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Parents go out just 15 times over the first five years of their child’s life, according to a survey out today.
Seven in 10 parents wish they could have more nights out with their partner and 57 per cent reckon their relationship has lacked romance since the arrival of their firstborn, according to the survey of 3,000 parents for ReadyBed.
The biggest reasons for staying in include not having enough money to go out (42 per cent) and feeling guilty asking people to babysit (41 per cent).
Lucy Wynn Jones, spokeswoman for ReadyBed, which conducted the poll to launch www.saturdaysleepoverclub.co.uk, said:
“The harsh reality is that although parents would relish more quality time together, in most cases the children come first.
“People feel bad for putting their own relationship as a couple above their children – as well as beating themselves up about getting in the babysitters, they also feel bad for wanting time away from the children.
“But it is enormously important to continue a degree of normality and romance after becoming parents.”
A quarter of parents said a night out was no fun if you didn’t get a decent lie in the following morning – 66 per cent said they would go out more often if babysitters were available for the following day as well.
A third say a hangover with the kids is unbearable and 15 per cent reckon they spend most of their evenings catching up on the housework rather than enjoying anyone’s company.
Just under half of those polled would be more tempted to have nights out if friends or other people offered to babysit. And 82 per cent would be more likely to enjoy an evening out more if their kids stayed overnight with a trusted friend or family member.
Two thirds said they missed the time they once had with their partner before they had children and 45 per cent feel they don’t communicate as much as they used to.
And when couples do enjoy a rare night out, the poll found 42 per cent are always surprised at how well they get on with their partner. But for 34 per cent their night out was ruined on at least one occasion because they’d been called back by the babysitter who couldn’t cope with the children.
When questioned about what they miss most about life before the children, just over half said weekend lie-ins. Twenty five per cent of people say they miss the lively nights out they used to enjoy with their partner, while the same percentage miss undisturbed nights in.
The ReadyBed spokeswoman continues: “Those people who find it difficult or expensive getting babysitters should club together with friends to share out the babysitting duties on a monthly basis.
“That way the children get to enjoy quality time with their friends as they have sleepovers together on a regular basis, and the adults get some much needed time away from parenting responsibilities – enabling them to regain some of the life they had before the kids came along.”
The study shows 58 per cent of parents rarely even have special nights in together – of these, 28 per cent say their children don’t go to bed early enough, and when they do, 21 per cent will get up several times and disturb them.
Without the worry of babysitters, a romantic meal was by far the most desired activity for 54 per cent of folk.
One in 10 people would go to the cinema with their partner if they had the chance, 11 per cent would appreciate a trip down the pub, and six per cent would go clubbing.