Let’s talk dating as a new parent–I mean, how does anyone do it? Okay, I know how people actually do it (after all, we’ve somehow managed to get out on three (?) dates since having Raven), but the thought of being able to go out regularly on dates again just seems an idea too impossible and fantastic to fathom at this stage of new parenthood. So we go out on quote-unquote “dates” about two or three times a month with baby in tow, which we’re calling good for now.
And sometimes we even are able to convince our other new-parent friends to make a double date of it (which adds a little friend for Raven, to boot).
That’s where you would have found us last weekend, anyway—having a low-key picnic of egg-salad sandwiches and watermelon at a local park and hanging out at our place afterwards for games. (Note: every time we have a picnic–which is seriously only about once a year–I think to myself that we should do it all the time. I mean, how easy is it to just take your meal outside? So easy, and so much more refreshing than eating inside while the t.v. blares. I’m thinking of instigating a “picnic outside at least once a month” goal starting about now.)
Back to the question of going out on real dates, though–now that we’re pulling out of the haze induced by the presence of a newborn in our home, we’re finally starting to think about ourselves again, and what we both need from each other to keep our marriage strong in the years to come. I realize that this means at least getting out once a month (ideally more often) with just the two of us.
Looks like I might have to get comfortable with the idea of hiring a babysitter, huh? (Or just be willing to drive the hour and a half to where our family is anytime we want to go out.)
Before having Raven, because we were as free as we wanted to do whatever, whenever, we often didn’t really plan out dates. Isn’t that funny? When we had all the time and freedom (and money, somewhat) to go out on more lavish dates, we didn’t take the time to plan them out hardly ever.
Now that we have to plan them out though, I think our dates will probably end up being a little more meaningful than just your typical dinner-and-movie fare.
Here are 10 dates I’m wanting to try out or that we’ve already tried and loved. (I hope you’ll get some good ideas for your own nights out!):
1. Attend an exercise class together, preferably one that neither of you have ever done before. Or, if group exercise classes aren’t your thing, splurge on a joint session with a personal trainer.
2. Plan a themed at-home movie marathon day/evening, complete with treats and blankets on the floor. (I’m actually planning a blog post all around themed movie marathons, so stay tuned.)
3. Recreate your first date, but in a different city.
4. Take a stroll through a public garden. Don’t forget to take pictures!
5. Plan a laidback picnic in the park. Don’t forget to take some time on the swings and slides before leaving!
6. Find an unusual holiday that you don’t normally celebrate and plan a date around it.
7. Check out a new restaurant in town with the mission of posting a review (on a site like TripAdvisor or Yelp) after. Chat about the atmosphere, food, and service just like you would if you were actual restaurant critics. Then actually post a review!
8. Do a “date of service,” where you cash out the money you would have spent on dinner and a movie to go out on serve people. You could pay for someone’s parking meter, buy a hot chocolate for a stranger, buy a bunch of balloons to hand out to kids…the options are endless!
9. Plan to hit a local art exhibit on an opening night for free art AND free food!
10. Go to a local event that neither have you ever attended, like an opera performance or a color run. Don’t forget to take pictures!
Hope this gave you some fresh ideas to try out! For more reading, check out some of these past posts I’ve done relating to dating or that illustrate dates in this post: