Commode To Joy

finding happy (even in the crappy)

Date Night Categorized

Thursday night is our standing date night. It started last winter – you know, the winter that hung on through April – when I was going (stir) crazy.

Thursdays for a stay at home parent are the equivalent of the second-to-last lap of a run: It’s the toughest. You’re close-ish to the end, but there’s still more to go. The final lap, on the other hand, goes faster (at least in my mind), because it’s the last one.

I hadn’t realized how many Thursdays I’d text our sitter with the request to babysit come evening. She caught on and offered to make it a standing “date”. I said yes. Duh. Thus, Thursday date night began.

Now ladies, if you’re like me, you too have gone into date night with a certain set of expectations. Conversation will flow. We’ll be more interested in each other than our phones. There’ll be so much connection!

It reminds me of our dating days when we’d go out. I’d be dreaming of said connection during dinner. Inevitably we’d see someone we know, and Muscato would invite them to join. Talk about a fast trip to brood city when your date night becomes dinner for three. Or four. Or five. Oh that naive, precious little 25 year old me…


Entering date night with visions of cinematic perfection is a recipe for disaster. Whether you’re newly dating, newlywed, on the fourth kid or the fourth decade. The sooner you drop expectations, the more enjoyable date nights will become.

It’s a realization that came from a particular Thursday night when Mark and I sat mummified across from one another in the booth. We spoke little; not because of a disagreement or disinterest. We were worn out. Our eyes were as glazed over as the winter sky’s dreary permacloud.

At one point, I watched Mark read something on his phone. The only connection happening at our table was to wifi, and I thought, This is perfect. This exactly what this night needs to be. 

I meant it. And in that moment, my entire approach to date night shifted.

Because I’m an over-thinker who loves organization, I’ve categorized date night into three general groups. (As in, I did this a while ago for myself, not for the sake of this installment.)

Date Night Categories

1. Zombie Date – I don’t mean watching The Walking Dead (never seen it, not interested, I scare easily). I mean nights where we sit quasi comatose and manage to get food into our mouths. We might talk some, and some of it might even make sense.

2. Classic Date – Normal-ish energy level. We catch up on one another’s days, what we having coming up, what funny thing the boy said/did etc… It’s like conversational housekeeping. Not necessarily romantic, but necessary nonetheless.

3. Dream Date – This is the stuff of dreams expectations. Tons of eye contact. Connected conversation, largely about ideas and what we really think about the topic at hand. Both parties are equally interested and engaged. Even the food tastes exquisite.

Gone are the days of dewy-eyed date night delusions. When Thursdays roll around, I enter the evening with an open (and well-categorized) mind, trusting that it will unfold exactly as it’s meant to. On the nights when a Dream Date occurs organically, it’s all the more sweet.

Do we make it out every single Thursday? No. Life happens.

You know what no longer happens? Coming home disappointed from a lack-luster evening. Sure, some nights conversation might be lacking with the only luster coming from the glow of our phones. But who’s to say that isn’t also the makings of a great date. 😉

Categories: Family & Parenting

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