Posts Tagged ‘date night’

Planning an at-Home Valentines Date Night

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 2.54.17 PMAs busy parents it can be difficult to find time to nourish our relationship with our partner. We’re pulled in so many directions, between being a mom and a wife that by the end of the day we might not have the energy for anything other than going to sleep. And for so many of us regular date nights just don’t seem to happen.

The thing that no one really talks about before you get married is that to make it a good one you’re going to have to put in some work. Romance is one of those things that just might require some extra effort once you’ve started a family. It doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with your relationship it just means that sometimes we have to be creative.

Valentines day is a great excuse to make a little extra effort to bring some more romance into your life. You don’t have to go out for a date night to make that happen- you can do it right in the comfort of your own home after the kids are asleep.  Here are some ideas you can try out:

  1. Have a parents-only dinner! I think that family dinners are very important, but every once in a while it’s nice to have adult conversation and not have to remind my daughter to use her table manners and sit on her bottom. You can still keep the kids involved and have them be your helpers to prep a special dinner for you and your significant other. Then feed the kids an early dinner and once they’re in bed, light some candles and have dinner alone with your partner. Or even better–order take out so you don’t have to worry about dishes when you’re done.
  2. Create an after dinner dance floor. If just the thought of a grown-up only dinner stresses you out try a dance party instead. Have a fun valentines themed dinner with the kids and then when it’s just the two of you replay some of your old favorite songs–maybe the song you danced to at your wedding. Sip on a glass on champagne, dance and snuggle up under a blanket and recount your favorite memories together.
  3. Go stargazing in your back yard. It doesn’t get much simpler than this. Wrap yourself up in a warm coat, gram some pillows and a fluffy blanket and lay outside, or sit on the balcony and look at the starts together. Or if you have a good backyard to do it in pitch a tent and just be with each other together. Just being in a private space that’s not your house can be relaxing and romantic- even if it is just in you’re a tent in your backyard it will help you feel removed from your everyday life.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor and online fitness coach. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception to those trying to get their grove back after pregnancy to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mom and baby.

No-Babysitter Date Nights

Friday, July 17th, 2015

No sitter date nightWhen we had our first child, I was terrified to go out, but my husband was determined to not be those people who stay home forever after having a baby. (Or two. Or a third.) So when our oldest turned a week old, we took her to a brewery to celebrate. As we continued to go out with the baby, I learned to relax, and I learned the best places to take a baby with you on date night.

Besides, when they can’t talk or walk, you can pretty much take them anywhere you go, and as long as they have a clean butt and a full tummy, they’ll do just fine, especially at night when they are prone to just dozing off anyway. It doesn’t always work out, so be prepared for that. But when it does, you get time together that’s kind of alone time, and you don’t have to pay $10 an hour for someone to sit in the other room while your baby sleeps.

Here are my favorite no-sitter date night activities.

  • Anything outdoors. Outdoor activities don’t have the expectation of quiet or decorum, so these are usually a safe bet. Many communities have festivals, concerts, and plays outdoors this time of year. You’ll of course want to know what the weather is going to do since babies are not all-weather friendly. Most venues will offer a VIP option for outdoor events, and this is usually a wise purchase, since you’ll have access to shade (if it’s hot) and bathrooms.
  • The movies. Yep, we were “those people” at the late movie with a baby. We weren’t sleeping anyway, trust me. Once the lights went down, I threw baby girl on the boob and we were set for the whole movie, even the loud ones.
  • Outdoor dinner/dessert and a walk. I love getting dinner or dessert outdoors, and then going for a walk. Not only does it have many health benefits, from regulating your circadian rhythms to having an impact on weight and blood sugar.
  • Have friends over. I always had the easiest time relaxing when we could be at home. Having dinner with friends was always a fun way to be able to keep baby on schedule while still getting to see people. It’s also great bedtime practice if you have an only child and are adding to the family. When you have one child, it’s tempting to keep everything super quiet when they are sleeping. When there are people laughing and talking in the next room it will help them acclimate to there being noise while they sleep.
  • Art shows/Museum night. This is a great way to get out and get some culture without having to worry about the library-like quiet of the museum during the day. Evening events usually involve drinks and socializing, so it’s noisy. I went with a carrier or sling worn over a carefully chosen outfit that would allow me to nurse and wear with ease. Maxi dresses are great for these events.

Whatever you decide to do, make an effort to get out there and continue enjoying some of the things you did before you had baby. Once we had more than one child, we often did these types of things while getting a sitter for the older, talking, walking child, since my babies liked to nurse every two hours or so until they are about six months old.

One thing that does really help make these date nights work is being able to nurse in public. I always covered with my first, sometimes covered with my second, and rarely covered with my third baby. I was just more comfortable with it by then. But I loved the security of always having my cover or a blanket with me in case I wanted more privacy. Whatever you do, know that you have the right to breastfeed absolutely anywhere you have the legal right to be.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three girls. She lives and writes in Oklahoma City.

