As new parents, the prospect of a well-earned date night can feel like an absolute dream. A rare opportunity to head out with your partner, just the two of you and enjoy some quality time together without the constant interruption of feeding, comforting, rocking or entertaining a small child.
In the early newborn daze, a date night may seem near impossible, but as your baby gets a little older, you may be comfortable arranging a babysitter or family member to look after your baby and give you a few hours well-deserved rest.
The reality of date nights as a parent, however, is somewhat different to how you may remember them. Here’s the truth about those first date nights as new parents.
Your baby can sense you’re leaving
It’s worth preparing yourself for this one. Your baby may have a well-established bedtime routine where they are usually fast asleep by 8 pm, but you can guarantee on a date night, they will take much longer to settle than normal. Your table is booked at the restaurant, the taxi is on its way and your baby is still wide awake!
Why? They can pick up on your fears. If you’re anxious, stressed or less relaxed at bedtime than normal, your baby is likely to notice – from a change in your breathing and heart rate to a more tense stature and body language. Try and stay calm or build some extra buffer time into your plans.
Don’t expect to talk about anything important
Before kids, you probably found that you and your partner had loads to talk about, but the reality is, in a world so immersed by your children, they’re almost certainly going to remain a key part of the conversation.
Approximately 8 minutes into your date night, you may find yourself texting the babysitter to make sure they’re ok, or even having a quick little peak of a photograph on your phone. This is quite understandable, but make sure you enjoy a bit of time away from your parenting responsibilities too.
You’re going to be exhausted
Pre-kids, a date night could easily involve rolling in at midnight, slightly worse for wear and nursing a fairly major hangover in the morning. These days, 9 pm will feel like an absolute treat! Just 2-3 hours of alone time with your partner to enjoy a meal, have a few drinks or head to your local cinema for a movie and chances are you’ll be fairly content to head home and have that dream feed snuggle before bed. Parenting is exhausting, so even a small bit of rest will be gratefully received.
It’s worth it
Becoming a parent is a huge adjustment to your lifestyle and having a new baby to look after can certainly have an impact on your relationship. The time you do spend together is often spent caring for someone else, changing diapers, feeding, nursing or comforting. Building in some quality time with your partner, even just for a child-free shop or a quick meal can do you both the world of good. You’re still who you were before you became parents (despite being more sleep deprived) and it’s important to remind yourself of that. If you’re lucky enough to have the support of friends and family, book that date night in, you deserve it!