Date nights when you’re a parent can be... hard to come by and to be honest, the last thing you want to do when you do find free time as a mom.
Let’s be honest, it can be challenging to feel confident in being “date-worthy” when you’re in the thick of it. Feeling confident and comfortable in your postpartum body and just trying to figure out your new normal can make it feel like you’re starting over in your relationship. And that’s just scratching the surface.
I’ve struggled at times to prioritize my marriage for many reasons as a mom and it’s not something I’m proud of. I remember feeling very distant with my husband for the first several months of motherhood. It was hard to find that spark when I was just trying to get through my day and survive all the change happening. His experience was clearly different, and it took us openly sharing how we were feeling and what we needed to get through that tough phase.
It’s not that I didn’t value our relationship or crave quality time together once I became a mom, but sometimes the pure exhaustion from the demands of raising our son, working full-time, maintaining the household and just trying to balance all these roles and more made it easy to place our marriage in last place.
I’ve learned the hard way that a strong marriage should be a priority. And I’ve also decided that our marriage is worth pursuing, which means we must continue to date each other.
It doesn’t have to mean fancy date nights (these are still few and far between) or getaways but learning to prioritize your time and finding ways to date your partner through all the seasons you’ll experience together as parents.
Carve out time each week to communicate
Probably not what you would expect to hear, but I do think building a strong relationship comes out of strong communication, which can lead to other more “exciting” things...if you know what I mean.
Communication is a foundation for any marriage and once kids are thrown into the mix, it gets more challenging to find time for deep, adult conversation. Anyone else guilty of keeping evening convo’s to “What sounds good for dinner?” Or “Which Netflix show do you want to watch after bedtime?”
A few small things that have helped me is asking questions and actively listening to my partner. It’s prioritizing quality time together that is phone-free. It’s planning date nights - even if nothing like they used to be - and staying actively engaged in each other’s interests. It’s even trying new things together!
A date night doesn’t have to be traditional. Especially with the high costs of babysitters and what a dinner out would cost. But if you have family or friends that offer to help - even just for an hour- take it! The goal is to just spend time together and to make each second count.
A few tips for asking for keeping the spark alive after kids...
Set a regular date night and stick to it
It's easier said than done but having a regularly scheduled date on the calendar is such a fun thing to look forward to! It can be as simple as making pizza at home on Friday night or making plans to go to your favorite brunch spot on the weekend. It could even be as simple as grabbing coffee together after daycare drop off, if time is limited.
Picking a date that’s an activity or encourages conversation is key! Not sure where to start? Find a game or even do a quiz together - each other’s responses might make you open up or just laugh together! While a typical movie date is fun to do, it doesn’t encourage that connection. Find the time to do something you both will look forward to.
Make evenings ‘phone-free’
It’s easy to stick to your weekly routine and not to be fully present. I’m guilty of this and it’s dangerous. I’ve found it helpful to be phone-free in the evening as much as possible to spend quality time together as a family, but also to keep the phones away after our son goes to bed for us to connect. We try not to keep our phones in the bedroom and instead moved the chargers to our kitchen, which makes it easier to not go to bed staring at screens. Having that quality time together when your face isn’t staring at a screen is so key and honestly, will make your partner feel much more seen. After our son's bedtime is when we spend some time to just chat - from light to serious conversations. Use this time when the kids are in bed to your advantage!
Plan a kid-friendly double date
Connecting with other parents going through similar experiences is a good way to reconnect as a couple. Sometimes it’s hard to plan a date night for just you two, so we’ve learned to love outings that involve our son and other couples. There’s something about being out, enjoying something fun with friends to realize how strong your bond truly is. Plus, it’s a way to get out and enjoy a friend date while your kids are actively playing. We love exploring kid-friendly restaurants, parks and events with other parent friends. Plus, no babysitter fees are needed!
Make regular errands and activities a fun outing
What are the things you each need to do? How can you turn it into something you can do together? One of our favorite activities is scheduling a workout class together. It’s something we can do as a couple to encourage and push one another instead of going solo. Let’s not forget working out gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy. Bonus points if your gym offers childcare! If not, a stroll outside is always a good option - especially if your child is known to nap once the stroller gets moving!
Get to know one another on a deeper level
It’s normal to change as a parent from your interests to hobbies and perspective on life. Continuing to date your spouse also means continuing to support them as they evolve. It’s fun to get to know your partner on a deeper level and there are so many ways to do that! From taking the “Enneagram Test” to trying the “5 Loge Languages” quiz, these personality tests can unlock a lot of insight on who each of you are and what makes you tick. Not into quizzes or tests? Start to ask more questions! Make a list on your phone and make it your goal to ask a new question to your partner each day. The answers may just surprise you or draw you in.
What are your favorite ways to stay connected as a couple after having kids? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!
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