Remember your first date out after having a baby? How many times did you check your phone? Was it a fancy, special date, or did you just fly out of your house like a bat out of…a cave?
For our first date out, we had some good friends of ours babysit for us. We must have given them instructions a million times. We left them armed with a baby carrier, pacifiers galore, and white noise by the bassinet. They did comment, however, that they didn’t think that we seemed too anxious about leaving. Honestly, I wasn’t very nervous. :0) Joel had been fussy that day, but we had warned our friends of this ahead of time. They insisted that we leave, so I took them up on that. In fact, I was the first one to say, “Well, it’s time to go!” I wanted to get out! I was of course excited to spend some special alone time with my husband, but if you haven’t been out in weeks without your baby, let’s be honest. It’s time to GO!
So, out we went. Yes, I had my phone out like any new parent would, however, I didn’t expect anything to go wrong. I think that I felt like if I didn’t have my phone out, it would mean that I wasn’t concerned enough – ha! Now I know that I just needed some time away. :0) It wasn’t a super-classy date, but we went out for some delicious pub burgers , fries for Jake (couscous for me), and some beer, at one of our favorite places, The Great Dane. It was AMAZING. I even traded my yoga pants for some nice denim and heels, instead of my usual yoga pants and slippers. And Joel was fine. Fussy, but fine. Well, at least, our friends Emily and Elliot were good sports about Joel’s fussiness.. Apparently, Elliot had to wear Joel in the Baby Bjorn, so he had a crash course in how to soothe an infant. All in all it was a successful experience, as we soaked in all the time we had at the restaurant to savor our meal and sip on our drinks. We felt so glad to be out of the house! I think our waiter understood that we had been sleep-deprived and stir-crazy with a baby at home, because he didn’t bother to bring us the bill for a long time after our last order. Jake and I had fun talking and feeling like a couple again.. And I know that most people go into a date night saying that they’re no t going to talk about the kids, blah blah blah, but we definitely did anyway. We had a great time laughing and not worrying about Joel, even though part of me felt like a bad mom for bee-lining out the door!
We were definitely so grateful that we had so many friends volunteer to babysit and we now have a phenomenal regular babysitter. Even though we’d like to, we just can’t get a sitter for dates all the time. Sometimes, we need to plan a date night “in” or go out on a date with Joel. It’s nice, because when the babies are too young to talk, you can pretty much talk around them (or ignore them? Just kidding!) and still enjoy some one-on-one time. Jake and I really value our time together and ours is a relationship that craves a lot of time. Although it’s not something that we are always guaranteed, we like to plan as much as we can, while still enjoying time with our son.
|Bumming around IKEA. Joel loved it!|
That being said, here is a list of dates that we enjoyed during our first months:
1. Competitive (or non) video game nights: Treat yourself to some popcorn, hot chocolate, or ice cream (or all of the above)! Pop in Mario Kart, Super Mario, or even some good old bowling for Wii. As new sleep-deprived parents, this may be one of the few ways you can actually stay awake and spend time together! Way to multi-task! 🙂
2. Pizza & Movie Nights: A classic. Grab your favorite action flick, or a romantic staple such as “You’ve Got Mail” (a personal favorite) and cozy up on the couch. Who feels like cooking when you have a newborn? Even if you have to hold your baby while you watch a movie, you can still snuggle up with your sweetie!
3. Drive thru dinner dates: This was our first official date out with Joel. Since it was the dead of winter when he was born, we were reluctant to take him out. Plus, I didn’t want to deal with nursing a newborn in public (I wasn’t as brave then). Grab some butter burgers or milk shakes (can you tell I’m from Wisconsin?) and enjoy them in the parking lot while listening to your favorite tunes for some mood music.
4. Be chefs for a night: Plan out a special meal and go out to your favorite grocery store and shop for the ingredients together. While you’re baby is napping or sleeping, grab your santoku knives and get a-chopping! Pour a glass of wine and enjoy a candlelit dinner at the table or on the couch. 🙂
5. Mall walking: This was hands-down one of our favorite activities when Joel was a newborn. Many malls have family restrooms with changing stations, or even some sitting areas near the restrooms where one could easily nurse. Also, department stores also often have powder rooms in the ladies bathrooms where you could breastfeed peacefully. Another great thing about the mall is getting out and catching some exercise while keeping your baby happy with white noise and maybe grabbing some frozen yogurt, coffee, or your favorite cuisine from the food court.
6. Coffee date to-go!: So what about the times that you just need to get out of the house, but your baby is fussy and/or needs to nap? Grab some coffee with your sweetie and enjoy a drive in the country while talking and unwinding with your sweetie. When Joel had colic, this was one pretty reliable way for us to get some “alone-time” amidst the chaos.
7. Get some fresh air: Grab your baby carrier or stroller (and your baby of course) and enjoy some nature! Your baby may enjoy the breeze and may even fall asleep while you’re outside, or perhaps once you get inside. If it’s nice outside, bring a blanket and your favorite foods and enjoy a picnic outside. Don’t forget your camera to capture those inevitable Kodak moments.
|Hopefully this will happen for you. :0)|
8. Make the mundane fun: Bring your shopping list and go out and run your errands as a family. Grocery shopping is much more fun with a little one strapped to you in a baby carrier. Also, you’ll be surprised at how many conversations you’ll strike up with complete strangers because you have a baby in your arms!
|At the farmer’s market with my boys!|
What kinds of baby-friendly dates have you done? Did any of them crash and burn? I’d love to hear them! Even if your dates failed, kudos to you for getting out there and making your marriage a priority! It’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the fact that your relationship with your spouse should come first. That may mean really fighting for that time together, as well as being a little creative in doing so!