The Date-Night Jar
Ice pops are not just a great way to cool off, they can help rekindle love
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Couples raising children need scheduled time away from their offspring to maintain sanity, stay connected and fertilize what’s left of their relationship. And that’s why date night exists.
I was reminded of the importance of date night after running into an acquaintance at a local restaurant. She was excited to share about her system for date night. So while waiting for a table, I got the lowdown on the Pinterest-inspired date-night jar.
Listening to the how-to story, I was reminded of the fact that some people live within reach of best-case scenario situations. The date-night jar system seemed elaborate and magical. And for some people, “Pinterest fail” is not in their vocabulary.
The Date-Night Jar
For a date-night jar, you will need an empty glass jar and a husband who will help you decorate it with glitter, paint and other crafty items. Once the jar is sufficiently glittered up, it can be designated the date-night jar.
Next, you will need Popsicle-type craft sticks. There are variations on this, but I suggest you color code one side of each stick. The coding indicates the type of date. For example, one color might be assigned dinner and a movie, while another might be assigned bowling, and so on.
If you’re really crafty, you can decorate the other end of each stick, so that when you place the sticks into the jar color-coded side down, you’ll have a pretty bouquet of decorated craft sticks to brighten your counter.
When date-night rolls around, just select a stick and it will tell you where to go and what to do.
My reality typically falls short of the best-case scenario, so I'm no stranger to the Pinterest fail. Hubby and I are advocates of date night. However, to incorporate the creativity of a dedicated jar and color-coded craft sticks falls short of our capacity and enthusiasm. If a date night took that much whimsical planning, we’d never go out. Rather, we’d own a half-decorated sparkly jar that gathered dust in a forgotten corner while we binge-watched “House.”
It would be great, however, if we could employ a version of the date-night jar. Hubby and I would just need to make accommodations for our less than best-case scenario lifestyle. To begin, we would not decorate a jar specially bought for date night planning. Rather, we’d probably just toss a few sticks into an empty coffee container.
Our craft sticks would be actual Popsicle sticks, assuming we could salvage them before the kids tossed them in the recycling can. The cherry-stained stick could mean I get to choose where we eat. The grape-stained stick could represent that Hubby picks a restaurant. Lime could indicate we have to order take out and eat in a park. Orange could be a wild card color, which would give our boys the power of choosing where we go. That way, when we bring them back some food, it will be something they actually want to eat.
All of our sticks would be a version of the dining out date night. After being together long enough to raise three boys, we greatly appreciate having a night to ourselves during which we can pick where to go and what to eat without any arguments.
Movies are nice, but we both enjoy them better in the comfort of our living room. At home, we can snack on healthy air-popped popcorn with a spritz of olive oil and sprinkling of sea salt. And, we can pause for restroom breaks.
The Un-Date Night Jar
The need for date night becomes less critical as the kids begin flying from the nest. Once our boys started demanding less attention, we began spending lots more time together without having to designate special date nights. As our together time increases with our boys’ independence, we may need a jar for un-date nights or time apart.
My un-date-night Popsicle sticks will be coded as follows:
Cherry: Girls Night Out
Grape: Wine Tasting Weekend
Lime: Shopping Spree
Orange: Spa Day
Hubby’s un-date-night sticks:
Cherry: Man Cave Meat Night
Grape: Brewery Tour Weekend
Lime: Shopping Spree (he likes to buy stuff, too)
Orange: Comic Book-Related TV Show Binge Night
Whether the expensive craft sticks or recycled Popsicle sticks, a version of the jars — both date-night and un-date-night — are worth the investment. Couple time and alone time are equally important for maintaining a strong relationship as well as giving us a chance at being sane, well-rounded, effective parents for our children.