Having a baby is a wonderful experience. You manage to grow a human being in your belly for nine months, and then get it out! A little person who has your eyes and his nose and grandma's ears. And a unique personality that you can't properly put into words. You love them so much, and they sure do love you too. So much so they don't ever want to be with anyone else but you (and Dad too!) This is all fine and dandy until you look at your calendar and realize you haven't had any quality one on one time with your spouse in months.
That pretty much described our situation with Charlotte. For the first three months she nursed all the time and in between she had to be bounced and rocked and held non stop. I felt really bad leaving her with anyone else for longer than it took for me to shower and change clothes. And to be honest, I didn't really trust anyone.....not even Matt! I had first-time Mommy paranoia...big time. I imagined as soon as I left that she would scream and scream, unable to be consoled until I got back. Which would just stress me out (and the person watching her) the entire time I was gone. So, we never left her. And then one day our heads came out of the clouds, Charlotte reached the magical three month milestone and was slightly more manageable. She could be left for a few hours, but as soon as it was time to eat, the milk factory better be there!
By the time she was around 6 months old we loosened up and took my Mom up on an offer to go see a movie. Our first real date night in what seemed like forever. What used to be a regular weekly event was now the most romantic, wonderful date night ever. 2+ hours alone together, enjoying a movie when there wasn't a baby crying in the background. Ahh the simple things in life. And once we left the house, Charlotte did fine without us. That didn't stop me from checking my phone every 30 minutes and calling to check in at least once. haha.
Eventually those date nights became a little more common. Whenever we had a guest in town visiting or if we were at my Mom's we would try and sneak away for dinner, a movie or even a pedicure. Going for a run together even qualified. And when Charlotte was just over 1 we finally got up the courage to go away for an entire weekend! We took an anniversary trip to Napa and had an amazing time. Much needed for sure.
At that point we stopped worrying so much. Ok, when I say "we" I mean "me". Matt wasn't that paranoid. He figured they could handle it no problemo. And now, if you offer to babysit for us, we are going to say yes. There is a whole bundle of people we would be happy to leave Charlotte with. Perfectly capable
suckers family and friends.
|date night selfie|
I think that having a date night at least once a month is key. I would prefer twice a month but I take what I can get. And really, we need to put a little more effort into making it a priority. We gladly go out if the opportunity presents itself, but never force the issue by actively looking for a sitter. We should. It is important to be constantly working on your relationship and marriage. It was a lot easier before kids (you just had more time!), but we are managing and learning as we go along.
And don't forget about taking a little time for yourself too. I like to go get pedicures, or maybe run errands alone. I also put Charlotte in daycare when I go to the gym. Those short bursts of "me time" help me maintain my sanity. They also allow me to miss her, and therefore appreciate her more. In fact, last December I took a trip down to LA for my best friend's 30th birthday party. I had a wonderful girls weekend away. Again, much needed. It was not only good for me to spend some time with my friends, sans baby girl, but Matt got to spend a quality weekend with Charlotte (to see what I really do all day long!).
|at a bar!!|
And then in February Matt got to go to Palm Springs for a golf trip with his brother. It's all about fairness in this house ;)
So my advice for new parents (take it or leave it): once you get past the roller coaster that is the first three months, try and make date night a priority. If you have family nearby that is offering to babysit, say yes! Try to enjoy yourself too! Baby will survive and so will the sitter.