Meant to be: 3 in 4 parents say meeting their partner was love at first sight

NEW YORK — Love is in the air – especially for parents during the pandemic. A new poll finds more moms and dads are now more attuned to love, with many planning to be more romantic with their partner this year.

The new survey of 2,000 parents of children between five and 18 examined how they have kept the spark alive, nearly two years into the pandemic. Seventy-two percent say they still get butterflies when they see their partner, and three in four shared that meeting their significant other was “love at first sight.”

That’s why it’s no surprise that eight in 10 couples are open to recreating their first date to relive those moments (79%).

Keeping the spark alive

Parents Valentine's DayConducted by OnePoll on behalf of Care.com, the study revealed that 78 percent of parents believe having regular date nights is vital in keeping the love train going.

On average, parents have had seven date nights since the pandemic began, with some more creative than others – including “watching movies,” “taking turns preparing a romantic dinner,” or having “picnics outside in the backyard.” Before the pandemic, most parents say they were usually homebodies and preferred to stay in instead of having a date night (72%).

While most parents typically only have date nights for special occasions (79%), the perfect date night can vary depending on the couple — some like a night out dancing (44%) or sightseeing (28%), while others prefer to stay home to talk (46%) or relax (42%).

Moms and dads likely have some help from smaller hands, as two in three parents say that their kids like to help plan their date nights. When it comes to Valentine’s Day, most respondents view the holiday as somewhat romantic (82%), compared to 52 percent of their partners.

Surprisingly, men are more likely to get wrapped up in the romantic holiday than women (85% vs. 80%). Still, three-quarters of all respondents believe Valentine’s Day is an important date night for them and their partner (76%).

“Parents with children of all ages continue to be challenged by the pandemic,” says Sheri Reed, managing editor of Care.com, in a statement. “After two years trying to keep their families healthy and functioning, many have had to put romance on the sidelines. Date nights, like Valentine’s Day, are great opportunities for parents to prioritize their relationship as a couple as well.”

Call the babysitter

Parents Valentine's DayWhile parents love their little ones endlessly, 78 percent say they sometimes need a break to de-stress after being home and helping them with remote learning. On average, parents feel they need a break from their kids up to four times a week.

Meanwhile, 72 percent of respondents feel guilty for going on a date without their children — which is why most parents try to keep their outings short so that they can come home to their children (79%).

“If you feel a sense of guilt when leaving the kids at home for a date night, those feelings are completely normal,” Reed adds. “By taking advantage of trusted resources for finding the right sitter, parents can rest assured their children are safe at home while they enjoy that much-needed time alone.”

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