I just read a Huffington Post blog entitled Date Night for Parents vs. Date Night for Non-Parents and while it was pretty funny, I felt like perhaps I could use this to bridge the gap between the “my dogs are my children” and “dogs are nothing like children” people. So here it is, with the “parents” portion edited for dog parents:
“Date your spouse!” the experts always say. “Just because you’re married with a family doesn’t mean the spark has to die down. Flirt with each other! Keep the romance alive!”
That’s great advice. Really, it is. It sounds fantastic… in theory. Kind of like before you have
kids dogs when you swear you’re never going to feed them processed cheap food or let them play with your phone old socks to keep them quiet for 10 minutes. But when you try to put it into practice? Well, sometimes it just isn’t practical. I mean, I’m pretty sure that when I’m brushing my teeth while wearing food drool-encrusted pajamas and telling my husband how I accidentally got poop under my fingernail while changing a diaper picking up dog poop and oh by the way did we pay the sewer bill last month?, I’m the last person he wants to flirt with.
I’m not saying it isn’t important to try to keep a connection as a couple — it is. And relationships take work. But so do
kids dogs, and all the obligations that come with them. And when you’re trying to juggle all of that, it’s not usually the children dogs who are shoved to the back burner. Even when you try to keep the spark burning, it’s a whole different ball game when you’re married cohabitating with kids dogs. Going on a date, for example, only remotely resembles the dates you used to go on. Let’s break it down.
parents dog owners: Take a leisurely stroll around the mall because you’d like to pick up a new outfit for tonight. Oh, and maybe a new eyeliner or something at the department store. Throw in a manicure if you’ve got time. Arrive home, soak in a tub, deep-condition and exfoliate and moisturize, shave every shave-able body part while blasting your favorite music. It’s like a spa up in here. Spend ample time perfecting your makeup, hair, and outfit. Put on cute underwear. Be excited because tonight is going to be awesome. Parents Dog owners: Rummage through your closet to find something flattering that you don’t wear every day. Get pissed off. Settle for something. Wish you could take a leisurely stroll around the mall to buy a new outfit. Realize the kids dogs have used eaten your eyeliner as a crayon; make a mad dash to Target use a thin line of eyeshadow instead. Arrive home, look at the clock, freak out because the trip to Target seriously ate into your time budget. Shower quickly, swiping over your legs with a razor, hitting up your pits and bikini line if you have a couple extra seconds. Ignore kids dogs pounding on door play-fighting loudly under the bed. Decide whether to blow-dry your hair or just put it up wet. Put your hair up wet because the dogs are afraid of the blow-dryer. Slap on some makeup. Squeeze into some sort of fat-reducing underwear. Hope you don’t sweat through get dog hair all over your blouse with all this dashing around. Be excited because as soon as you’re able to leave the house, tonight is going to be awesome.
LEAVING THE HOUSE
parents dog owners: Grab purse, cell phone, keys. One last quick mirror check. Open door. Exit. Parents Dog owners: Make sure the kids dogs are fed and the kitchen isn’t a wreck no food is left out for them to cry over while you’re gone. Leave emergency numbers and special instructions for the sitter wrangle the dogs together and try to get them into the proper crates. Tell the kids dogs goodbye. Wonder why the hell they’re acting barking like you’re about to permanently abandon them. Give hugs and kisses turn on lights and TV, adjust security camera to check on them while you’re out, and try not to get food hair or snot drool all over your decent outfit. Pry clingy children from legs shut crate doors. Slip out the door. Realize you forgot your phone. Come back in and repeat clingy-children barking debacle.
parents dog owners: Go to a high-end restaurant or an upscale bar. Order without looking at prices. Enjoy laughs and animated conversation about movies and current events. Check your phone periodically to see if anyone has “liked” your check-in on Facebook. Discuss where to go next; the night is young and the options are endless! Parents Dog owners: Go to a chain restaurant because you have a coupon (or go to a high-end restaurant, but order the chicken because it’s cheap). Feel frivolous because you order an apple-tini with your meal. Rejoice in the fact that you don’t actually have to cut up anybody’s food deal with begging, or tell anyone to get out from under the table or stop blowing bubbles in their chocolate milk trying to get on top of it. Check your phone periodically to make sure the sitter hasn’t called dogs have settled down in their crates. Promise you won’t talk about the kids dogs. End up talking about the kids dogs. Keep checking the time because you’re paying the sitter by the hour you can only be gone for six hours, and anyway, you’re getting tired because 11:00 is way past your bedtime and the kids dogs woke you up at six this morning.
AFTER THE DATE
parents dog owners: Return home; decide whether to end the date or take it further. If it ends there, go inside, remove makeup, put on comfy clothes, let out the fart you’ve been holding in. Go to bed. Sleep peacefully. Wake up whenever. If it goes further… light candles, pour wine, put on soft music, and reveal that cute underwear and those nicely shaved legs. Bow chicka wow wow! Parents Dog owners: Return home. Fork over cash to sitter, trying not to cringe about how much money you’ve spent on this date in total Let dogs out of their crates to the whirling dervish that is their wild and unstoppable excitement. Look at children sleeping let dogs out to run and poop and marvel that you missed them, even though you were excited to be away. Remove makeup, peel yourself out of fat-reducing underwear, put on comfy clothes. Yawn. Decide whether or not to devote a few minutes to “spousal intimacy” with the dogs in your bed with you, or just go right to sleep. Drool all over pillow until child dog wakes you up in the middle of the night for a drink/ to tell you about a nightmare to be let out/to tell you there’s pee in the bed poop on the floor. Wake up at the crack of dawn to make breakfast for hungry children let dogs out again because, duh, who else is going to do it?
So you see? Bringing romance into your relationship is important, but becomes slightly tricky when
kids dogs — and everything attached to having them — are thrown into the mix.
until they’re older for their lifespan, I’ll just be thankful for Netflix and popcorn, and the fact that my husband doesn’t care so much if my legs are stubbly or my outfit is old.
Just as long as there’s no poop under my fingernails.
Much thanks to Rita Templeton, the original author of this article. Rita, if you’re reading this, it means that you’re awesome, and I hope that my blatant plagiarism is seen for the admiration it represents and not because I’m trying to steal your thunder (okay, maybe a little bit of it, until I get picked up as a blogger for HuffPost or HelloGiggles).