How date nights really look like when you’re a parent…
I remember that shortly after we had our son (can’t exactly forget the three glorious days of intense labour he put me through!), I tried hard to pretend that nothing has changed – in my mind we were the same cool people working hard on catching up with life happening outside the walls of our home while carrying around our tiny human in a BabyBjorn sling we didn’t even know how to correctly use (MISTAKE NO 1).
Despite the fact that our routine was heavily altered – here comes the joy of 7 night feeds more challenging than a hardcore clubbing night out mixed with the world’s worst hangover, I felt our social calendar needed to remain the same, therefore I tried to attend all house warming gatherings, after work office parties (making the most of my maternity leave, right?!), friends’ birthdays, children’s birthday, dinner invitations, impromptu cafe catchups, and the list went on. I had to be there to prove everyone wrong – everyone who thought a child is a massive life changer and there’s nothing you can do about it. You’re supposed to soon forget your childless friends and they are expected to press that ignore button to avoid your news feed made of baby spam going their way. Something else had to go in order to compensate for the little time I had left, so, instead, without much thinking, I sacrificed my old dates system with my husband. Staying in was no option – ‘that’s surely for the weak’!!!, I kept saying (here goes MISTAKE NO 2)…
When it finally hit me I was acting against nature itself, I was overwhelmed by motherhood which started to look like a journey on my own, felt more lonely than ever, despite constantly being surrounded by people, and the husband was somewhere isolated between trying to make it to all our friends’ gatherings and catching up with his sleep on their couch while clumsily holding his beer to a certain degree rather dangerous for the carpet…This very image made me understand that ‘us time’ was more of a pressing priority and it was about high time to upgrade our old dating system.
Here’s a few ‘stop the nonsense and date me like a parent’ moments that seem to work nicely for us…
1. The Netflix honeymoon
It took me a while to get the beauty of this, assuming the tiny human is well tucked in our own bed of course (co-sleeeping at its finest!)…Some of the best dating my husband moments are linked to a good Woodie Allen movie right on the cosy couch, lost among thousands of cushions he is always complaining about, ‘stuck’ in a living room with a good take away that involves chopsticks none of us has ever mastered. A winner.
2. The fine dining experience
Once in a blue moon, cooking together can be more than romantic; ever since I was a little girl I was told that the way to a man’s heart is always though his stomach. True story. But my husband and I keep getting into arguments when we’re both trying to input our knowledge and expertise in preparing the same dish – mistake no 3 – never argue over chopped onion!. But even these little things like different chopping styles could easily lead to bringing divorce papers into the conversation! As this falls far from becoming a successful stay-in type of date, we recently found the secret: when in doubt, Hello Fresh it! Following easy steps while sticking to a cleverly built recipe with strict instructions (including how to chop it), does bring a splash of harmony while cooking together remains sexy. Next to that Chateauneuf-Du-Pape open red.
3. Let’s stay in…at theirs
Same as above, minus the cooking – let your other tired parent friends do it, after all they live so close and cool apps like Bubble are so easy to find you a trusted babysitter for the night…
4. The wedding albums browsing
Bath time done, kid’s asleep, wine o’clock. Give those recent memories a good run.
5. Sacrificing your best friends
Pick a couple of reliable childless friends (the kind you’ve noticed that don’t drop much on the floor!), settle them well in your house (ideally the kid is fast asleep so minimum supervision would be needed), let them Prime your TV and get going. The list needs ticking: theatre tickets, cinema night out or finally that ‘Book of Mormone’? If all of them are droppers or excuse making experts -> Bubble is the way to go.
6. The triple date
You, him and the kid. Out and about. Let the kid witness some group cuddling and holding hands down the street after a quick bite at the corner coffee shop. Teach them young it’s all about spending time together 😉
7. The couple spa experience
When too tired to go out, move the date to the bathtub, get your bath salts, tea candles, a classy drink, a random toy boat ti remind you of parenting, massage, soak, unwind. Hollywood brought to real life.
8. Brunch it, lunch it, supper it
When late evenings are usually about having to be at home because help is not always there and the tiny human s deciding sleep is not for him, surprise your better half with a quick office visit. Take him out and brunch the hell out of it.
Life itself is full of ‘what ifs’ and places we’ll never get to see. This doesn’t mean you should drop your bucket list and forget about romantic gateaways, going out and other treats you took away for granted before tiny humans happened. Parents’ life becomes fuller, yet richer. And it only lasts a moment…Make the most of each other.
This article has been published in partnership with Bubble, you can download the cool app here. The app connects parents and sitters to each other via mutual friends and contacts. This allows parents to tap into the trusted sitters their friends already know and use. Bubble is mainly London-centric at the moment, but it will be rolling out to the rest of the UK soon, so watch this space!
Both I, here at AllMumsTalk, and Bubble team would love to hear how you manage to find time with your other half. Share your stories on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #datelikeaparent. Read more reviews and engage with other users on Bubble’s Facebook page. We’ll share all of your posts!