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 with this post, I’m going talk about 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 within the first six months after she has a child.
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 zone).
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. 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 romance 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.
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. So, taking her out to a fancy spot was out of the question and she is a SAHM, so an in-home date wasn’t 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 and each other. 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 a little 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!