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Hey, we get it. You’ve got a million and one things to plan, organize and keep track the last thing you have the time for is date night. But connecting with your partner (without any little people around) is key to a healthy relationship wherein you don’t want to murder each other over a botched peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. That’s why we turned to Rachel Hollis, super mom and blogger behind The Chic Site, to nab her top tips for date night—a practice that she says is sacred in her house. (Did we mention that she has four kids?)  

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Schedule It In (but Actually)

This first tip’s a no-brainer. Plan your date nights (Rachel does ’em weekly) just like you would any other appointment or commitment in your life. “We’ve booked our babysitter from now until the end of time, every Thursday evening,” she says. Don’t have the budget for a sitter? “Swap with another parent—they want time away, too!” Looping someone else into your plans will make them harder to break. (Just make sure it’s someone you can use regularly so you don’t have to go through phone numbers, allergies, etc. every time.)

Repeat After Us: Don’t. Feel. Guilty.

Kids trying to make you feel bad about leaving? Rachel’s having none of it. “When our kids got old enough to push back, there were definitely some attempts to guilt trip us. But I was like, ‘Get out of here!’” The key to getting the whole family on board is to explain why date night is essential (you know, that spending quality time just the two of you makes your relationship stronger). “We want the kids to look back on their childhood and remember that mom and dad made each other a priority,” Rachel explains. And if you start feeling guilty about spending time away from the kiddos, just remember Rachel’s words of wisdom: “If the relationship with my husband isn’t healthy, then we can’t be great parents. We make our relationship a priority so that we’re better able to take care of them.”

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Treat Date Night Like a Date Night

Rachel’s at-home uniform may be sweatpants, no bra and bedhead (yep, us too), but on date night, she’ll spend time on her makeup and put on the good underwear. And your partner should do the same (get out of his comfy pants, that is). The logic? “I want to be sexually attracted to my husband and the dates play into that. It’s a chance to see him the way other people see him.” No need to don your best cocktail attire, but a little effort can go a long way.

Put the Smartphones Down

Let’s get real—a total tech ban on date night is never going to happen. Instead, just don’t let it become a distraction. Try to keep phone use to a minimum—unless you’re sharing, that is. “We think memes are the funniest thing on the planet, so a lot of times when we’re waiting for our drinks to arrive we’ll show each other whatever’s making us crack up.” Hey, the couple that laughs together, stays together.

Go Somewhere You Can Talk

Sure, it’s great to finally watch a grown-up movie, but make sure you schedule in some time to catch up and chat, too. Rachel’s date night go-to? “We’ll go grab a drink and then go walk over and have dinner somewhere else. Going from one location to the next makes us feel worldly,” she jokes.

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But Don’t Talk About the Kids

“Be really mindful of using your date to talk about each other and your personal lives, and not your kids,” advises Rachel. You play mom and dad all the time, this is an opportunity to be, you know, you.

Try Something New

Dinner is a date night favorite, but don’t be afraid to switch it up. Rachel explains: “Mini golf, bowling or going to see a musical are great opportunities to see your partner in a different way than how you’re used to seeing them.” (See earlier note about the sweatpants.)

Know What You Want Out of the Night

Before you go out, think about what it is that you want to get out of the date night. For Rachel, she says that she wants to feel sexy, spend time with her husband and make out when she gets home. “This may sound ridiculous, but if I’m not intentional about that, then I will make choices on the date about what I’m eating or how much I’m drinking that will make me feel too tired or bloated to accomplish those things.” Set an intention, and then enjoy.

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