I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again. Having a baby changes everything. It really does. Some of those changes you can kind of prepare for and others take you completely by surprise.
One of the biggest things to be affected by the addition of a baby is your relationship with your partner.
When you go from it just being the two of you to suddenly having a third person around, who needs you constantly, it can be a real shock. Throw in the extreme tiredness that comes with a baby and it can be really hard to stay connected.
Once you’re out of the really early days that are basically just about survival, it’s so important to make time for your partner. To reconnect. To enjoy each other’s company. To remember who you both are away from your roles as parents.
If you’re struggling with finding time to be together away from your children, or looking for ideas for things you can do together to have fun and reconnect then look no further.
Here are a few ideas for ways to find the time for each other and things to do when you manage a date night together.
Really short on time? Try micro dating
If your children are still really young and you’re really struggling to find a few hours to get away together then give micro dating a go.
This is basically taking 5 minutes when you can just stop and ‘be’ with your partner.
If your baby is happy in their cot for a few minutes in the morning, then cuddle up together for a bit before crawling out of bed. Enjoy a little treat together in the kitchen while your baby is happy playing in the jumperoo. Take 10 minutes to just sit down and talk about your day in that precious window of time after the baby goes down for the night.
It’s all about finding those little pockets of time to just focus on each other and make sure you’re staying connected.
Team up and play an escape room together
When you get to a point that you can leave your child with a relative, friend or babysitter for a few hours then think about avoiding the usual meal, cinema combo (not ideal choices when you’re sleep deprived) and do something different. Escape rooms for instance are a great way to bond and boost your brain cells, which lets be honest could probably do with a workout.
Experiencing something new together can also help you rebuild your connection as you need to get thinking and working together.
What is an escape room?
If you’ve ever watched The Crystal Maze you will get the gist, basically it’s a themed room with a series of puzzles and clues you need to solve to escape the room. There’s so many great rooms popping up across the UK with anything from Crystal Maze itself in London to Harry Potter themes and science labs. For bonus anti-adulting vibes you could go to Poppa Plock’s Wonky workshop (pictured), an eEscape room in North London that is perfect for any Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fans, with twisted toys and melted dolls. There’s even a robotic ventriloquist dummy called Oki to guide you along your way. Lady Chastity’s Reserve is also a good shout and available at a range of pubs across London and Brighton. And for anyone in my old neck of the woods in Kent, you can check out this list of top escape rooms in Kent.
If you’ve been feeling a bit disconnected from each other then this type of challenge is a great way to get back on the same page.
Try date day instead of date night
If you find it hard to get out in the evenings, then try taking a few hours during the day to go on a date together.
You could make an arrangement with friends who also have little ones, where you watch their child for a few hours one week and they take care of yours the next. Then you can head out for lunch with your partner, wander round a museum, enjoy a film at the cinema or chat over a coffee at the local cafe.
Get cosy and just stay in
You don’t have to go out to have a date night.
Put the baby to bed then make an effort to make things a bit special at home. Turn off your phones so you can be more present with each other. Cook a nice meal, or order something from your favourite restaurant. Find a film you both want to watch on Netflix and cwtch up together to watch it.
If you know your baby is likely to wake up before too long, then make your plans around that. Watch an episode of something rather than a whole film. Just make a point of being together for that window of time.
Go for an adrenaline rush
When you get the chance to go out for date night, try doing something that’ll get your hearts pumping.
The early stages of a relationship are often filled with adrenaline. Our hearts beat faster and we get those butterflies in our tummies when we’re around each other. So doing something together that gets the adrenaline pumping again is a great way to reignite those feelings for each other.
You can really go for it and sign up for a bungee jump together, or keep it simple and head to the cinema to watch a particularly scary film. Or you could find a middle ground with something like surfing lessons or indoor rock climbing.
Every little moment counts…
The thing to remember is that the stage of life you’re in at the moment is just that, a stage.
Things won’t be like this forever. You baby will get older and won’t need you as unrelentingly as they do right now. And more time will pass and they’ll grow up and get started on their own lives. And then it’ll just be you and your partner again.
So make the time now to do what you can to keep connected to each other. To remind yourselves how much you love each other. To keep in touch with the people you were before your baby arrived and everything changed.
Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post