Just over a third of working mums regularly have date nights with their partner, according to a workingmums.co.uk poll for Valentine’s Day.
Some 35% of those polled said they regularly had date nights, but 23% never do and 18% rarely go out with their partner. Thirteen per cent do occasionally and 11% do not have a partner.
The poll of 312 mums found many couples could not afford to go out together or had no time for each other. Those who did go out together regularly felt they really benefited from some alone time together.
Babysitters were hard to come by for some. One woman said: “We have two children and struggle to get a babysitter. Otherwise we would have date nights at least once a month.”
Another said she would love to go out more, but couldn’t afford to. She said: “Everything is so expensive and my husband and I attempted working around each other so that the children do not need childcare which is highly costly, we then never got to see each other….literally passing by each other through the door in from and out to work!”
A mum who goes out regularly said: “We try to pencil in a date night at least once a month. Does us the world of good to have a hot meal, glass of wine and a good old chinwag!! It’s so important to have some alone time after having kids…”
Another commented: “It isn’t formal and it would be better if it was. When we were young we did go out at least once a week together, to a restaurant or similar, to make use of the au pair and her babysitting. We are now way beyond that, but we do go out to friends, concerts, the theatre when not too pricey, eat out, to see a national trust house. It is an excellent thing to do and very important to get out of the boring humdrum of life – putting the dustbins out, answering the front door, and telephone, watching the TV, preparing and eating meals etc.”
Sigrid Daniel, UK Director of care.com, an online provider of babysitters and other forms of childcare, says time alone might not be the same after you have children due to cost and time pressures, but she adds that maybe couples need to be creative. “Sharing new experiences or regular hobbies is a wonderful way to give you something else to talk about apart from the children,” she says. She has some suggestions for parents who want to find some alone time on a budget, including going to a friend’s house to cook dinner, taking a scenic drive, eating a takeaway by candlelight or as a picnic, trying a free sports class or booking a dance class together.