here are my top tips to having the perfect date night at home with your partner when you can’t get child care to go out!
Five Ways to Prepare Before the Day
1. Get a wax (or shave at home if you can’t go out!)
I always find that when I have had a full body wax (or shave... let’s be honest with kids I neither have the funds nor the time to go to a salon very often these days!) I feel wonderful. Waxing also helps you to be hair free for longer... but be aware it may leave you with red, blotchy skin so don’t get it done the day before your planned date night.
2. Pamper your self
If you are feeling low, it will often lead to negative energy... which is definitely not a good way to start a date with your partner. Giving yourself some, “me-time” is a great way to start to love yourself and feel a bit more comfortable in your own skin. When you feel good about yourself it will reflect in the way you are with your partner. My favourite way to pamper myself is to have a candle lit bubble bath, pop on a face mask and relax with some of my favourite music.
3. Pre-make dinner
If you are unable to go out for a date because you can’t find child care (especially if you live away from family or have more than one child – both of which are the case in my home!) being able to spend as much time with your partner as possible is super important. After all, if you’re taking the time out to have a date night you don’t want to spend the majority of it in the kitchen! Consider ordering a takeaway or prepare as much as you can in advance.
4. Leave your partner love notes
Whether you leave a trail of post-it notes around your home or in all the places you know your partner will find it (by their toothbrush, in their jacket pocket, inside their wallet etc.) or simple write some love notes on a light box or letter board like I do; get them in the mood leading up to the date night by reminding them that it is coming and letting them know you love them in the days leading up to your date night.
5. Make a plan
I am a lover of lists, so when it comes to date nights I like to be organised and have everything planned out from the things that I need to buy to the things that I plan to do throughout the day. Whether it is the outfit that I plan to wear, the meal we will eat or the movie that we will watch I try to make sure that no stone is left unturned when it comes to planning our date nights. No doubt some things will not go to plan, when a child decides to wake up (or not go to sleep in the first place!) but we can but try, right?
Four Ways to Get in the Mood from the Start of the Day
1. Dress to impress
In the same way that getting some “me-time” helps you feel better about yourself, getting dolled up does the same. Choosing an outfit that is different to your normal go-to jeans and a tee (which is definitely my daily clothing; that or pyjamas anyway!) is a great way to get the day started in the best way. Simply changing a few things up can make the world of difference. For example, ditch the mum bun and add a bolder colour lipstick to your make-up routine. Alternatively if you feel so inclined, you could swap out your comfy flat shoes (or slippers...) for a fair of fancy high heels. After all, heels make you walk differently, hold yourself differently and totally change the way your legs (and bum!) look; likely for the better.
2. Have a breakfast date
Chances are that date nights will be delayed, or interrupted, when you are having them at home with your children a few feet away from you. If you and your partner are both on a day off together, then going out for breakfast (or having a more exciting breakfast at home) is a great way to ensure that you get that time together. It also sets the scene well for your date night later that day. Chances are that you will be able to have a breakfast date whilst your children are in school too which means that you can guarantee time together.
3. Pop a note in their lunchbox
If your partner is not off work on the day that you plan to have your date night, popping a little note in their lunch box is a great way to remind them of the plans you have later in the day. I always make John’s sandwiches and pop some snacks into his Everton lunch box before I go to bed, so sneaking a love note in for him to find is not hard. Just make sure the note is not too risqué in case some of your partner’s colleagues see it!
4. Send your partner an email or text message
If you don’t make your partner a packed lunch for them to take to work with them or you don’t have time to pop a note inside; sending them an email, text or WhatsApp message will do the same job. Let them know how much you love them, and drop a few hints about what you have planned for your date night. Keep it respectable and clean though, especially if the emails are going through their work server!
Top Tips for the Perfect Date Night In
Get the children to bed early
Making sure that your children are fed, bathed, clothed and in bed at a decent time is the best start to any date night. As much as we love our children, let’s be honest, we all want to be able to have some time alone with our partner without being interrupted by a child demanding something from us or needing their bum wiped!
Cook your partner's favourite meal
We all love food... and having dinner together is a great way to spend time and start off your date night. So whether you decide to have a take-away or make a home cooked meal; be sure to make sure that the food you choose for your date night is your partner’s favourite.
Surprise them with gifts
You may have seen my Valentine’s Day gift ideas that I posted a couple of weeks ago, which make great surprise gifts as they are budget friendly. Bringing home a bottle of their favourite wine, or beautiful bouquet of flowers; or ordering them a personalised glass with a special message unique to your relationship is a nice little something extra to brighten up your date night. If like John and me you don't only use a day like Valentine's Day to show your love for one another, there are plenty of gifts and cards available which are suitable for the one you love all year round... so there is no excuse not to treat your partner to a little something unique, special and totally unexpected.
Watch a movie together
Whilst getting out to the cinema to watch a movie there may be off the card when you can’t get childcare, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a similar date at home. There are thousands of movies available on TV movie channels, Netflix, Amazon Video and more so there are bound to be some that you and your partner haven’t watched. Find one that you both like and snuggle up together to enjoy some couple time. Buy some popcorn in advance, treat your partner to their favourite snacks, sweets, chocolate or treat and turn your home into the same experience without the need for the expense nor the child care required when making a trip to the cinema.
Set the scene
Light a candle (or two!)
Scatter rose petals
Have fun together
Get an early night
Sometimes the best nights end with an early night snuggled in bed together... I don’t think this really needs any other explanation!
Give your partner a massage (or ask them to give you one!)
Wear something sexy
If All Else Fails... Include Your Children
In 2017 we spent the day as a family. It was Little L's first Valentine's Day and as John had the day off work we decided that we may as well just include the children... after all they are the embodiment of the love we have for each other. Although it is nice to have time together as a couple, just the two of us, sometimes you just have to accept that the children you created together are a permanent part of your lives and welcome the change they bring, even if that means celebrating Valentine's Day, wedding anniversaries and more with them in tow.
So although you may end up including your children in the date time with your partner anyway, you now have a little insight into some of my top tips for having the best time with your partner; even if you have to spend that time at home with a lack of childcare. Good luck... and have fun!