I think it’s fair to say that dating is hard at any stage of life.
I thought that after I was married, it would get easier. After all, we share a bathroom. But even though the nerves were gone, there were still challenges like getting out of our sweat pants to actually go out on a date and then trying to find things to talk about, since we see each other every day.
Dating after having a child can almost be impossible.
Even if you’re lucky enough to have a babysitter, there are a million other factors now coming into play. What should I wear? Will it fit? How detailed should my instructions be so the babysitter knows what baby should eat, wear, do? Will baby go to sleep without a fight? How late can I realistically stay up? Where should we go? How much do we want to spend?
Is it really even worth it?
Yes, I believe spending time as just as a couple is always worth it. However, I was beginning to find our dates lacking something. I longed for the planning, thoughtfulness, and originality of our early-relationship dates. I thought about trying to place blame, but I’m just as guilty as my husband for letting the quality of our dates slide.
For a while, I resigned myself to believing that my dating life, going forward, might be left wanting. Then, I had an idea.
I would take my husband on the kind of date I wanted to go on, you know, set the example.
My ideal date would:
- start on time,
- involve my husband putting some extra effort into his appearance (and wearing the cologne I like),
- avoid me having to pack up, feed, dress, or doing whatever a child needed while getting ready,
- require some research and planning to find an activity we would both find engaging and enjoy, and
- make me feel like a desirable woman.
With all these things in mind, I asked my husband out.
I found a date/time that worked, arranged for childcare, and researched restaurants and activities (Thanks 200+ Milwaukee Date Ideas!).
When the time came, I managed to get dressed up, do my hair and put on makeup all while wrangling a toddler. Then, I packed up and dropped the toddler off so my husband could get ready ALL BY HIMSELF.
I started our date promptly by ringing our doorbell.
I told him how nice he looked (he did) and asked him if he was ready for our date. My goal was to make him feel extra special, important, and loved because in the monotony that is our day to day life those sentiments can sometimes be lost.
I felt younger and freer and happier than I had in awhile. My husband felt the same. He also realized how important those dating ‘ideals’ can be because he was on the receiving end of them. (Let’s be real, if I told him what I wanted it probably would have come across as demanding and ungrateful.) Demonstration was key!
It’s hard making time for each other and rediscovering the ‘us’ now that we have our son. It would be easy to not prioritize spending romantic time together, but I want my son to see a model of a strong, loving relationship. In order to do that, my husband and I need to truly “date” each other. Give it a try!