“How on earth is it possible to have date night when in medical school, residency, or fellowship?” everyone asks.
There are some legitimate obstacles:
How do you sync up our schedules when your DrSpouse has to wear a pager?!
How do you find a reliable babysitter during that one random WEEKDAY your DrSpouse happens to be available to go out?!
How can you keep dealing with built-up anticipation and disappointment when you have to reschedule?!
These were all excellent questions.
For our family, all of the trouble and disappointment it took to “get away” led us to stop trying for a long time. We resigned to just sitting on the couch together with a baby monitor closeby as the best version of date night we could pull. But over the years, we learned that there are ways to have date night away despite the challenges that come with being a medical family.
Let me share with you those tips.
How To Do Date Night When You Are In A Medical Marriage
1. Have A Long List of Babysitters (With Backups To Your Backups)
When we first became parents, we thought that knowing ONE solid babysitter was enough. But we soon learned that babysitters have all sorts of schedules. Some are available only after school, evenings, weekends, or college breaks. And their schedules change on you without you knowing.
That’s why you need to vet at least 4-5 babysitters so that when one wasn’t available, you can go down the list until you got one.
(By the way, I advise every family to do this not only for date night but also for emergencies. For instance, one of my friend’s son had to go to the ER while her husband was working at the hospital and couldn’t come home. She had to stay overnight at the ER, and since they had other kids, they were in a bind. But luckily they had a trustworthy babysitter stay with her other kids overnight while her husband continued to work.)
2. “Date Night Hack”
Dr. Drummond of The Happy MD calls this the date night hack: Schedule at least one date night at all times. If it doesn’t happen, re-schedule it for another date. Without a date night written somewhere on your calendar, it usually gets canceled.
3. Anticipate The Excitement
Text your DrSpouse and tell how excited you are. Play it up. This is part of the fun of date night!
4. Break The Novelty
Different activities have the ability to jog the brain and act like a “first date.” It fills you with endorphins just like when you were newly in love.
Do one of those Groupons where you paint and wine together, take a sushi rolling class, rock climb or go to a concert. Whatever you haven’t done together yet but have an interest in it, that’s what you should do for date night.
Our most recent date night was at Dave & Busters. We had gone separately before, but never with one another. We learned that we rocked at Halo together…teamwork makes the dream work 😉
5. Schedule The Next One Before The Day Is Over
Before your day ends, schedule the next date night. If you don’t schedule it, this date night that’s supposed to happen “at some point” will never happen.
When You Simply Can’t Go Out…
I totally get that sometimes you can’t get out the door. It’s totally common in medical marriages. In those cases, those date nights at home that we did while sitting on your back porch with your baby monitor will do just fine.
The #1 key for any date night is blocking out time to spend together one-on-one and having that connection.
- “Date night hack”
- Have a long list of babysitters
- Anticipate the excitement
- Break the novelty
- Schedule the next one before the day is over
Date nights as a medical family are hard. But make them happen.
If you can’t go out, have a date night in your own home. As long as you block out time to connect with one another, that’s what’s most important.
Your kids will thank you for showing them what it means to take time for one another. And you will find your marriage and your family stronger.
I’m a hugger. I’m hugging and supporting you, friend
To your strong medical family,