Cool Parents Get Out of the House

There’s temptation when your kids are young to spend the weekends at home. After all, with a busy workweek and chores to be done around the house, it’s often easier to hunker down with delivery pizza and Netflix. Do you look back longingly on the years before kids—when you dressed up, tried new restaurants and checked out the latest hot spots? What happened to that energetic, adventurous couple? Have you kissed your social life goodbye?

Get out of the house! One day, in the not too distant future, weekends will be spent shuttling kids from a hockey game to band practice to travel soccer. You may wish for a time when their friends and sports commitments didn’t dictate how weekends are spent. When those kids have turned into teenagers, there will be plenty of evenings stuck at home alone with your spouse, waiting by the phone, with an eye on the clock as your child’s curfew approaches.

All new parents complain about not getting enough date nights, and unless you have family close, you might be stuck paying for a near stranger to watch your kids. With the going rate for a babysitter reaching 20-25 bucks an hour (plus tip)—hiring someone isn’t always a possibility. An inexpensive option for childcare is one of the Parent’s Nights Out programs offered by some local high schools, churches, and community centers. The Wishing Tree at One Loudoun can provide some cost-effective childcare options, as the Alamo movie theater is just one street over. Have dinner and a movie all at the same time and still be back to pick up your kids in under 3 hours. The Fitness Equation at One Loudoun (TFE) offers Parent’s Nights Out to members and non-members as well.

Another option (and my favorite) is to take the kids with you! It’s the middle of winter and everyone has cabin fever. You need a beer and they need a change of scenery. As exhausting as the baby and toddler years are, at least they are portable! Pack that diaper bag; snap that car seat into the stroller and GO! El Fresco Mexican Grill in Chantilly offers free kid’s meals on Saturday nights and often has entertainment as well. The Green Turtle is a favorite as kids eat free every day.
Miller Ale house does Kid’s nights on Tuesdays along with their regular $8.50 draft pitchers for mom and dad. At the Bungalow Lake House in Sterling, kids get free brunch on weekends.

The Zone in Ashburn has a full-scale bar for parents with bowling, laser tag, virtual reality, and arcade gaming for the entire family. The restaurant has great, inexpensive food, and it is as enjoyable for adults as it is for kids. This is a perfect place to get together for a happy hour or a night out with friends who have kids the same age as yours.

A great place to have a real, adult conversation with your spouse or meet with friends is Ridgetop Coffee in Sterling. Parents can sip coffee and talk while kids, aged 2-6, play in their separate, glassed-in play area. The kids are literally seen but not heard (our grandparents’ generation would approve). Blend Coffee bar in Broadlands is another great place where couples can have a day date while young kids play in a small section with toys provided or select books off the shelf. Blend frequently holds events like afternoon story time where kids get to make a fun craft, and parents can enjoy coffee or a glass of wine.

Not only is Vanish Brewery in Leesburg considered “kidfriendly,” it actually seems when you look around you might be required to have a kid with you to get in! Most guests at Vanish seem to have a baby in one hand and a beer in the other. The older kids enjoy the outdoor play structure, and parents patron the outside “beach bar” which serves beer on tap next to several picnic tables. Smart parents know to bring crayons and coloring books to keep their little ones busy while enjoying pizza, beers, and live music. Vanish is the perfect place to spend a family day or entertain friends visiting from out of town.

Lost Rhino, Old Ox, and Solace are three breweries in Ashburn where strollers and young children playing is a common sight. Lost Rhino has great flat bread pizzas. Old Ox has plenty of board games and corn hole. Solace has a section of the brewery that is gated-in and makes the perfect place for toddlers to play safely without escaping. Bring your own toys, but don’t be surprised when you start chatting with parents with kids the same age as yours when you realize they are playing together. The brewery scene is where cool parents of young kids spend their leisure time.

There’s no doubt that becoming parents changes your priorities and values and certainly how you spend your weekends, but there’s no reason why you can’t get out of the house and have some fun. Leaving the house with a newborn can seem daunting and a toddler downright terrifying, but if you’re savvy and you know where to go locally, you can remember how it felt to be cool and fun like before you had kids.