Does the pandemic life have you feeling as though you are together all the time, yet still missing connection with your partner? Speaking for myself, and the other mom’s I chat with (which is a limited group these days), we have had to think far outside the box to get any semblance of a date planned! Due to establishment closures and choosing to limit our social circle & contact with others, we have had to get creative when we plan dates. I have polled other parents, read comments on the Duluth Mom community page, and researched some local businesses to help you get creative, too, with your date time(s).
Before I dive into the date ideas, I want to highlight the value of taking this time. My husband and I recently took advantage of a day off we both had while our kids were in daycare. I knew that I missed date night with him, but I had no idea just how much I missed him! We started the day by each taking some time for ourselves (running, napping, reading, etc.). Then we grabbed some take-out and ate lunch together, went to the liquor store, and cracked open our new beers over a game of cards. We laughed and connected outside of our regular conversation – you know the ones where you are just talking about your kids? Lately, for us, the regular conversations have felt like coordinating tasks of a business. Who is making the kids’ lunches? Who is on bedtime duty? Who is doing the transporting to and from childcare?
It is important for me to mention that I recognize that this time together alone was a huge privilege and was only able to take place because our kids attend preschool. However, in 2020, from March through September, they were at home instead of their classrooms. I recognize that all of our circumstances are very different. Some of us have babysitters or family members in our bubble, some of us have options of overnights or weekends away, and some of us have absolutely zero time away from our children unless it’s because they happen to sleep in a different room than us.
The days that followed date day had me feeling a tad lighter. The weight I usually carry as a mother, partner, employee, and human living through a pandemic can get pretty heavy. I felt happier and had a greater emotional connection to my husband. The absence of the weight left space for me to remember something very important…”Hey, I really like this person!” Of course, I already knew that, but it was a beautiful reminder to truly see the human I chose to spend my life with.
This opportunity re-emphasized the deep importance of my relationship and how easy it is to take for granted. Not only do I want to have an exceptional relationship with my husband, but I want my children to see what partnership & love can look like. Our relationship is the blueprint for their future ones. Our relationship is the foundation of our family and if it is not strong, then the rest of the house will be affected. I hope that this inspires you to take some intentional time to dedicate to your family’s foundation.
Now onto ideas of ways to date during a pandemic, broken down into categories. I highly recommend making this time intentional by applying a no phone rule – toss it under the bed, put it on airplane mode in your purse, or stick it in a drawer.
Staying Home (for when your kids are not home or when they are asleep)
Order take-out – some of our local favorites include Vita Pizza, Tavern on the Hill or Blackwoods, Texas Roadhouse, Burrito Union (branch out to places you usually do not get because your kids won’t eat it!).
Game night (or afternoon)- learn a new card game together, play a board game that challenges your brain (skip Candy Land for this time), purchase some relationship cards or find an app that inspires you to create discussions that you wouldn’t normally have.
Create your own wine sampling or beer tasting event– Check out the Vikre Distillery take home drink kits.
Take a virtual tour of somewhere you have been or hope to go– Glensheen Mansion offers virtual tours locally, there are also many vacation destination virtual tours worldwide.
Attend a virtual concert – from the comfort of your living room.
Going Out but Staying Close (you have a sitter of some kind)
Grab take-out– a pizza, a beverage, your conversation cards, and park on Skyline Drive (or somewhere else that gives you a nice view).
Adventure OUTSIDE– If you ever wanted to try a new activity now is the time! Otherwise, pick up an activity you love (or used to) and share this experience with your partner. Check out Hartley Nature Center, Continental Ski & Bike, and UMD for rental of snowshoes and skis. The Duluth Parks & Recreation website is a wealth of information for renting equipment, finding outdoor skating rinks, and the many programs being provided. Try Fat Tire biking with Day Tripper of Duluth. How about having that sitter take your kids sledding while you and your partner sneak away on a different trail for your own adventure? Want to take it easy? Grab a hot beverage and take a stroll on the Lakewalk.
Find a place in your house (basement or garage) while your sitter stays with your kids & puts them to bed so you can play a game & have an adult beverage. Make your kids think you left so they don’t come searching for you!
Going All Out
Escape Room– Check out Solve Entertainment (they offer in person and virtual challenges).
Ax Throwing – at Blacklist Brewing Co.
Cedar and Stone Nordic Sauna – couple’s sauna
Get crafty– for painting fun check out On the Rocks Art Studio (Duluth) or Art on the Planet (Superior). Try your hand at classes with Board & Brush Creative Studio or Lake Superior Art Glass. Many of these have take home kits as well so they can be done at home or in person.
Dead on Arms Indoor Shooting Range – get fired up at a shooting range together.
See a movie– Marcus Theaters is doing retro movie showings for $1 on Sundays, and also private theater rentals.
Support a local brew house or cider house– Bent Paddle, Ursa Minor, Hoops Brewing Company, Earth Rider Brewery, Wild State Cider, Duluth Cider, and the Tap Exchange. Most have outdoor seating options.
Dine-in or take-out – Sir Benedicts Tavern on the Lake installed fire pits in all of their outdoor tables. Try some of the new restaurants to spice up your weekly menu such as Jamrock Cultural Restaurant, Spoons Bar & Grill, Phoholic Taste of Vietnam.
Get silly– agree on a budget, and pick out funny costumes for a themed game night. Have one partner choose a surprise date activity that the other ones just has to go along with. Also, people watching together should never be underestimated.