“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group and BJ’s Restaurants, but all my opinions are my own. #DineInOrderAhead #pmedia http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV“
When was the last time you had a date night?
I know, I know … pause, think long, think hard. Last month, the month before … when was your anniversary again? Eek, Valentine’s Day didn’t even warrant a night out this year. Oh golly, has it really been that long!
Needless to say, it’s really hard to steal away for a night out when you have little ones. I tend to have a million excuses … it’s bath night, or Max nurses to sleep and therefore needs me, or who’s even free to watch them if we do decide to go out. But. And this is a big BUT. No married person can argue the fact that date nights are crucial to reconnecting, recommitting and just enjoying time your spouse. You know, like the old days.
I don’t consider myself an expert on date nights, Lord knows I’m an expert on just about nuthin’; I do have a few tips worth sharing though. I hope you chime in with your own tips for planning successful date nights and GET ONE ON THE CALENDAR. You need one soon. You deserve one soon.
- Find a Keeper Sitter — This is usually the #1 stumbling block for date nights. Who will watch the hooligans? Or, more likely … who doesn’t charge $47/hour/child? Here’s my advice if grandparents, aunts or uncles aren’t readily available. One, babysit swap with another couple. You take their kids one night, they take your kids the next. Two, put the word out at church. This is my favorite, mostly because you can get great recommendations from nursery staff, pastors and other parents. I’m especially keen on the tweens who want to gain babysitting experience, but can’t fly solo yet. In this case, offer to pay them and their parent for a team gig so they can gain experience and you can rest easy. Three, college students. The majority are extremely responsible. Place a flyer on your local campus and screen properly and you’ll most likely find a keeper.
- Think Outside of the Box — Date nights do not have to happen on Friday or Saturday night. What about a Monday lunch? Or Tuesday Happy Hour? How about Saturday brunch? It’s often easier to find a sitter and you won’t deal with throwing off bedtime routines.
- Put Your Phones Away — You’ve heard it a million times, and here it is again. Those pieces of technology that make our lives so much easier? They’re a date night drain. Set them on the table so you can be easily reached if the kids need you and then don’t anticipate their ring. No Facebook, save date night photos for a #latergram and it goes without saying, works emails can wait until tomorrow.
- Make the Most of Your Conversation — It’s tempting to talk about bills or your family calendar of events as soon as children aren’t beckoning you or your spouse, but leave those things behind. My husband and I have actually started dealing with those things via email so they’re written down and completed while at our computers when we can reference the budget/calendar. So, what do you talk about? Well, the things you used to discuss when you were in those carefree dating days – your hopes, dreams, plans for the future, hobbies, feelings, etc. We’ve enjoyed perusing the book, Love Talk Starters by Les & Leslie Parrott. It may sound silly to pull out a book of conversation prompts on a date night, but being intentional about our conversation makes the most of our time together.
- Choose a Strategic Location — Some restaurants take forever to get your order, deliver your meal and bring the check … am I right? It steals time away from seeing a movie or squeezing in a romantic stroll before heading home to the littles. I hate that. Really, I do. Because as much as I love eating out, it’s my preference to share a meal AND an activity if we’re going to call it a true date night. That’s why I’m thrilled BJ’s Restaurant has implemented a new app just for us mamas and papas who need to be strategic with their dates. Download it here —> iPhone or Android.
Last week Dominic and I met up for a Wednesday luncheon date and tried out the Dine In Order Ahead and Mobile Pay features of BJ’s app. It was flawless and absolutely perfect for our quick getaway in the middle of his work day.
Before I left the house to pick up Dominic at work, I placed our order through the app. It had tons of customization options – I was able to swap the cheese on Dominic’s burger and make a note that he wanted a side of ranch. Priorities, you know :) The photos and descriptions make my mouth water, especially BJ’s famous pizookies!
We arrived and were immediately seated. Before meeting our server, a kitchen runner delivered my soup. Yep, less than 30 seconds after being seated, I was diving into this bliss …
Our meals quickly followed and our server confirmed that everything was well while refilling our drinks. As our plates were cleared the pizookie trio (I chose salted caramel, chocolate chunk and peanut butter) landed front and center. Oh, heavens. It’s as divine as it looks. Really, everything was divine.
I broke rule/tip number 3 and checked the BJ’s app on my phone to see if our check had uploaded in the Mobile Pay section. It had, so I quickly confirmed the amount, added a tip and signed — all right on my phone.
We were in and out in 34 minutes. And BJ’s was busy! That’s beverages, a soup starter, 2 entrees and dessert all served, eaten and cleared within 34 minutes. Amazing, right?
To say that BJ’s Dine In Order Ahead and Mobile Pay app made our date lunch easier is an understatement. It was a huge part of its success! BJ’s is definitely a leader in the restaurant industry for dreaming up this app. If you ask me, it’s pure genius for parent diners. Can I get a “Hooray!” for date nights made simpler?
Don’t forget to schedule that date night. Like, right now … email your husband and get it on the calendar! And download BJ’s Mobile App to make your time together efficient!