This post was originally written March 15, 2009. At even a few months old, I’m sure most of you have not read it. I think it’s important, so I’m putting it in front today.
Having a baby is arguably one the most stressful life events. This wonderful, awe-inspiring change brings with it heightened emotions, hormones (of course), and pressure. Even if this baby is not your first, you will likely experience added stress with a new little one at home. The new dad is also prone to feel the stress. How could he not?
A great way to release some tension is to go on a date. I know, you may be thinking that sounds crazy when your baby needs you so much. It is true that our babies need constant attention. That is the reason we must take a break and reconnect with our husbands. A marriage changes dramatically after having a new baby. It is not all bad either. Actually, having a new baby can grow your marriage in some beautiful ways. The love you share and the experiences you have as parents help to form an amazing bond between you. So, take advantage of the love you have for your baby and share it with each other. It is hard to leave your baby for the first time, but it is worth it.
Here are 5 strategies to help make date night possible.
1. Take advantage of mom/mom-in-law when she visits. It is so difficult to leave our new little one, but who better to care for them than grandma? She will give her the utmost of attention and love while you are away. If you are breastfeeding, time the outing just right. Nurse your baby and hand her over to Grandma. Then, you have 2 to 3 hours to get away.
2. Take someone up on their offer to watch your new little one. There are a lot of people who would love a baby-fix and want to help. Most people only offer to babysit a newborn if they really have a desire to do it. A trusted friend or neighbor may be thrilled to help you have some time alone with your spouse.
3. Trade sitting with another family. You may not be ready for this in the first couple of months. Give yourself some time to adjust to having a new baby before taking on someone else’s child. When you’re ready for it, trading out date nights could be great for both families.
4. Take baby along during a normal nap time. If you have one of the infant carrier car seats, this is a great option. It works best in the first 3 to 6 months when your baby is still napping frequently. Try it a couple of times and see how it works. You might even be able to take in a movie if you have a good little sleeper.
5. Go “out” at home. During evening nap or after the last feeding of the evening, have dinner together. If you or your hubby is up for it, make a special meal and eat on the china. If cooking is out of the question, order pizza and eat it on the china. To make this last option work, you have to commit to it. Find the best fitting, attractive outfit you can. Borrow one if necessary. Really, make the boundaries strict. There must be no TV (at least during dinner). No phones ringing–turn them off. Put on some nice romantic music. Try James Taylor’s Greatest Hits or maybe Aretha Franklin’s Love Songs. Light some candles. Going “out” at home will not be special if you do not put some effort into it.