I'm a huge advocate for parent date nights.
I also know that distressed couples build barriers to spending time together in an effort to avoid the uncertainty and anxiety of being alone. When I introduce the idea of getting some one-on-one face time, the inevitable topic of "scheduling," or "babysitting" comes up to slam the gavel down on the possibilities. Because I know how important this is, I've compiled a list of five possible avenues by which couples with kids can get a night away in Austin.
If an active lifestyle is important to your family, this might be an opportunity for you to introduce your kids to a familiar environment while you get away. On Friday, February 13th (just in time for Valentine's Day), My Gym will host a parent's night out in which kids will have an opportunity to participate in fun fitness activities in a safe environment.
Clubhouse Kids is a safe and state-licensed drop-in hourly child care facility in which you can depend on kids receiving attentive care from employees who have been federally vetted. According to their website, they have hours as late as midnight on the weekends, and up to 10:00pm on weekdays. Between their safe environment and their fun activities, there's little excuse not to get out and enjoy each other while the kids are cared for.
Here is an opportunity near to my heart. My own pups will soon begin training as therapy dogs, so I'm a big advocate of ADA and what they're about. ADA has it right when they cite research that suggests that parents who participate in novel activities together report a higher quality of satisfaction. On January 31, ADA will host a parent's night out, offering kids the unique opportunity to engage with some of the service dogs while parents get some time away.
This will likely be out of the way for some, but if you happen to be in the Anderson Mill area, the community hosts a parent's night out once a month. The organizer's specifically request that parents not send kids with tablets, laptops, or hand-held video games with the intent that kids will benefit more from engaging in community activities. This is a rare gem in a world filled with the latest and greatest digital screen.
5. Cafe Monet
Does your family love the arts? Cafe Monet is for the kids with an artistic flare, or a desire to create one, and provides children with the opportunity to paint and craft in a safe environment. Bring your children to a "kids night out," and take advantage of the time you have while your children are enjoying themselves.
6. Bonus: The Old Date-and-Switch
Set up a date and switch. If you have other parents in your social community, set up alternating weekends where each of you watch each others' kids. When you're dating, they're watching, and when you're watching, they're dating. Your community can be one of your best networks to help your relationship thrive. Build a community of supportive parents to create a relationship of lasting intimacy.
Never stop dating.
I have to say for full disclosure that I have not fully vetted any of these resources. I leave it up to you, parents, to make sure that each one of these sites suite your expectations for safety and desirable activities. However, whatever you choose, I implore you to never stop dating. Daily distance between two intimate partners creates years of distress. One day, you may look up and wonder how you got here, forgetting that your decisions on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis to include each other in your schedules will have a lasting imprint on your relationship over the long-haul.