Both myself and my husband used to be really good out on a ‘date night’ but, since we have had our first baby, she isn’t ready to be babysat and I feel at this point we wouldn’t be able to leave her for a few hours, but lack of time out is having an impact on our relationship.
I think many couples with young children will identify with this issue. In so many other columns I advise a weekly date night for the overall health and wellbeing of your relationship with your spouse.
During this stage when you have a newborn, my advice is to change your mind set as to what a ‘date night’ needs to entail. It doesn’t have to involve babysitters and taxis and fine dining. A date night, in essence, is a chance for you and your spouse to chat, to laugh and to connect, this doesn’t always need a babysitter.
Pick a night in the week that you will get a stress free, no-fuss dinner, perhaps a ‘dine in’ ready meal that needs no preparation or cleaning, set the table with your best crockery, open your favourite bottle of wine and light some candles, you bring the restaurant to your home. You will be amazed at how taking these steps will make you feel you’re a million miles away from the baby you just put to sleep. It’s really important that you make a special effort on this night and ensure that you do it at least once a week, and remember the dishes can wait until the morning! It needs to be in your calendar the same way it would be if you were leaving the house for dinner, otherwise, it just won’t happen.
Then you need to take other steps. You know all those offers of help from friends and family? Take them! So you can’t give your children to a babysitter just yet, take up that offer of help by going to a family or friend’s house during the day and simply going for a coffee or for lunch for an hour somewhere close by while they watch the baby, that way if you are needed you are just around the corner but you will still get to enjoy some ‘baby free’ time together.
You need to be creative in your thinking, you could go for lunch with one another in a shopping centre and ask a friend or family member to just walk the baby while you eat. Different scenarios will work for different people, maybe you have friends with a small baby. Can you help each other out? You could take their baby for an hour while they grab a coffee and then they do the same for you upon their return? Really it’s all about thinking outside the box and deciding that getting some alone time together, be it for a walk, a coffee or an extra special meal at home is very important and you will do what it takes to make it happen. Ultimately looking after your relationship and being strong together as a couple will help you to be good parents and care for your new baby so you should make a plan today on how it can be made the priority that it deserves to be.