4 Creative (& Free) Ways to Get Alone Time Together

After the birth of my first son, getting time with my husband was vital to helping me remember that I was a wife too, not just diaper-changer, rocker-to-sleep, and milk truck. After the birth of my third son and an increase in sports and playdates and activities, that time together was important just to help my husband and I have a moment to catch each other up on the parts of our lives that didn’t involve the kids.

If you’re financially sound enough not to bat an eye for a nice dinner out and paying for a sitter, more power to you. But if you’re like me, you’re always looking for creative and inexpensive ways to create that alone time, like these ideas:

1. Swapsit. Google informs me that this is not an actual word, but it’s the number one way we’ve managed to get alone time for the last six years. I define “swapsit” this way – “I’ll watch your kids if you watch mine.” Once a month (and at various other times during the month that come up as well), my neighbor will watch my three boys for an evening so my husband and I can go out, and then later in the month, I return the favor. The kids have a blast and generally entertain themselves and we each get a night out with no money spent on a sitter. I’m lucky that my neighbor lives directly across the street from me, has kids of similar ages to mine, and that the kids are all friends, but this could work just as well if we had to drop the kids off at her house on the other side of town before heading out for the night.

2. The Late Dinner. Another one of my favorite ways to get alone time with my husband is what I like to call “The Late Dinner.” I feed the kids dinner at their normal time, get them in bed, and then whip up a delicious, romantic late dinner with my husband. Since it does involve making two dinners, I’ll often choose something easy and quick for the kiddos and save my energy for my Late Dinner menu. I usually go all out serving up some delicious grilled steaks or marinated scallops. And a bottle of good wine — always. But cooking this all in-house is always cheaper than buying the same meal in a restaurant, so we’ve saved money on a sitter and on the food. Win-win!

3. TGFN. We don’t have cable and don’t have an antenna to get local stations, but we do have Netflix. Which is why the third method I use is called TGFN — Thank Goodness for Netflix. For about $8/month we can stream all kinds of kid-appropriate movies and shows without commercials. So for just pennies a day we can have a quick catch- up (a.k.a. a 22-minute Wild Kratz episode) or dinner alone (96 minutes of Turbo should do the trick!).

4. Relatives. Grandparents. Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. If you have extended family close by, take advantage of the free babysitting. You may wear out your welcome if you’re calling every single Friday(depending on the relative), but having your kids hang out with family gets you time alone and helps build bonds between your children and their relatives. My in-laws live about 20 minutes away so it’s not as convenient as swapsitting with my neighbor, but my husband and I still rely on them about once a month to nab some alone time for free.

How do you find alone time with your hubs?

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Photo: Getty