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As new parents, getting and having quality alone time is hard, and going on an actual date seems impossible. Between feedings, diaper changes, snuggles, and your spouse’s work schedule, time becomes a rare and precious commodity and there is never enough of it. In the early months of your baby’s new life, it’s the simple things that mean the most. Here are a few ideas for simple dates to help keep you and your spouse connected during this hectic season of life.
DATE AT HOME
Whether you are taking turns getting up in the night or you are the one every time because the baby is nursing, sleep is interrupted, and it can leave you both feeling too tired to connect at the end of the day. If the desire is there, you don’t have to look very far to find time to plan a date. One great way to have a simple date is to enlist the help of a trusted third party. Plan for them to stay until lunchtime the next day. If you are nursing, plan for this a week in advance and then pump and store milk. Have a set menu of easy to make, yet nutritious, breakfast foods they can leave on a tray outside your bedroom door when they receive the text saying you are both awake. Then, you and your husband sleep! The next morning, you will feel less like zombies and have breakfast in bed as you spend time catching up and reconnecting. If you both decide that you miss your little one too much, you don’t have to drive home from anywhere or call to check-in. Walk out of the room and see your baby!
OPPORTUNITY TO SOCIALIZE
If you are experiencing cabin fever and need to get out of the house, look for different activities around you that are free, inexpensive, last several hours, and allow people to come and go as they please. Depending on the time of year, this could be a farmer’s market, artist and crafters market, holiday fair, or food truck competition. Either of these events is a great way to get out of the house and be around other adults without having to interact with them unless you want to. Also, you never know what treats you may find to purchase at these events, whether for yourself or someone else! Then you and your spouse are able to wander about, hold hands, and chat. Since you are not stuck there for a certain amount of time, you decide when to go back to your little one even if you have a babysitter.
JUST THE TWO OF YOU
If you’re looking to get out of the house and don’t want to be around people, take a page out of the dating book from years ago and go for a drive. Load up a few snacks and drinks, turn the music up, cruise through the backroads, and enjoy each other’s company. If you see a nice spot, pull over and take a walk or grab a blanket, take those snacks and drinks, and have an impromptu picnic. The important thing is that you are not rushing. You don’t have to make a reservation or showtime. There is no need to wait on a check or for your show to end before you get back in the car and be on your way home. As new parents, the first few times you leave your baby to have a date will be both liberating and stressful, so being able to return home without needing to wait for anyone or anything else removes a stressor you may not realize was there.
A CHANCE TO DRESS UP
When you are a new parent, the idea of taking the time to get dressed up to go out to dinner sounds like a heavenly break and too much effort at the same time. On a brighter note, if you’re going to a specific restaurant or place that holds fond memories for you and your spouse, dressing up brings a level of excitement that mirrors that of a child being told they are getting to go to the ice cream shop! The simple act of dressing up for a date lifts your spirits, especially when you know that you will have uninterrupted time with your spouse in that special place. That thought and the importance of your relationship will give you more than enough energy to put forth that effort! Remembering the good memories you both have of that place will feel wonderful while you make new memories there as new parents getting a break to recharge and rekindle your connection as a couple.
Regardless of the type of date you want with your spouse, keeping it simple ensures that you spend quality time together. This quality time is needed to help keep you both from getting stuck in the rut of going through the motions. When you do that for too long, you won’t remember the last time you were able to have uninterrupted time connecting over something other than “How was your day?”. Choosing a specific friend or family member to be your go-to babysitter will ensure consistency in your new baby’s care and give you the confidence and comfort to leave them for more extended periods. Over time, that confidence opens up opportunities for longer, more involved dates later. Before you go for that gusto, remember that the simple things can create the fondest memories and bond us more closely.
Not everything will always go to plan, check out this post about taking baby on a date night out! You will be amused if nothing else!