This past Saturday night was a fun one – my high school reunion! I was never the type to go to those kinds of things, but this time around it sounded like fun, and my husband and I decided that after 20 months, we were ready for our first date night since becoming parents!
Yes, I’ve left my son plenty of times. He spends 4 days a week with my mom while I work, and he’s fine there. But I’ve never left him at night before. When I’m not at work, he’s with me. Period. He’s nursed to sleep every night since birth, and I’ve never not been the one to tuck him safely into bed at night.
There’s also the fact that my mom and dad take care of him while I work, so I hate to ask for extra babysitting. But since he’s comfortable there, I wouldn’t consider leaving him anywhere else for his first (partial) night without Mommy and Daddy. I think my mom knew even better than I did how much my husband and I would benefit from a real date, so she happily took on the challenge and off we went!
And you know what? It was a total success! I’m still processing the actual reunion and the memories that came with it (high school was not a great time for me…) but all in all it was a ton of fun! I felt totally reconnected with the man I married, my best friend. I’ve missed that guy! Not only did I get to spend some QT with him, but I really felt like myself again. Or rather, the new “Mommy” me, with some of the old me thrown in.
Anywho, I think there were a few reasons why our night went so well.
Here are my 5 top tips for a successful Mommy/Daddy date night:
Be really, really sure of your child care. Like I said, I was a little worried that my son wouldn’t go to bed well without my being there to rock and comfort him, but all in all I was 100% confident in his safety and well-being. A night that is meant to be relaxing is not the time to try out a new babysitter. Save that for your dentist appointments or daytime errands.
On the same note, date night is no time to be trying out new hair products, either. Trust me, rewashing your hair to get the weird gunk out is not what you need…especially when it was supposed to make you look and feel like a million bucks.
Is it a treat for you? Then make it a treat for your little one, too! A new toy, new movie, maybe a favorite dinner. They all go far in making the night a little easier, a little more fun. We stopped on the way to my Mom’s to get a pint of fresh blueberries for dessert…and it worked! Who can be sad when there are blueberries around?!
Do do it until YOU are ready. That might mean 2 months or 20 months, but only you will know when the time is right for you and your family. I hear it from others all the time - You need to get OUT for a little while without your kid! – SO annoying! Don’t let the opinions of others push you. You won’t have a good time if you’re spending the night hovering over your phone or working against your gut instincts, questioning whether you really should be out or not.
Leave the guilt at home. I’ll admit it – I feel a little guilty when I do anything for myself, especially when it doesn’t involve my baby boy, and I’ve been defending my lack of date nights for a long time. I adore my little man, and I really want nothing more than to spend every possible minute with him…but I didn’t really understand how much I needed a night out until I had one. I’m glad I waited until we were all ready as a family, because it was a great evening, and feeling rejuvenated will surely help make me a better mommy in the long run. I can’t wait to do it again!
(…but many not right away. )
How old was your child when you left for the first time to do something fun?
Do you have any tips for us first-timers? Please share!