Date Night on The Fringe

We rarely have a dress up and go out kind of date night.  I know the experts say married couples should ‘date’ regularly, whether regular is once a week or once a month, and I completely agree.

*Insert me jumping to feet, applauding, and screaming A-Men!*

However, when you have children, date night often becomes complicated, especially if you don’t have family nearby.  When grandma and grandpa live over the river and through the woods, and across state lines, and in other area codes, dating gets a bit trickier.  After finding a suitable girl who fits the requirements of a babysitter – keeping children alive for three hours – then you must save a small fortune to pay said babysitter for keeping your children alive.  In the end you are left with enough money to buy a small hot cocoa from Dunkin Donuts, while sitting in the car and watching the snow fall.

So we find other FREE creative ways to spend time together that do not include babysitters and last week’s paycheck.  Watching a movie and eating popcorn after the kids go to bed (but don’t go to sleep and come out three hundred times to interrupt us go to the bathroom and get a drink of water) was the extent of our ‘dates’ until my friend let me know that her church in a nearby town hosts something called Parent’s Night Out.  Once every three months you can drop your children off at the church where responsible adults will entertain your children for three hours, all for a donation.

THREE HOURS!

Do you hear the chorus of angels singing hallelujah, Hallelujah, HALLELUJAH!

Please take a moment and join me as I prepare for my date.

On the way upstairs, I mistakenly asked my daughter, “Do you want to help me pick out something to wear?”

She jumped at the chance, passing me on the third step and flinging clothes from my closet like a nine-year old  version of the fashion diva, Stacy London.

I simply sat on the edge of my bed and watched.  Before long, my daughter poked her head out and asked, “Don’t you have any other clothes?”

Dear diva daughter, I ask that every single morning.

Pulling myself up from the bed, I walked over and pulled out a sparkly lime green and white skirt, a pinky-purplish tank and a denim jacket.  I threw them on the bed and declared, “I’m going to wear this.”

“You really need to watch What Not to Wear.”  My daughter said.

“Good grief child!  This is a classic What No to Wear outfit.”

But even as I defended my choice, I looked toward the outfit and realized I would wear that outfit to a PTA meeting.  Doesn’t my husband deserve better?  Sexy maybe?

Sexy PTA, it’s a hard look to pull off and I’m cursed with being much more Maryann than Ginger.

So I grabbed a tote and dragged it from the closet.  Opening the lid, I stared at a graveyard of skinny clothes.  Over the past three years, a few twenty pounds have found their way to my body.  I don’t welcome them, but it’s difficult to rid myself of the pesky fat cells.

Now please don’t send me diet plans!  What I need is sympathy.  And a lot of it.

I reached down and a pulled a black, white, and red wrap dress from the pile.

“Oh, wear that dress.  It’s so cute!”  My little girl exclaimed.

“Are you sure?  I don’t know if it will fit me.”

“Try it on!”

Please remember, I’m taking fashion advice from this child.

So I prayed the 2% lycra had enough stretch to cover all my lumpy places, and I prayed my daughter had suddenly outgrown her tacky stage.

By the time I tied the belt on the dress, my son appeared.

“Oh, is that what you’re gonna wear tonight?”

“I think so.”  I said.  “Does it look too tight?”

“No, it looks nice.”  (Insert exaggerated pause)  “You might want to fix your hair though.”

“What?  Dad won’t like an afro that hangs down to the middle of my back?”

And you thought you had hair trouble!

I didn’t even tease that mop.  I simply brushed it.  I don’t EVER brush my hair.  My teeth, yes, but not my hair.

So I gathered fresh essentials and headed for the shower in an attempt to tame the wild beast that is my hair.  I just started to relax under the warm mist when I realized I was out of soap.  I despise the fact that although soap rarely touches my children’s bodies, they manage to make it disappear into a thick oozing blob that runs into the drain.  I exited the shower in search of soap.  Now running low on hot water, I quickly tackled my hair.  Only, the bottle of conditioner was empty.  Conditioner is an essential part of my hair taming experience.  It’s like using weed killer in your garden.  Once again, I left the shower in search of conditioner.  The bathroom floor looked like a tub over flowed, because my hair holds approximately six gallons of water.  The city bans me from washing my hair when there’s a water shortage.  After a bottle of conditioner, a baseball size lump of curl-defining hair gel, and a few essential, but natural oils, my hair was under control.  For the moment.

