The Toddler Coalition Against Parent Date Nights

The date night is an elusive creature for parents.  Imagine searching on the moon for a dolphin-unicorn hybrid.  That’s what it’s like, looking for a dolphicornalien.  Until you’ve gone through the process of planning a date night as a new parent you really can’t imagine just how complicated it can be.  

Logistically, it’s a nightmare trying to plan a parent date night.  In order of “we’re not even close to a date” to “I think this might actually happen”, here’s how date night planning usually goes down….

  • We’re planning a date night.  We need a sitter.  The sitter isn’t available, she has a test to study for.
  • The sitter is available.  Let’s do this.  No, hubby’s gotta work that night.
  • Sitter is available, hubby and wifey are available.  Kids are sick.
  • Sitter, hubby and wifey are available.  Kids are healthy.  As soon as you leave the house wifey is guilt ridden over leaving the kids and the date ends early.  The wifey feels guilt because the sitter cancelled her plans and wasn’t really needed after all.  Wifey overpays sitter, hubby works late to pay sitter who didn’t sit.
  • Sitter, hubby and wifey are available.  Kids are healthy.  Wifey is guilt free, but you pass a grocery store on the way to the movie theater.  Wifey decides that shopping without kids is better than a movie.  Date night is spent pushing a grocery cart around the frozen foods aisle.
  • Sitter, hubby and wifey are available.  Kids are healthy.  Wifey is guilt free.  The pantry is full of groceries.

    A date night is about to happen…..But does everything go according to plan?  No.  And now I know why.

    I’m convinced that our children have formed a secret society, the Toddler Coalition Against Parent Date Nights.

Tooth Fairy money is sent to the TCAPDN to fund all sorts of mischief to ruin a parent’s date night in order to convince them it’s better to just stay home.

Without fail, 100% of the time, for the fifteen years of my married life, every date night restaurant we’ve eaten at has seated us…..right next to a family.  I’ve had screaming babies, bouncing toddlers, and even a drunk Italian family celebrating a birthday seated directly next to us.  I think the TCAPDN subsidizes waitresses to provide awful service for parents out on dates.  They’re always……forgetful.  As in, “I forgot y’all were here.”

And then it’s off to the movies.

Ahhh, the movies.  A dark theater, popcorn to share, just chilly enough to encourage snuggling….The movies, were romantic memories of courting are kindled from a distant flicker to a burning flame.

Until everyone else gets there.  Let me recap some date night movie experiences, for those who haven’t experienced all that is the joy of dating as a parent.

So far, the Toddler Coalition Against Parent Date Nights has funded……

A group of five teenagers to show up late for a movie and sit right next to us, at the very top of an empty theater.  They reeked of weed, and just wouldn’t shut up.  I tried to “shhhhhh” them, and it seemed to work, until one of them got a phone call.

TCAPDN Henchman–Hey.  No, I can talk.  I’m just at the movies.
Me–Turn that off.

TCAPDN Henchman–Keeps talking.
Me–Hey, tell your friend to hang up his phone.

TCAPDN Henchman–Snickers.
Me–So help me if you don’t hang up that phone I’ll throw it across this movie theater.  And if you ever find it I’ll stomp it to pieces.

TCAPDN Henchman–Snickers, but hangs up and leaves early.  Apparently Tooth Fairy money isn’t enough to replace an iPhone.

Or the countless times we’ve sat in an empty theater, only to have entire families come in to sit right in front of us with bouncing kids, or right behind us with kids bumping our seats.

Or our latest Valentine’s date.  That’s right parents, get jealous, we actually went on a date ON VALENTINE’S DAY…..weekend, it was the day before Valentine’s, but still, it’s an impressive feat.

We sat down in the theater and, of course, were quickly surrounded by other movie goers.  Wow, I thought, these people are old.  They won’t be bringing in any kids, this is great.

No, it’s not great.  Do you know why?  Because although centenarians don’t have cell phones ringing or kids making noise, they also have no idea how loud they are.  Have you ever heard an old person whisper?  No, of course not.  They can’t.  They can only loud talk.  And loud talk is what they did.

Imagine this….A lone traveler, lost in the wilderness, injured and starving, struggling alone through the snow.  The camera pans out, rising above him, the jagged mountain tops reinforcing just how alone and vulnerable he is.  A hushed gasp comes from the audience as they consider the juxtaposition of the beauty of the country and the ugliness of its harsh realities.

Wife just in front of us–Do you think he has a plan?!?!?
Husband just in front of us–What?

Wife just in front of us–A PLAN!  Do you think he has a plan?!?!?  You know, to get out of there?!?!?
Husband just in front of us–Well I sure hope so!  Look at him, he’s had a plan so far!  But I don’t know!  How am I supposed to know if he has a plan?!?!?!?

Violence fills the screen.  A man struggles in a life and death battle against a seemingly unconquerable foe.  In unison, we cringe as his body is wrecked.  The theater is filled with sounds of ripping flesh and grunts of agony.  At the climax, hero and villain collapse together, both breathing what we can only imagine is a last breath for both of them.  The screen zooms in on the teary, glassy eyes of the actor in the performance of a lifetime, the audience straining to see if any life is left in them….

Right behind us–AAAAAHHHHH–CHOOOOOOO.  Sorry!  Excuse me!
Right in front of us–Bless you!!! (Turning around in her seat to be sure her shout of blessing is heard.)

Right behind us–Oh, thank you!
ImAGiver–You’ve GOT to be kidding me!

About twenty minutes later…A couple walks in, stares at the screen filled with images that can only be from ONE movie showing right now.  They stomp up the stairs, angrily loud-whispering to each other about being late to the movie. Where does the new couple decide to sit?  Well, right where the Toddler Coalition Against Parent Date Nights told them to sit.  Right next to me.

A fight breaks out on screen.  Men flee for their lives.  Bullets rip through the air and through the men.

Right next to me, leaning toward his wife–What?  No, I don’t either.  (They both stand up)  Sorry!  Excuse us!  Yeah, we need to get back by you!  Sorry!  This isn’t our movie!  No wonder it didn’t make any sense!

Parents, the Toddler Coalition Against Parent Date Nights

is a real thing.

There’s no other way to explain just how hard it is to go on a date as a parent.  None.  Don’t give in.  Keep going on these ridiculous dates.  We can’t let the TCAPDN win.

And for goodness’ sake, stop paying your kids so much for their teeth.