Today’s guest post was written by Amanda Jewson – mom of 2, educator, certified sleep consultant and founder of Baby’s Best Sleep.
I remember my first night out with my husband after baby. Rather, I remember the glow of my phone screen during the date my husband and I were supposed to be enjoying together. I think I checked if my ringer worked no less than 400 times, and even watched my little girl sleep from an app on my phone that was connected to my baby monitor. Needless to say, that first date my phone and I had together after baby was an expensive night out with husband, the tag along, ?
Date night after baby! Gah! This is such a tough one. And everyone tells you “Make time for your marriage!”, “Go on dates!’, “Make time for you!” I often wondered how it was possible to squeeze in date night, in between the sheer exhaustion of new parenthood and the time spent looking for oxy clean to remove the barf smell from the shoulders of my shirts. But I knew it needed to happen, and that hubby and I needed to talk about something other than our baby.
And, eventually, we made it happen. It wasn’t easy, but here’s how we did it:
1. Find yourself a good babysitter. This is obvious, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to actually feel confident and comfortable with the person sitting at home with your kids. You’re going to be worried for a variety of reasons: What happens if the baby wakes up? What happens if he won’t stop crying? What happens if she’s totally fine—does she not love me? The person who is with your kids shouldn’t be one of those worries. (Side note: As a member of Datenight Babysitting, I can assure you that this is the last thing you will be thinking about—our sitters have been incredible. And I don’t use that term often). Find someone you like, and make sure they come with great references (that you check!). And make sure to ask all the questions that are on your mind (even the ones you think make you sounds like a weirdo), so you can enjoy your night.
2. Start close, then move away. If you’re still nervous about heading out, start close. Do a test run! Have dinner at your local, and walk home. Build confidence in your ability to leave your house and feel like everything’s going to be okay. Because it will be okay. And soon enough, you’ll be able to venture a little farther.
3. Get your baby sleeping. Personally, I never felt comfortable leaving my sitter with a baby who didn’t have great sleep habits. I love the idea of putting baby to sleep and heading out. Or, even better, having a baby that sleeps so well you can leave the sitter to put baby to bed. This can happen (and if it’s not happening for you, you can call me!), and it will mean your date can start earlier and will feel less rushed. But even a great sleeper will sometimes wake after you’ve left the house. So make sure you and your sitter have discussed what to do if that happens.
4. Go on the date. Getting out of the house was really hard at first. I remember it vividly. It felt like work instead of fun. Now I can’t wait to get out with my husband. And because I know I can always get a good sitter through Datenight, I honestly never worry. It took some time and energy, but my husband and I are (re)connected, and we talk about things other than barf and poop. Going on a date is restorative, a great practice in self care, and it’s FUN.
5. Put your phone down. This was my mistake. I spent the entire first night out with my husband looking at my phone, worried. For no reason. We had an awesome babysitter at home, a great meal in front of us, and I wasn’t present. I regret this. Make a point to check your phone every 30-45 minutes (set an alarm if you have to). You (and your babysitter) can handle anything that happens in that time.
So go get ‘em! Get out on that date and enjoy yourselves! You’ll be better parents for shutting off your mom and dad brains for a little while. And you’ll be a lot more present with your kiddies in the morning. Have fun!
This post was brought to you by Datenight Babysitting — Toronto’s leading mobile app connecting parents with experienced, local babysitters — with thousands of dates booked in the GTA.