When I first got pregnant I mentally committed to doing a Date Night with my husband once a month after the baby came. After all, I thought I had no excuse. I have a great support system in my parents who I knew would welcome any opportunity to watch their granddaughter. Plus my husband and I are fairly social people who enjoy going out. Why wouldn’t we do date night?
Fast forward and suddenly we’re in the thick of figuring out how to parent a two-month-old. I was up to my neck in diaper changes, breastfeeding fails, and sleepless nights. How did I ever think Date Night was going to happen during this? Was I freaking crazy?!
The immediate answer was: YES! I was crazy!
But then one day between feedings and diaper changes I watched my husband. I watched him lovingly holding our daughter and give her a bottle. My. Husband. I watched her wrap her tiny little fingers around one of his and my heart exploded into a million pieces.
Somewhere in the chaos of those first couple months I had lost sight of that man. The man I had been looking at prior to this moment was Dad. He was the guy who relieved me from baby duty when I had to get just one hour of sleep, and the guy who would run to the store when we ran out of formula. Now I was seeing Husband again.
As soon as that clicked back into place for me,we started Date Night. Once a month. The two of us. No baby.
Now, a year and a half later, we’re still going strong! I know romance can be a struggle for any couple getting back on their feet, so here are five tips I learned along the way that make it easier to date your spouse.
Tip one: Make Plans and Don’t Cancel
I live by my calendar. We have to! Between demanding work schedules, swim classes, and play dates our opportunities for quality Husband and Wife times are few and far between. In order for us to have uninterrupted time together, we need to block off the calendar. When Date Night arrives we are always tired, but we know we may not get the opportunity again for a couple weeks so we rally. Don’t cancel. It will be tempting, but you’ll be glad you didn’t.
Tip Two: Be Flexible
The first night we went out after the baby we had a grand evening in mind. We would do dinner, have a couple glasses of wine, and talk the night away! The reality was we were exhausted, wine made it worse, all we could talk about was missing our newborn, and the outfit I had in mind didn’t fit my post-pregnancy body.
But we had to start somewhere and we still had a good time. My mom sent me a picture of our baby doing tummy time. We laughed about the craziness of being first time parents aaaand called it a night after about an hour.
This tip is also important if you are dating someone with kids. If you are, then you probably already know that their child is their whole world. There is room for you too, but, when the babysitter calls halfway thru the appetizers and says Little Johnny has a fever … be flexible.
Tip Three: If You Stay Home, Make it Special
Date Night doesn’t always mean going out. Sometimes you just don’t have the reliability of someone watching baby or the disposable income when you’re forking it out for diapers, bottles, and everything else your baby needs. Especially when Employers are not required to provide paid maternity leave (America, WTF?).
Those things don’t mean Date Night goes down the drain. Stay home, make a special dinner and dine al fresco in the backyard after the baby goes to sleep. Or, stay up late and eat ice cream in bed while streaming that movie you both really wanted to see.
Tip Four: Don’t Argue
This may sound silly but, don’t argue. Often times, Date Night is an opportunity to catch up on all the things you’ve been meaning to talk about, but haven’t found the time. This can lead down the rabbit hole of “I’ve been meaning to tell you to stop leaving the dirty bottles on the counter”. Girl, I know. Things that may have annoyed you prior to baby are now SUPER magnified because there is so much more going on in your life and you are doing EVERYTHING and your spouse can sometimes really get under your skin, but Date Night is not the time to get into the weeds. Date Night is there to enjoy the company of one another, remind each other why you’re in love with each other, and maybe, if you’re feeling it, get some sex in.
Tip Five: Release the Guilt
You will feel guilty leaving baby. That feeling never fully goes away, but it does lessen! Work guilt is one thing because often times work is a necessity but Date Night guilt is extra because it feels like a luxury. You’re choosing to leave baby in favor of movie theaters, bars, or 90’s cover bands. I hear this especially from my single parent dating friends. Let. It. Go. As long as you have a trusted caregiver then there is absolutely no reason you can’t get a few hours with your other half. Baby will get to experience new surroundings, people, or toys and you get to experience your partner. It’s a win-win.