Date Nights at Home

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Date Nights at HomeFor many of us moms, it’s a big deal to get a date night. I know for me, date night only happens when we go home 6 hours away for a visit. However, it is still vitally important for your marriage or relationship to have date nights. It’s so easy to fall into the roles of “mommy and daddy” and forget you are “wife and husband,” too. Here are some fun ways to still get to have a date night, even when you can’t leave the kids.

Dinner for 2:

This is something I have to try. For me, like many moms, dinner consists of wrestling with my toddler and her food, all the while feeding my infant oatmeal. Somewhere in there, I take a few bites and that’s dinner. Try saving dinner for you and your spouse after the kids are in bed. For us, this would be at 8 p.m. Order in your favorite or opt for take-out. If you are really ambitious, make a meal for your spouse, set the mood with candles, and even put out menus and fancy table decorations. You may be in your dining room, but you can pretend you are in your favorite restaurant. Enjoy the food, conversation, and time alone.

Movie Night:

Pick a movie that you and your spouse want to see. Choose one that isn’t animated or rated G. Pop popcorn and buy some fancy candy that you see at the movie theatre. You can even get cute popcorn tubs and soda glasses to use. Dim the lights and enjoy the show. If you’re lucky, you may even get a few smooches during the movie!

Get Outside:

If it’s warm outside, take the time to take your kids for a stroll. If you just have one child, and it’s a baby, this is even easier. Pop the baby in a carrier and go for a long walk at the park. Most likely, your baby will snooze and you can enjoy the conversation with your spouse. Hold hands, talk about memories, and dream about your future together.

Enjoy Hobbies:

Maybe you and your spouse love sports? Watch your favorite team play and fix nachos and food you can only buy at the ballpark. Wear your team t-shirts and enjoy the game!

If you used to love to go to nightclubs, create a dance party in your living room. Get dressed up and make a fun playlist. Just don’t turn up the music too loud, so you don’t wake up the kids.

If you’re into working out, create a gym in your home and work out together.  Or, you can take advantage of local gyms and work out together while your kids enjoy the child care.

Spring for a Sitter:

If you have a trusted friend, family member, or baby sitter, it is so worth it. Schedule a few hours a month to spend together without the kids. Here the possibilities are endless! Go for a quiet, long drive. Check out a local museum. Go see your favorite band in concert. Eat at a restaurant where high chairs and sippy cups are not the norm. Splurge. It’s worth investing in your relationship.

So, mom, you can still have the romantic date night! I need to remind myself of this. I’m thinking a dinner date with some Chinese take-out is in my near future. What have you done with your spouse to keep the magic alive?  You can always go to bed early, too!

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of 2 in Northeast Indiana. She loves date nights with her husband, James, but she sure does miss her kids!

Pregnancy Week 36: Making Time for Me Before Baby Arrives

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Pregnancy Week 36: Making Time for Me Before Baby ArrivesWith just four short weeks before my due date, I am trying to check off everything on my many lists. Even though this is my second child, I still feel the need to have a spotless house, clean and shampooed hair, and a nursery ready to go before my little man makes his debut. It’s important, however, to slow down a little bit and take the time for myself before this little miracle is brought into the world.

With a 22 month old in the house, time for myself is limited. Naptime is usually my time. At the beginning of my pregnancy, naptime was a time to nap. As I progressed, it was a time to sneak snacks in that she didn’t need to see me eat. Later, it became a time for me to surf the internet and look for amazing baby things and ideas for the nursery. Now, I use naptime in a variety of ways. I clean. I surf the internet. I sometimes nap.

Here are some tips on how to make time for yourself before welcoming a new member of your family. What worked for you, momma?

Nap

This seems easy, but with sleep becoming something that is hard to attain comfortably lately, it is not. A good nap will do any pregnant woman good. Try to make the time to sleep. When I do lay down, I usually aim for a 30 min. – 1 hr. nap. Any more than that, and I am ready to stay in bed for the rest of the day. Find a place that is comfortable and relaxing for you. I prefer to nap in my bed with a fort of pillows surrounding me. Play soothing music, dim the lights, relax.

Friends

It seems simple, but make time for your friends before baby arrives. Living in different places has caused me to forge friendships. I cherish the time I get to spend with my few girlfriends. Most of the time, we are chasing our toddlers, but it is a great release to have some adult conversation. Talk to your spouse and schedule a night where you can go to dinner or catch a movie with a girlfriend. Invest in these friendships now, before you are covered in spit-up and much more busy.

Date Night

My husband and I rarely ever go on dates unless we are home visiting our family. I am very excited to say, however, that we have a date planned for next weekend. (Insert loud applause!) Make the time to have some quality time with your spouse. It’s easy to forget that they are about to have their lives changed, as well. Take the time to hold hands, share your fears and dreams, and just enjoy each other. It’s nice to have a date outside of the living room sometimes.

Beautify Yourself

Many women like to get a pre-baby pedicure. While I prefer to tackle my toes myself, I do plan on getting another pregnancy massage before my little man arrives. Schedule a visit to the salon and get a new haircut or update your current one while you have the time. I am looking forward to getting my eyebrows waxed in a few weeks. It’s the little things!

