Two months after our first child was born, my husband’s career led us to move far away from family and friends. This meant we had no babysitters for our son, giving us two options for our romantic date nights: quit having one or figure out a way to bring the baby with us.
We really wanted to keep working at pursuing each other and having a strong marriage, even through the baby-rearing years. So we decided to go with the latter choice. And it actually worked out better than we thought, once we figured out a few key strategies.
Here are a few things we’ve learned:
- Timing is everything. If you’re bringing a baby on a romantic date, keep his or her schedule in mind. Try to pick a time when the baby is normally in a good mood — perhaps after they’ve slept and eaten. Or you can opt for nap time and hope they’ll sleep in their car seat for the duration of your date. This might mean going out for lunch instead of dinner or utilizing Saturday morning for your excursion.
- Pick louder restaurants. While noise isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of romance, it can make or break the date if your baby is with you. You will find yourself able to relax and enjoy yourself more if you’re not constantly worried about your baby making a loud sound or starting to cry in a quiet room.
- Be personal. A romantic date for the two of you might not look like a fancy dinner and red roses. Perhaps it would be even more romantic for you to take your spouse to the place you had your first date, first kiss or first “I love you.” And these places might be a lot easier to bring a child as well. For example, my husband first told me he loved me while we were hiking — a fairly easy thing to do with a baby. We’d just strap him into the baby carrier and go for it. So do what works for you, not necessarily the stereotypical romantic date.
- Get creative at home. If you would rather not take your chances by bringing your baby with you out in public, try creating a romantic atmosphere at your house. Wait until after the baby is in bed. Dress up, light some candles, turn on some sweet music and dance in the living room. You can also rent a movie, play a board game or watch a YouTube video to learn how to paint a canvas together. Grab the baby monitor, sit out on your front porch, drink coffee and just talk. The options are endless.
If you’re like us and don’t have anyone to watch your baby while you date each other, don’t give up! You can still pursue each other with a little creativity and intentionality.