I’ve always loved dates with my hubby. There’s something so fabulously frivolous about getting all spruced up in a dress and heels and going out for dinner or drinks, to a concert or a show, or whatever the order of the night is. It’s nice to make plans and put aside time that is just for us and is just about having a good time. Such a lot of adulting is about being organised and doing things you’d maybe rather not in order to keep things ticking over, so in our adult lives dating is all the more important I think. It’s definitely one of my absolute favourite things.
Since we had our baby dates have become even more crucial. As well as all the grown-up things we had to juggle before like work, housework, to-do lists, home improvements, schedules, commitments, etc – we’ve now added a whole extra human being to the list too. A human being who can’t do anything for himself yet. (Aside from ‘reverse crawl’ into furniture if left to his own devices thereby causing a torrent of tears, or occupying himself for an unfathomable amount of time by playing with his feet when the urge strikes!) So now we have added to our list of adult jobs cleaning, feeding, entertaining, providing for, stressing over the wellbeing of and generally keeping alive this extra little dude. He’s so worth it, but it is a lot of work. So the wonderful date night is now even more of a welcome break, and of course it is even more elusive.
Long gone are the days when one of us could text the other on a Friday afternoon at work and say, “Shall we go out tonight?” Now date nights have to be organised with military precision. Most importantly we need to pin down a babysitter, so we have to plan far in advance. Then on the day or night itself we have to make sure we have provided any necessary equipment for said babysitter:
Formula – check
Bottles – check
Change bag including an abundance of nappies, wipes, muslins and spare clothes – check
Pram – check
Car seat – check
Toys – check
Sophie la Girafe– check
Shivering Dave* – check
Calpol / Dentinox just in case – check
*Shivering Dave is baba’s beloved car seat companion, his most favourite toy of all: a colourful fluffy crocodile that shivers when you pull his tail. Car journeys and jaunts out in the pram just aren’t as interesting without Shivering Dave by his side. (Just in case you were wondering!)
When the babysitter arrives at our house (a necessity for evening dates) we can’t leave until we’ve showed them where everything is, showed them how to use any relevant baby equipment/gadgets and gone through any required feed/sleep schedules and instructions on what to do if baby wakes/ cries/ shows signs of teething/ faceplants the mattress and sleeps facedown breathing through his mouth like a darlek, etc. For daytime babysitting where we drop baba off elsewhere half of his worldly possessions need to be loaded and unloaded from the car to make sure the babysitter is armed with the best equipment to see them through ‘til pick up time.
So far since baby came along I don’t think we’ve done too badly considering. We’re lucky to have keen babysitters in Nana, Grandma and our best friends and to date we’ve managed 5 dates in 7 months, soon to go up to 6! We’ve not yet braved a full blown overnight babysitter though. If you’d asked pre-baby when we would first have a night away to ourselves I think I would have told you with some confidence that we’d have reached that stage some time before now. However we hadn’t anticipated we’d get this far in without ever really achieving a full night’s sleep. As the months passed and a full night’s sleep still remained unlikely we decided we couldn’t expect our nearest and dearest to take the reigns overnight under those conditions. Fingers crossed we’ll achieve that one in a few months time if we get to the stage we can confidently expect him to sleep through!
As I said though we’ve managed 5 dates so far since we entered the world of parenting, and they’ve been pretty damn good.
Date 1: My Birthday
Baba was about 6 weeks old when we had our first post-baby date. Everyone said we’d do nothing but talk about the baby while we were away from him. We were pretty impressed that we went quite a while before the conversation turned to him. (And no we weren’t just holding it in… we were just genuinely enjoying baby-free time being ‘us’ again!) People said I would probably feel upset leaving him, that I might even cry. I was nowhere close to that; I was too excited about a few hours away and we had full confidence in our babysitter at home so there was nothing to worry about.
Date 2: Spa Day
A month or so later we enjoyed a whole baby free day away! We went for a spa day, with a stop off for brunch on the way there. We spent hours relaxing in the facilities, had afternoon tea and even enjoyed a massage each. It was so lovely to have such a good break from the 24-hour a day job of parenting a newborn.
Date 3: Hubs’ Birthday Meal
We enjoyed another meal out a while after, this time celebrating Hubs’ birthday. By the time we went on this date we’d put baba into a solid routine so this time we were keeping everything crossed that he’d stay asleep upstairs and our babysitters wouldn’t have to get him up for anything. It went better than we could have hoped, he was still upstairs asleep when we got home. #babysittingWIN
Date 4: Afternoon Out
Admittedly, as much as we appreciated the time off this one was not quite as relaxing as the others. We went for lunch at Nando’s and a mooch around shops, which was great. Unfortunately though we had an unbelievably bad night’s sleep the night before and one of us actually said to the other one over our Nando’s, “We should have just left him with the babysitter and gone back to bed for a nap really shouldn’t we?!”) Still, we got to eat food we hadn’t cooked ourselves and to feel tired without the pressure of having to entertain a baby for a change, so it was still a win.
Date 5: Concert
One of our best Christmas presents this year – we were given tickets to a concert along with the offer of a babysitter for the evening while we went out and enjoyed ourselves! We managed to squeeze in a nice dinner before the show as well so it was a lovely night out all round.
Now tonight we’re off out for date number 6 – an early anniversary date for dinner and drinks! As always, I am so excited.
Date Night; it’s my favourite night of them all. It never gets old. It’s the chance to be ourselves (not just Mummy and Daddy) and to enjoy each other’s company with no distractions. I love my baby with all my heart but long before he came along I fell in love with his Daddy and it will always be an important part of our lives to make time for each other on our own. We are so thankful to have wonderful babysitters who help make it possible!