When Date Night Goes Wrong

My husband and I rarely go out as a couple. When we get the chance for a date night, we snatch it up like kids grabbing candy from the Halloween treat bowl. So when grandparents come to town, we accost them and beg for a few hours away from our kids. The thing is, for years I just never found any sitters I liked—until now. To celebrate my husband’s fortieth birthday, I hired our new sitter and spent weeks anticipating the night out with my aging husband.

In the past, some date nights we’ve been granted have been spontaneous. A grandparent mentions, “Feel free to go out tonight,” and my husband and I are out the door within minutes. No time for chitchat or wardrobe changes—we make plans in the car. We have a habit of dining early, joining the older crowd for the early bird special. Or we go later and get seated by the couple with the screaming kid. As much as I try to ignore this, I’ve left my screaming kids at home so I can enjoy a peaceful meal for once. A meal that doesn’t involve someone squawking, “I don’t like this food!” A meal where some child isn’t climbing out of her seat and the parents are at wit’s end. I get a little deflated when that battle happens right next to me. I think, “I’ve been there lady, I really have, but I’ve been on this dating side so much less frequently lately. I’m a little more sympathetic to me right now.”

Having the luxury to plan date night is pretty rare. Saturday everything was going seamlessly. I actually dressed up for the finer establishment, switched purses even. The kids’ dinner came out of the oven just as the sitter arrived. My husband and I were walking out the door and my daughter ran to me, frantically pointing to her mouth. “What is it?” A mouth full of vomit, that’s what it was. My husband rushed her to the bathroom. I told the sitter to run home, away from our germs. In the kitchen my son bawled over his dinner. “I don’t like it when people throw up,” he sobbed. He shivered with fear, thinking of the last stomach bug that swept over our house two years ago that made him sick for ten days. Knowing a virus had entered our house again terrified him.


Ready to go on the date that never was.

My husband and I put our crummy clothes back on. Like forecasters calling for snow, we were parents predicting a wave of stomach terror. It was time to stock up on Gatorade, crackers, and disinfecting wipes. We needed to run to the store for sick supplies in case we were unexpectedly shut in like last time when the virus took my husband and me down in the night within hours of each other.

Instead of the delicious dinner we dreamed about, we ate stale leftovers and spent our date night a little nauseated, pondering our indigestion, and wondering whether every grumble of our stomachs meant we would be next. We prepared for the storm, turned out the lights, and went to bed early, not knowing how many times we’d be up in the night.

But my daughter made it through. She nibbled Cheerios at breakfast and announced she felt fine. Now the rest of us wonder who’s next. We sit and wait. And for now, date night will have to wait too.



Filed under Can't Get a Break

56 responses to “When Date Night Goes Wrong

  1. nicola

    Bummer! That happened to us a couple of months ago and it was soo disappointing. Organise it again soon so you get your night out!

  2. OH How awful! 😦 Glad to hear she is feeling better though.

  3. Bummer! I know exactly how you feel. I even knew what you were going to say before I read it. I have three kids and the same thing happens. My wife and I try to go out and of course one of our kids gets sick or they get in trouble and shouldn’t get rewarded by spending the night at their friends. And when one gets sick we make arrangements alternating days off while the other kids get sick.

    • I’m really just glad it didn’t happen later, like right as we settled in for our meal. And that the sitter didn’t have to deal with it. Besides, kids just want their parents when they feel bad. Of course, it could have happened before she got here. 😉

  4. Grandparents are the best for that. 🙂 Our 3yr old spent the weekend at the grandparents house, gave us the chance to go to the movies, a book store, all as a leisurely pace, while our son got to go see Canyon Lake and get some sun. Was a good weekend for all I think.

  5. lisa

    Here’s hoping you miss the bullet. Give me anything but a stomach bug.

