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Hi there! I’m Christina, a mom of two littles, a licensed mental health therapist, and a soon-to-be children’s book author! Thanks for checking out my site. Look around! I’m sure there’s something here for you! Read on to learn more about Budget-Friendly Date Ideas for Busy Parents.

When you met your partner, was it love at first sight? — or “site”, seeing as so many of us meet on social dating sites these days!

Were you swept off your feet and whisked away to many a romantic rendezvous?

No matter how you met, or how hot and steamy your relationship’s beginning was, you likely went on dates.

Often they started out simple, allowing you to get to know one another; maybe long soul-syncing talks at a cafe, or slow and intimate home-cooked dinners with wine. Then they may have become more active; out to a concert or sporting event, rock climbing followed by some beers at a local pub, strolls up and down the beach boardwalk.

The options were endless!
The time, abundant!
The mood, carefree!

And then you had children.

Now, your daily interaction is often a transaction.

You two run the business of keeping your home functioning, and this doesn’t leave much time for galavanting around town, kid-free, blowing your hard-earned moolah.

So, if time and pockets are so short, why bother?

Well, for one, do you enjoy engaging with your life partner in this I’ll-do-this-if-you-do-this sort of manner? I’m waging a bet that the answer is a big fat “no”.

Here are some key reasons to keep dating your spouse:

  1. If you plan to be with this person for life, as you most likely intended when you promised this at your wedding, then you might need to work on your marriage just a smidge to keep the spark alive and well. You’ll be reminded of you why you love your partner in the first place.
  2. It will be fun!! And it will be a welcome break from the monotony of the every day wake-parent-work-parent-sleep lifecycle.
  3. Your kids will benefit! As you and your spouse strengthen your partnership, you will be a wonderful role model to your children of how a healthy couple should be. Additionally, these lovey dates may refill your frequently empty parenting tank, allowing you to be a better, more patient, parent.

Okay, so I’ve sold you on why you should date your partner, but how to find the time, or the money to plan a date?

Budget-Friendly Date Ideas for Busy Parents

What my husband and I have done with intention, is plan one official date per month. We used to plan for my mom to watch the kids or we would hire a babysitter, but with COVID that’s a lot less easy to do.

If you’re bubbled with family or friends that you trust and love to watch your kids, then great! If not, take these date ideas and see how they can work for you to do at home when the kids are in bed.

Or if you have to bring the kids along, which is often the case these days, still aim to be intentional in the focus spent on your partner (and vise versa) and in the conversations you have. Any moment can be as special as you make it.

And now the big question: what to do?

Here are 7 great and budget-friendly date ideas by busy parents:

  1. Go for a walk in a green space near your house during sunset
  2. Grab happy hour drinks on a restaurant patio while you people watch
  3. Go to a cafe where you sit outside, sip yummy drinks, listen to a podcast together and then discuss
  4. When the kids are asleep, go outside with your partner and stargaze. Talk about your dreams, and revel in how the you now have what you once dreamt about
  5. Get takeaway from somewhere nice but affordable. Savor eating at your own pace if you wait until after the kids are down.
  6. Use discount sites like TravelZoo or Groupon to get deals on what would be a more expensive date like a harbor cruise.
  7. Take a bottle of champagne on a hike like we did many many moons ago (see below!)
Dating Your Spouse - Budget-Friendly Ideas for Busy Parents. Image of having a drink on top of a mountain.

Any of those resonate with you?

This is getting me excited for my husband and my next date!

What if you and your partner have different ideas of fun? You could each make a list of 5-10 date ideas. Put all the options together and then pick one at random!

Whatever you do, the goal is to connect and have fun.

And if dating one another fortifies your relationship foundation — a foundation that has shifted as it made room for your new roles as parents — well then that’s worth planning for, isn’t it?

If you and your partner are having a hard time, check out these 10 steps on how to successfully and collaboratively manage conflict with your spouse!

Christina Furnival

Christina is a mom to two wild and wonderful kiddos, a licensed psychotherapist (LPCC), the founder of her website and therapeutic motherhood blog Real Life Mama, and a children's book author of a social/emotional wellbeing series, Capable Kiddos! She and her Scottish husband are raising their family in San Diego, where they love to hike, play soccer, cook, walk around the lake, and go to the beach.

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