By: Emily Graham
You’re not sure how, but you’ve made it through the first weeks of parenthood alive. Now that you’ve got this newborn thing down, it’s time to give your relationship a little TLC. Making time for each other is the key to staying happy in your relationship and working together to raise an awesome kid. But how, exactly, can you make it happen?
Why Date Night Matters
Date night isn’t just about getting a break from parenting. It’s about connecting over something other than who’s on diaper duty so you keep your bond strong. It’s that strong bond that lets you communicate, make decisions, and stay close even after the kids have flown the coop.
Quality time doesn’t have to mean date night — Kindred Bravely explains that you can connect over takeout on the sofa, snuggle up for a movie on the couch, or find another couple’s activity for staying in. However, time away from your infant is important too. After all, it’s hard to give your partner your full attention when you’re keeping one ear open for a crying baby.
3 Steps to Pulling Off a Great Date Night
Ready to give date night a try? Use these tips to pull off your first parents-only outing.
1. Hire a babysitter you really trust
The last thing you want is to set everything up for your date night only to get a sinking feeling when it’s time to leave the house. If you’re going to leave your baby and not turn into an anxious mess, you need to find a sitter you really trust.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have grandparents on speed dial, but you can ask for babysitter references from friends and complete a background check to find a sitter you like. Complete Check lists some important qualifications to keep in mind, such as making sure your sitter is trained in infant CPR and First Aid, as well as performing a thorough interview before hiring. If you’re really nervous about leaving your baby with a sitter for the first time, set up a working interview as a trial run for prospective hires.
2. Prep your baby’s food
Getting out of the house for a few hours is a feat for any new parent. However, for nursing moms, it can seem downright impossible.
If you’re bottle-feeding breastmilk or formula, remember to pump before your date and leave the sitter with clear instructions regarding warming the bottle. This should help buy you a few hours before you need to pump again.
Leaving home is more challenging if you haven’t yet introduced the bottle. Try to time your outing according to your baby’s nursing schedule. If you nurse right before leaving and right after coming home, you can sneak in some time away before your baby even notices! And don’t worry about pumping and dumping — experts agree that, as long as you’re not actively buzzed, it’s safe to nurse after enjoying an adult beverage.
3. Make baby talk off-limits
Let’s be honest: You’re not going to get through an entire datewithout talking about what cute or gross thing your baby did that day. However, avoiding baby talk is still a worthy goal. If parenting discussions dominate your date night, you’ll hardly feel like you got a break at all. Instead, focus the conversation on your relationship, the latest gossip, or another adult topic.
Avoiding baby talk is easier when you’re doing something other than sitting and talking. Instead of the standard dinner date, plan a fun activity to keep your mind off of spit-up and dirty diapers. Buy tickets to a comedy show, get outside for a game of Frisbee golf, or even try your hand at axe throwing! Doing something out of the ordinary distracts you from baby worries and provides conversation fodder for the next night out.
Date night might not be a weekly affair now that you’re parents, but you shouldn’t let it fall off the schedule completely. Keeping your relationship strong is the key to keeping your family strong, and you can’t do it without making time for each other. So, call up your sitter, fill some bottles, and remind yourselves why you got into this crazy, beautiful mess in the first place.
Emily Graham is the creator of MightyMoms.net which offers a wide range of info tailored for busy moms — from how to reduce stress to creative ways to spend time together as a family. She believes being a mom is one of the hardest jobs around and wanted to create a support system for moms from all walks of life.