  6. Yes, yes. I know how it is to try to leave the house. I hope you’ll all well still.

  7. Oh I hope you all don’t get it! Sending healthy thoughts… Yes, I agree with the others pick a date now to go out again so you have something to look forward to 😉

  8. Awe! Big hugs! Hopefully nobody else is next! And hopefully date night will happen again soon! 🙂

  9. get that sitter back and get out! you need it now even more!

  10. oh no, poor you! glad she’s feeling better, and hope you all avoid it! and happy 40th to your hubby, hope you get to celebrate soon… 🙂

  11. I am sooo sorry you had to cancel date night like that! It is crushing enough to have to have to put back on the crummy clothes, as you said, and just continue on feeling bummed about a missed planned night but to have the addition of the possibility of the stomach flu – awful. Hope everyone powers through with minimal vomiting and you can call that sitter back soon.

    • Yeah, looking forward to a good meal and then eating what we ate was a real downer! The last time we had this, my daughter got it first and it was very mild for her (just like this time) and then four days later it hit the rest of us and we could not move. We’re on pins and needles!

  12. We all feel for you. Kids just don’e know how to time these things! Hope she is recovered quickly….

  13. Aside from the “mouth full of vomit” part, my favorite was “switched purses, even.” So familiar. Hope you guys are surviving!

  14. A mouth full of vomit!! Oh my…I’m laughing, but not because it’s funny.

    If I had a dollar for every time that happened to us, I might be able to pay a babysitter. We ditched an entire date WEEKEND last year when Ginny came down with croup the day we were supposed to leave. Getting someone to watch four kids overnight twice has no price – the stars and venus must align. Rats, those kids.

    I hope the vomit virus didn’t make another debut! *crossing fingers*

    • Not that everyone wants to talk about it, but my daughter has the uncanny ability to keep her vomit in a controlled space. It’s amazing really, and helpful.

      I do hope you get your weekend. I know that was a huge bummer.

  15. I feel your pain and echo everyone else who said to get that sitter back again! I love that you changed your purse – that’s big time! Hope your stomachs stay in one piece and you get your date night rescheduled soon! And I hear you on the dining out piece – loved the line “I’m a little more sympathetic to me right now.”

  16. That is so sad! Now I just want to offer to babysit so you can finally have your date night. As long as no one throws up on me, of course.

  17. Oh, Karen! Tragic! I almost couldn’t bear to read any further once I glimpsed the path you were about to start down. Why is this always the way with having kids?

    Happy 40th birthday to the hubs. I hope, hope, hope you’ll get a do-over soon.

  18. I can totally understand that! ….plan another one soon..:=)!

  19. Mummy Drinks Tea

    Erm, trying to think of something positive and erm well, maybe it was bacterial and not a virus and you’ll all be absolutely fine!! Book your next date right now! X

  20. I am SO SAD for you! Kids always throw up at the wrong times (not that there’s ever a good time mind you). Once we missed a parent’s night out (where we get to leave our kids) because my daughter was throwing up. I was so pathetically sad. I empathize.

    I hope you get to go out again real soon. Happy birthday to your hubby!

  21. justjulius6438

    it was so nice to hear how you couples could still have date night. i wonder where mine goes. my wife always tired from work but would still love to go out with me whenever pos sible. while on the other hand, im the jerk who insist on staying with the kids with always the same devastating and stressful result afterward.

  22. rookiemomadventures

    I know how you feel. I hope you get that rescheduled soon!

  23. This story is a metaphor for parenthood. It’s nice to be needed but …

  24. loosehalfofme2012

    I am so sorry I know how special date nights are.. Hope everyone feels better.

  25. Oh sorry to hear your date night turned out this way! I hope you get to reschedule soon. Being a parent and trying to keep your marriage alive is always a struggle for many couples. Just shared this on my FB!

  26. We’ve made plans two times in the past year to have date night. Hours before the event is to take place our daughter has got sick!! These were the only times she has got sick all year! This Saturday we have date night planned…I’m crossing my fingers!

  27. Great post! Date night is so important for us isnj’t it. I hope you two can reschedule. Look forward to reading more about your family.

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