All About Date Nights: A Primer for Parents

All About Date Nights: A Primer for Parents 1It is my pleasure to welcome Hogan Hilling to Metropolitan Mama this afternoon. Hilling is the author of The Modern Mom's Guide to Dads: Ten Secrets Your Husband Won't Tell You (Cumberland House, 2007). Hilling is the founder of Proud Dads Inc. and is the father of three sons - ages 20, 18, and 14. 

Hilling's book spells out, "what your husband really thinks about pregnancy, parenting, and marriage." The chapters cover everything from how to get your husband involved in housework and childcare to how to reduce conflict in your marriage. Today, I asked Hilling to share specifically about "date nights."

ME: You mention date night "rules" in your book. What are they?


  • Make time to date.  There is no excuse because you can find a relative, friend or neighbor to care for the baby.  And don‘t feel guilty about relinquishing the care of the baby to another person. 
  • The date doesn’t have to be expensive or take up a lot of time.  I recommend two hour minimum.
  • No discussions about the baby and/or work related issues.  The focus of the date is about you and your husband.
  • Be creative and plan something he might not expect. 
ME: What creative date ideas can you share with us?   

1. Make a list of activities you participated in as a couple before your marriage and the birth of the baby. 

2. Revisit some of the places where you dated. 

3. A picnic at the park, beach or in your backyard.

4. A hike in the mountains, walk in the park or beach.

5. A carnival, if one is in town.

6. A visit to a museum. 

7. Breakfast at McDonalds.

8. Church without the baby or children and then breakfast.

9. A quiet time in the house while the baby is with a relative, neighbor or friend.  Spend it watching a Blockbuster movie.  

10. Here is a creative pot luck idea.  Write up dating suggestions on post it notes, drop them in a hat and before one of your date nights draw a suggestion out of the hat.  

ME: How often do you recommend that couples go on date nights and why?

HILLING: Every two weeks if possible.  At least once per month so you can make dating a routine.  Commit to a certain day and time.  This will make it easier for you to find someone to care for the baby or child.  However, it’s also good to be spontaneous every once in a while. 

Now it's YOUR turn to chime in! How often do you go on "dates" with your spouse and how do you make it happen?

All About Date Nights: A Primer for Parents 2

WIN IT! One winner will receive The Modern Mom's Guide to Dads: Ten Secrets Your Husband Won't Tell You by Hogan Hilling and Jesse Jayne Rutherford. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post prior to Monday, April 14 at midnight (don’t forget to follow the rules). The winner will be announced and contacted on Tuesday, April 15. * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.

*UPDATE* The winner is #86 Stephanie. Congratulations!

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99 comments on “All About Date Nights: A Primer for Parents”

  1. Wish date nights could be every night. Why not want to be treated like cinderella every night. many thanks. best of luck to all who enter the contest. SW

  2. I would love to win this book. The suggestions on date nights/days are really great. My husband and I know we really need to make it a regular event- however we are shocked at how much we love each second with our little babe and don't finding ourselves wanting a "break" yet...
    (There- I did it! I commented Stephanie- sorry it took so long!)

  3. My husband and I live in a small rural town with our four children, ages 6, 7, 11 and 18. With four kids, you may be wondering why I would need this book or even want a "date" with my husband!

    My husband is on call 24 hours, so we do have issues when it comes to finding some alone time and I would absolutely love advice when it comes to getting him more involved with the care and entertainment of the kids. Whew... would I ever!

    On a more serious note, there is some stress and conflict in our marriage and I think reading a book written from the male perspective could help me in understanding and dealing with these issues.

    Thank you for the chance to win a copy!

  4. Wow, where to start. I have a 2 1/2 yr old and a 9 month old AND my husband and I have been on one date in almost one year. We recently took in a 16 year old who we are seeking legal custody of and trying to find the time to date is NOT in the cards. Having some type of guidance to help us during these months would be a godsend.

  5. I've been married for 24 years and I just started doing the date night thing. Its more like date lunch.

  6. It sounds like this book could really help my marriage. Things haven't been that good since the baby was born.

  7. when the kids were little, my parents watched them one night a month so we could go out. now that they're older and we have 2 "babysitters" at home (16 & 14 yo), we go out once a week!

  8. We rarely date. It's sad, since my daughter goes to her grandparents' so often, but we're either tired or overwhelmed with housework.

  9. This is one area where we've really dropped the ball. My husband and I used to go on a date every weekend. But since our daughter came home a year ago I think we've been on less that a half dozen without bringing her along. Does it count as a date if she's with us? We've both agreed that we need to get back to having dates (without her) on a regular basis, so this book would definitely be a good one for us right now.

  10. I would love to win this. Maybe it would let me get closer to my husband again, like when we were dating and young, before the kids.

  11. Ah, date night!? What is that? We haven't been out on a date since before baby was born and that was 10 months ago. I guess I really need to read this book.

  12. We've really neglected this aspect of our marriage. Our dating usually consists of dinner on our anniversary and maybe valentine's day. Sigh. I need to read this book!!

  13. Honestly, we don't get to do dates much. My two-year-old daughter is very clingy. I'm just hoping she'll grow out of it...

  14. I sure need reminded about the appropriate 'marriage building' topics of converstion. I tend to think 'Oh goody! Time to talk about the *real* things of life' ...which are also, usually, the heart-heavy things. Well! On my date tomorrow I'll be thinking of some creative thing to chat with my hubby about. Hmm...or maybe we won't do much talking at all... ;)

  15. Man, you've been busy..or have I? It's Monday night and I am just barely catching up with all your posts! You are productive!

    Please, anything to tell me the secrets that my hubby won't tell should be really interesting to read!

  16. Hi, I honestly can't tell you the last time my husband and I have been on a "date!" We hardly ever take time for ourselves and I am starting to feel the effects. Please enter me in your book drawing.
    I really appreciate it.....Cindi

  17. We go on "dates" once a week (sometimes more)! Granted, our dates are not nearly as exciting as any of his creative ideas. Like I mentioned to you already, we'll often just cook a nice meal, have a glass of wine, and watch a movie curled up on the couch together in hopes that the baby doesn't wake up to interrupt us.

    We also try to get out every other week. Either by going to a movie, having dinner, or just going to a bar and talking for a few hours. It really makes such a difference!

    Another great book give-a-way, and another one that even if I don't win, I may have to make a point of looking into! Thanks for all of this great opportunities!

  18. wow if i learned that from that short interview i can imagine what i can learn from reading the wholebook!

  19. I would love to read this book. I do sometimes wish I knew what my husband was really thinking. Thanks
    for the giveaway!

  20. We try to go on a date at least once a month. In addition, sometimes we'll go to a friend's house and play games after the kids are in bed, and that feels kind of like a date because it's fun "adult only" time (although it's with other people, too). I think it's easier for us to do date nights because my sister watches the kids, and if it's at bedtime we feel it's a lot easier for her family (less active watching time because they're sleeping). Plus it feels to me like a night activity is more special and romantic because we so rarely go out anywhere after dark. This sounds like a fun book; thanks!

  21. This was a fun interview, and a neat-sounding book. Sounds like the kind that would definitely spark interesting conversations with my hubby: "Honey do you REALLY think (fill in the blank)....?"

  22. Well, my little girl is now 10 months old and we haven't been on a date for at least 12 months. With 3 kids, finding a babysitter is not always easy, and I have to admit that I haven't been feeling comfortable leaving the baby with someone yet. I would love to win this book, it will be a very interesting read!! Thanks for the give away!

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