“Babe, are you ready?” Silence. “Babe, hello!” “Renata, are you ready to go?” Silence. It wasn’t that I couldn’t hear my husband; obviously, I could. Post-partum hadn’t affected my hearing (At least I didn’t think so). I was just preoccupied with the growing list of things to do in my head before I walked out the door.
Diapers? Check. Wipes? Check. Butt cream? Check. Enough breastmilk to feed a tiny army of one? Check. Complete manual of how-to-care-for-my-infant? Check. Panic attack? Check. Check. Check. If you are wondering what in the world that was for, I’ll tell ya. That was the mental-list I made for our babysitter the first time my husband and I went out on a date post-baby. To say I was a hot mess is the understatement of the century.
Clearly, there was no way our babysitter, which I have to disclose, was my own mother, could possibly take care of our three-month old. I KNOW, it sounds absolutely crazy; I mean, she did succeed in keeping me alive (Go, Mom!). Yet there I was, second-guessing my decision to go out without my baby and I hadn’t even left my bedroom. Honestly, it took everything in me to walk out the door that day. I would be going back to work soon and I wanted to make sure I soaked in EVERY moment possible with my little girl.
Sure, I may have called my mother five times in the three-hour span we were gone. Sure, I may have momsplained (That is a word now, right?) my mother on the ways to feed my daughter a bottle. Sure, I may have talked about the baby to my husband the ENTIRE time during lunch. However, ultimately, going out for the afternoon, alone, was the best decision we made since deciding to have said baby.
To every parent out there reading this, if you take anything I write to heart, this is a big one: DATE YOUR SPOUSE. During my last few weeks of pregnancy every person I came into contact with, felt the need to give me advice (If you’ve been pregnant, you know exactly what I am talking about). Good advice, bad advice (Always unsolicited, I might add) I had heard it all. The best advice? DATE YOUR SPOUSE.
I knew my entire life was about to be shaken up. Would I change? Of course, I could feel that in my bones; I was already changing. However, if I am being honest, it never crossed my mind how the dynamics of my marriage would change. Yes, I felt it would be different, but I couldn’t grasp how different, not yet at least. The afternoon I gave birth to my daughter, something else happened; a mother and father were born. We were no longer simply husband and wife.
However, even though EVERYTHING changed around us, EVERYTHING remained the same between us. My husband was still the man I fell in love with and I was still the woman he chose to spend his life with (Maybe just a bit more tired). Although that first date after baby wasn’t easy (Post-partum hormones and all), it was necessary. It made me realize how much we needed time alone, the two of us, completely free of distractions. So, hear me out: DATE YOUR SPOUSE.
It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be every week. It doesn’t even have to be away from home (I get if you aren’t ready to leave your child). It doesn’t even have to be longer than an hour. All it has to do, is happen. So, DATE YOUR SPOUSE.
Both my husband and I work outside the home full-time. We understand exhaustion. We understand late nights, early mornings, sleepless nights, busy schedules, daycare drop-offs & pick-ups. We understand chaos. Beyond that though, we understand the need for intimacy. Intimacy is crucial for the growth of any relationship. DATE YOUR SPOUSE.
I’d be lying if I said that my husband and I go out every week, or every other week for that matter. What I can say is this, we carve out time on Friday nights to have a “date-night”. You may be wondering what that means, so, I will explain.
On Friday nights after we put our children to bed we set aside our phones, turn off the television, and focus on each other (Distraction free). We have a glass of wine, listen to music, and talk; so simple yet so satisfying. Sometimes we reminisce on those days long ago where we were younger and less tired. Most days, however, we talk about our futures. This alone time helps us to recharge, refocus, and reunite under one commonality, each other.
The house is a mess? DATE YOUR SPOUSE. Your kids have refused to eat that gourmet meal you whipped together? DATE YOUR SPOUSE. The day was a disaster, you never finished your four dollar coffee, and your hair hasn’t seen real shampoo in days? DATE YOUR SPOUSE.
When you rest your head on your pillow at the end of a long day, turn around, and look at the person next to you, you want to know that person. An intimate relationship can keep you and your husband happy, healthy, and better able to deal with life stressors (Like those adorable little munchkins you birthed). So, DATE YOUR SPOUSE.
Inevitably, your little people will grow up. They will leave for college and standing by your side will be your spouse, the person who weathered it all with you. With the empty nest looming in my future (Far, far future), I want to make sure the person standing by my side knows me. So, I will keep our Friday nights sacred, today and always. Now, excuse me while I go date my spouse. Hint, you should too 😉