Curt here! I’m Marabou’s token guest blogger who will soon be starting a series on DAD LIFE. I’ll be talking about how dads get to have all the fun with their kids! But for now let’s focus on how to continue to have fun with your wife in the months following childbirth.
Before you even start planning, accept the following obstacles:
Obstacle #1: Recovering Woman
Women need time to recover after birth. Social evenings can be exhausting for anyone and can be particularly draining during postpartum recovery. You should expect to think outside the box and be creative and flexible if you’re planning a date night. This will last for at least six weeks and can go as long as six months after she has a child. Don’t get impatient, you can’t force her to get better faster.
Obstacle #2: Breastfeeding Friendly
If she’s breastfeeding, make sure your plans are friendly for the occasional nursing session. A fancy restaurant may be nice, but she likely doesn’t want to nurse a baby in a nice dress – most of which aren’t breastfeeding friendly or comfortable – and you’ll likely scandalize the patrons (which: screw them anyway, I’m thinking more about mom’s comfort).
That’s about it! Keep it low key and breastfeeding friendly.
It’s best to keep the social engagements to a minimum while she’s recovering, but every so often you’ll be in a position where a date night is expected or highly desired: your anniversary, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, etc.
You might even have a pre-existing date night you thought was beneficial for your marriage that you don’t want to lose. Just keep it low key and breastfeeding friendly.
In-Home Date Night:
This is the simplest way of keeping a “date night” and avoiding over-exertion. This is a nice solution especially if there are no older siblings, or it’s after bedtime. For a while, my wife and I had date night in our home every Sunday. She would put the kids to bed while I cooked up a meal and laid out the candles. These are the lessons I learned:
a. Don’t get frustrated with your culinary skills
I’m admittedly inept at cooking! I’m good at breakfast and that’s about it. There were a couple of nights that I tried to get too fancy with my cooking and it ended up inedible. Doesn’t mean the dates over! I shamelessly boiled a pot of water and made her mac & cheese. Did she mind? Not one bit. The goal was never to show off my cooking skills. The goal is an evening with your wife to reconnect and keep the connection alive so you don’t drift apart.
b. Do set up for romance.
– Lights dim and candles galore
– Favorite music in the background
– Cloth napkins
– Blanket on the floor (picnic style)
– Alcohol of choice (wine is nice, but cocktails delight)
– Never ever (ever!) take out your phone
And to go above and beyond:
– Come up with three topics of conversation. Women like to talk, and you ARE on a date
– Bring her flowers! For once, the flowers will come with you on the date instead of left in a vase at home.
– Be the first to get up if the kids stir in bed
– No Netflix! This defeats the purpose. You want to connect, not sit next to a warm body.
Go to a park!
If your wife is a stay-at-home mom (SAHM), she might like to get out of the house. She works at home, and going out might be her breath of fresh air!
My wife and I had our anniversary the week after our second child was born. Taking her out to a fancy spot was out of the question and she is a SAHM, so an in-home date also not appealing.
What we ended up doing was driving to a local park. The park was within walking distance, but it was better not to push it that soon after birth. We left our eldest with a sitter and brought our newborn with us. The park overlooked a harbor area and faced west. There wasn’t a restaurant in the city with a better view than this park. I bought a bottle of wine (a trademark of our anniversaries) and threw together a simple meal of egg salad sandwiches, cheese, and crackers, which all traveled well.
The date went great! She had the freedom to nurse when she needed to, it didn’t push her physically, and we could enjoy our newest baby playing on the grass and each other at the same time. I learned from this first test run and improved on it for another anniversary (six months after our third was born):
a. Pre-scout the park before date night.
Google maps is great for finding nearby parks, but unless you visit the place around the time of day you intend to take her, you might not get what you were hoping for. Sometimes city parks are bright and cheery during the day, but get seedy in the evening. Things I looked for:
– Does it have a good view?
– Where is the best view in the park?
– Is it clean?
– Other obvious issues (if the park floods from springtime rains, for example)
b. Check the weather!
For any and all outdoor dates, check the weather the day of. This isn’t a deal breaker if you both like the rain and are willing to sit in the gazebo. Just remember: you have an infant in tow and maybe changing plans for the local coffee shop is better.
c. Set up for romance (see above).
d. Bring a game
Parks are fun, and conversation isn’t required as much in an outdoor theater. Easy-going activities like card games and flying a kite are cute, enjoyable, and endearing.
Ideas I haven’t tried for date night yet:
- Go to a U-Pick
- Go to the zoo (It’s fun for adults, too!)
- Independent coffee shop
- Local micro-brewery
- Used book store (for treasure hunting!)
If you’re looking for a way to treat your wife but you have an infant in tow, don’t let that stop you. Just get creative! She’ll appreciate the gesture and not having to detach from a brand-new baby. Date nights are a great way to reconnect and focus on each other. The best advice I was given when I had my first child was: “Never forget that your marriage comes first.” Be a good father (and follow my upcoming series for some fun ideas), but everything you do as a good father to your children can be quickly undone if you don’t maintain relationship nùmero uno.
Enjoy your babies and have a happy date night!
How does Marabou support women?
We live in culture where “bouncing back” is more valued than proper rest. As admirable as it may be for a sports star to get back on the field, the same rules don’t apply to postpartum recovery. The traditional resting period has been stolen from women through pressure to get back to their job or simply through lack of presence.
Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood often live too far away to be of any help. Household chores and caring for older children inevitably fall on the mom. But she just delivered a new life! She needs rest.
Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. Break out of a destructive cultural norm and start a Marabou registry today.
With a Marabou registry you can sing up for any service which will benefit you or someone you know during the postpartum recovery period.
Postpartum doulas for a first time mom
House cleanings for moms of multiples
Childcare for moms with older children!
Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.