9 One-Hour Date Ideas for Busy Parents

Here's how nine couples make the most of their hour of (very rare) alone time.

by Fatherly
Originally Published: 

If innocence is the first casualty of war, then free time is the first casualty of fatherhood. Hell, just being able to poop uninterrupted would be an amazing experience. Now, while this shouldn’t come as a surprise, it is still something that requires a lot of life re-calibration, particularly when it comes to spending some quality time with your spouse. After all, the regularly scheduled date nights of your life B.C. (before children) are now rare entities. Because spending zero alone time with your spouse is a recipe for disaster, many busy parents have adapted to a one-hour date philosophy: carving out little joint activities that can be done during the hour here or there that might be available. To that end, we asked several parents to tell us their go-to one-hour date. The answers ranged from Oreo-dunking to stone Mario-Karting, all should inspire you to cram more fun into that rare 60-minute session.

Just Dessert

“We often have at-home dinner PTSD because the kids make everything a mess. So when we have a spare hour, we go right to dessert. There’s a bakery on my way home from work that makes these ridiculous buttercream cookie sandwiches — they’re like fancy adult Chipwiches — and we’ll have those with a bottle of cheap wine. If we just need to de-stress and get some alone time, we’ll tear open a bag of Oreos and sit at the kitchen table with two big glasses of milk and talk about anything but work and the kids.” — Kevin, father of three, Salt Lake City

Scotch and Scrolling

“Sounds weird but my wife and I will make plans to pour a glass of nice Scotch — our favorite is Lagavulin— bust out the iPad and scroll through photos of exotic locations on Lonely Planet or Instagram hashtags. We used to travel a lot before we had kids and doing this allows us to plan future dream trips (far in the future like when our toddlers are in college) and reminisce about the good times we had in Italy — we met when we were abroad. If that gets boring, the Scotch loosens us up enough that we just start trashing families we think are lame on Instagram.” — Colin, father of one, Orlando

Getting Our Hands Dirty

On weekends when the kid is napping, now that it’s nice out, we’ll go out and work on our garden. We both like being out the yard and planting new flower beds, staking our tomato plants and things like that. It feels far enough away yet close enough to our kid — we can hear her if she wakes up. It’s always been a shared passion. Plus, it lets us put our minds on something that’s not the kids, whether it’s turning soil or trying to devise new was the prevent the friggin’ squirrels from eating what we’re growing. — Neal, father of two, Fort Worth

A Nice, Long Walk

“Honestly, we’re pretty simple. If we have an hour for a quick date, we’re putting on our shoes and heading out on a long walk around the neighborhood. It’s amazing how great it feels to get out of the house and move around in a place where there’s fresh air and no walls — or piles of laundry.” — Brent, father of one, Houston

A Classic Combination

“On rare nights when we have an hour, we pull out that new parent classic combo: We order delicious food, watch some old sit-com — who has the energy or time to watch a brand new show? — and talk about our baby until we fall asleep. The sleep part happens pretty soon.” — John, father of three, San Diego

A Bike Ride

“Yeah it sounds like something out of some romantic comedy. But we go for a bike ride together around the neighborhood. It’s simple and gets our bodies moving in a way that they don’t when we’re just around the house with the kids. We usually do it separately. But when we have an hour to ourselves, we’ll go together.” — Shaun, father of two, Cincinnati

A Quickie Workout and a Quickie

“Our go-to one-hour date is a 35-minute workout in the living room, followed by 5-10 minutes of sex and a 10-minute shower together. Can’t beat it.” — Chris, father of one, New Orleans

A Quick Hit and Some Mario Kart

“We hit the vape once or twice and then sit there and just talk and enjoy the minor high. We’re experienced smokers so we know that we won’t be impaired to not get our stuff done. But honestly, we get high and play a round or two of Mario Kart.” — Lawrence, father of two, New York

Listen to Old LPs

“My wife and I have a record player and we have an hour we just turn down the lights, play an old record, and just really listen to it from start to finish. Most old LPs are, what, 45 minutes, which is the perfect length. We listen to everything: blues records (Ben Webster is a favorite), ’70s hits (Tumbleweed Connection by Elton John is a newly discovered gem), and ’90s hip-hop (We recently got a copy of Mos Def’s Black On Both Sides). It’s amazing what 45 minutes of listening to something with another person can do for you.” — Greg, father of three, San Francisco

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