My toes, however, were screaming for new polish.  Actually only my big toe remained a chippy springtime green.  I grabbed our bag of polish and went in search of the three-foot fashion diva.  She lined our polish on the coffee table, a rainbow of bright colors, and we each chose different colors for both our fingers and toes.

“Can you run into the bathroom and grab me the lotion?”  I asked.  “My feet are so dry, they’re gross.”

Looking at me with pity, she said, “Sure.  That’s what happens when you get old.”

Believe me, date night would not come soon enough.

My husband appreciated my efforts to look nice until I reminded him that since I dressed up, he had to take me someplace fancier than McDonalds.  No offense to the Golden Arches, I just did not want to eat in a place that had a kiddie playground.  My goal for the evening – to spend three hours without my children insulting my age, hair, or clothes.

Thank you Parent’s Night Out people.  You will receive a special blessing in heaven for saving at least one mom’s sanity.

What does date night look like to you?

P.S. Hair product recommendations are welcome. 🙂

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22 thoughts on “Date Night on The Fringe

  1. Pingback: 2011 in Review: Something from Every Category « the domestic fringe

  2. chrissy

    I am 100% sure that you wouldn’t want me to tell you what my date nights look like, cause, let’s be honest, I can go out whenever I want. And this is where I get to embrace God’s decision for my life. THESE are those moments when I am grateful…when I hear parent’s stories…God is good ;o)

    I loved that line about not sending diet plans cause what you really need is sympathy…I know, right? Man, to be skinny again, like really skinny, I’d have to work really hard, and where is the fun in that? I really think I am a food addict with a grip on my habit, or I’d be 300 lbs. I freakin’ love food.

    Reply
  3. Karen

    You look gorgeous!

    My oldest is finally old enough to sit on her brother for a couple of hours while we go out. And timing has been good in that our small town finally sports two decent eat-in restaurants with good food. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to my 15th (no less) anniversary!

    Does one have to wait 15 years to get a reliable sitter? (As in one who becomes available because you say so!)

    Reply
  4. Deb

    That post just wore me out! You look great. That church group does deserve a special place in heaven. What a wonderful idea. I hope you had fun! 🙂

    Reply
  5. Mariza

    Perfect timing! I’m currently trying to find a babysitter to watch my girls so my husband and I can go out. It’s such a big production! Our last experience was pretty bad. It was back in September and that was the last time my husband and I went out without the girls. I’m still not over that bad experience, but one of my very good friend’s birthdays is coming up and her husband is throwing a surprise party. He asked that we both come to the party. I’m excited!
    Fringegirl, you are so funny! you describe things so well. I totally imagined your daughter giving you recommendations on what to wear. I do the same with my daughters ages 10 and 5, but the 5 yo is the most opinionanted one.
    I hope I find a babysitter!

    Reply
  6. caprik

    I remember those days!
    I can say that all of the sudden your kids will all have something to do and you will be sitting there with your mate asking “well, are we going out or do you just want to put the jammies on and clean out the DVR?”
    I have no advice for you. We didn’t do much for years.
    I do like Paul Mitchell products to calm the wild beast though.

    Reply
  7. Cathy

    You crack me up, but you’re making me think too. It’s been awhile since hubby and I have had a date. However, we made a bid at a silent auction yesterday and we got it. We have 2 tickets to an outdoor drama, 2 tickets to the Creation Museum and dinner for 2 at Cracker Barrel. I think I can see a whole date day coming into our very near future. Yay!!!!

    Reply
  8. momfog

    What’s a date? We brush our teeth together alone in our own bathroom. Does that count?

    We get out three times a year. Our birthdays and our anniversary. We try to do the movie on the couch thing but one of us is always falling asleep. Sad.

    I have no advice for the hair. I have the exact opposite problem. Limp and oily. If I had access to a refinery, I could supply all our town’s fuel needs.

    Reply
  9. Megan

    I feel your pain, I live with a little fashion diva, too. Last week, I was told that I was “kind of embarrassing” due to my t-shirt/athletic shorts combo. Later, we were going out to play tennis (by ourselves at an emoty court), and she complained that she couldn’t wear her regular tennis shoes because “they don’t match.” Lawd have mercy!

    Reply
  10. simplynareida

    I share your pain and wish that most places had (responsible) Parent Night Out facilities (and wouldn’t it be nice if the night out were actually more than two to three hours)! But the time away is great isn’t it?

    Reply

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