Monday, January 20, 2014

Purposeful Parenting: the dos and don'ts of date nights

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Please know that what may work for us may not work for you. We do not judge, however, we will often be blunt in sharing if something that works for others absolutely does not and will not work for us.

Jason and I have yet to go on a date night all by ourselves. We're quite okay with us and have discussed, at length, when we feel it will be the right time. We've decided that Bug must be able to talk, and she must be at least two years old.

In the interim, we've been talking with others and continue to evaluate our own choice to be sure it is the right choice for us.

I can tell you with 100% certainty that this is right for us.

Someone I know had their first baby. She and her husband went out shopping two days after the baby was born and left the baby with a relative.

I can tell you with 100% certainty that is wrong for us.

While Jason and I haven't gone on a date, we have, unfortunately, left Bug all by herself in the care of a relative. We were buying a new-to-us car and didn't feel the environment would be appropriate for a baby. It was only for a few hours, but I can tell you that neither of us are eager to repeat that experience. And by either, I really mean me, Jason and Bug, too. She was miserable. She was about five months old when that happened.

Only you can decide when you're ready for a date night (or any other occasion in which you and any other primary caretaker are away from the baby and the baby is left with someone s/he may not be used to), but I do hope you won't leave your two-day-old. That's a bit soon in my opinion (and in the interest of total honesty, I was absolutely horrified when I knew this happened).

But just because you can't go on a date outside of your home doesn't mean you and your significant other can't enjoy each other sans baby. Bug typically is asleep by 7:30 (and some nights as early as 6:30). This allows plenty of time to watch a movie, have dinner by ourselves, play games or have a spa night all at home. We have done this many times. In fact, even as I write this, we are planning a spa night combined with a movie night the following week. I'm very much looking forward to it!

When it is time for a date night, Jason and I have talked about the best way to do it. We already have certain people in mind that we would feel comfortable taking care of our Bug. I'm rather sure we'll stay in the local area for our date night so we're available to rush home in the case of an emergency or if Bug has an absolute meltdown. She actually loves people, but she very much likes to touch base with me now and again when we are visiting with others, whether at our own home or someone else's. So when I'm not there for her to check in with, I have a feeling she will be sad (she gets this really cute grumpy face when she wants to check in with me, but someone else is holding her and won't let her get away - don't worry, I always scoop her up so she can smell me and love on me and know that mama is still there).

Whatever you do decide, please know that your child is definitely used to you, even if they are in day care or being taken care of someone else while you are at work. And if you do work outside the home, your child may be even more clingy because they are used to being with you when you are not at work. I plan to take date nights slowly and always keep Bug as a first priority. There will be a day, soon enough (too soon, to be honest), where Bug will be off gallivanting with her friends or ask to spend the night at Nana's all by herself. This is just a short period of time (even though sometimes it feels long!) where she will always want me or Jason. I plan to savor it as much as humanly possible!

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