Make Time for Other Children

I made a commitment to myself this summer to do as many fun activities with my 22 month old as I can since it will not be just the two of us much longer. We’ve tackled swim lessons and vacation bible school so far. Make sure your other children know they are loved and give them some extra attention when you can.

So, what did you do for yourself before baby arrived? I sometimes forget that life will still go on as usual once my son arrives. There will be time to paint my toes and take long showers, but I still love making time for me during this season.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of one and one on the way. She loves having a little “me time.”

Start a Date Night In–Part I

Friday, February 14th, 2014

 

FIve Reasons to Start a Date Night In

When we started this tradition, my husband was in the middle of opening his business and also working a second job. There were only two nights a week that we had more than an hour to spend together, and we brainstormed ideas for how we could really make the most of the time we did have together: Our weekly “Date Night In” was born. It has been so awesome for us as individuals and for our marriage that I am thrilled to get to share it with you.

In Part One, you’ll find five reasons to commit to a weekly Date Night In, and the follow-up Part Two post you’ll find the rules my husband and I follow for our at-home dates. Why should you and your spouse start a Date Night In routine?

  1. Sanity – Adding a new baby to the family is challenging, whether it is your first child or your fifth. Babies are so very dependent on their parents, especially in the first year. When parents add a child to the mix, it can be hard to maintain a sense of individuality within parenthood. Becoming “Mommy and Daddy” can easily take over, causing spouses to feel disconnected from the individual they were before the baby came. Don’t feel guilty about needing some “me” time, despite how much you love being a parent! It’s okay, even necessary, to protect your sanity by accessing who you are as an individual. Who better to remind you that you are both Mom, Mama, or Mommy as well as a beautiful, brilliant woman who is fun to spend time with than your spouse? Making Date Night In a weekly tradition will help you both carve out time to focus on yourselves and your marriage. Bonus? Boosting your sense of self and security in your marriage will help you as a parent as well.
  2. Prioritization – A Date Night In routine sends a clear signal to both spouses: You are my priority. When your husband sets aside that work assignment and wakes up early to finish it the next morning, the message is clear. Work matters, but there is time for you. It matters to me that we connect enough that I can set these things aside. When a wife turns her ‘guilty pleasure’ show off and logs off her social media accounts, it tells her husband the same things–it matters to me that we spend this time together, and I will gladly put you first. When children are added to a marriage, it can be a challenge to feel like your relationship comes first. Couples may agree that the marriage comes first and is top priority, but the day to day of changing diapers, feeding babies, and playing blocks can make it harder to see specifically how the marriage comes first. A weekly Date Night In is an intentional commitment to prioritizing your relationship with your spouse.
  3. Flirtation – Parents need to flirt with each other! Married parents become a team, each spouse contributing time and energy to meet the needs of the family. It’s a necessary component of marriage, right? Spouses need to work together to get through the day, pay the bills, work toward goals. Dating prior to marriage, however, doesn’t really look the same. There is a lot more time together just build around recreation – dinner out, parties, movies. Spending time together recreationally allows spouses to get back to that part of their relationship. Parents can and should still do these things out of the house, but typically the frequency drops of when children enter the picture. Having a weekly date night at the house when the children are asleep carves out time for recreation. Game night, a special take out meal, recreation of a favorite activity from the dating years–these types of at-home dates encourage spouses to flirt and be playful with one another.
  4. Intimacy – A weekly Date Night In routine provides a consistent opportunity for emotional and physical intimacy. Raising children is hard work, and those early years of parenting includes a lot of time committed to nighttime parenting as well. The reality of the time commitment to parenting means that finding time for intimacy is harder to do once children come along. To maintain a healthy level of connection with your spouse, intimacy in its different forms is essential. Date Night In is a weekly opportunity to do what my husband and I call “emotional check-ins.” We have a chance to ask big questions–How do you feel about work? What are your goals for this year, and how are they going? What has been challenging for you lately? And because we’ve set time aside to focus on each other without distractions, we are capable of being good listeners and having higher quality conversations. Setting aside time for Date Night also allows for more time for physical intimacy, another component of marriage that often requires intentional prioritization and open communication once children are added to the family.
  5. Growth – Being in a lifelong committed relationship is an opportunity for both personal growth and marital growth. A consistent weekly Date Night In is a way to make steady improvements in communication and unity. Giving each spouse a chance to refocus and regain a little sanity, keeping the relationship a top priority, and setting aside opportunities for healthy flirtation and intimacy are all benefits of Date Night In that will allow for growth in marriage.

Do I have you convinced? Look for a follow up post for the “rules” of Date Night In, as well as future posts with Date Night In ideas for you and your spouse! If you can’t wait for my follow up posts and want to get started immediately, check out The Dating Divas for ideas.

Claire Dodge is a wife and mother of two toddlers living in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas. She is a Birth Boot Camp natural childbirth instructor and helps her husband part-time in his prenatal and pediatric chiropractic office. She loves all things natural living and attachment parenting, and loves to get lost in books, yarn, and a good run.