Once the baby comes along, there is so much to think about and so many lifestyle changes that take place, it can become very easy to overlook one’s own needs. Depending on your unique situation and comfort level it could take a little while until you’re comfortable to start thinking about having a date night with your significant other (SO). This can be especially difficult for new parents who don’t live near any family members who can take the baby off their hands for a night. I should know; I’m one of them.
The first thing you’ll need to do is reach a comfort level with yourself to not feel guilty about leaving the baby. This will vary from person to person, and even between two parents, but it’s very important that you both feel good about the decision to go out and enjoy yourselves for the evening. That being said, don’t let your guilt overtake you at the expense of your relationship. It can be easy to neglect your love life at this time, especially when you’re likely not focused on romanticism. Just going out and spending some quality alone time with your SO can be a rejuvenating reminder about how important you are to each other independent of your shared progeny.
If you’re like most people, you probably live near some friends or family that could maybe help out with the baby once in a while. However, in an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, people often times find employment opportunities far from home. If you’re one of those types of people, it can be difficult to find someone who can help watch your kids for a night here and there.
Fear not parents! The internet is here to the rescue. There are a couple great sites and some resources out there that can help you find a sitter you can trust. Bare in mind, that there are subscriptions associated with the caregiver sites listed below. These give you access to core features like background checks and the like, but also remember that once you find a sitter, the subscription is no longer need. There are upgrade options too for you to explore if you really need to expedite the process, but they are generally catered towards the care provider gaining more exposure.
One of the biggest and most widely used caregiver sites on the web. It’s insanely easy to use, but somewhat time consuming as you’ll want to interview your potential sitters. You’ll review profiles of sitters, read their reviews and see which ones respond to your job advertisement. Then you’ll move on to interviews. I’d advise you to get started on this process as soon as possible as it’s nice to have someone (or a few people), to reach in case of a short notice engagement or if you just need help watching the kid while you run some errands. The whole point of this is to secure yourself some sitters, right? So let’s get to interviewing.
Sittercity is another great caregiver site, similar to care.com, that connects parents with sitters. It’s worthwhile to check both these sites out. While many of the sitters will use both sites, some may only be on one or the other. Why not diversify your potential sitter portfolio?
Sittercity has actually been around for about 5 years longer than Care, but they both do pretty much the same thing. SitterCity exclusively for babysitters, while Care has branched out into help for special needs, elderly, pets and other such sitting candidates. They use very similar processes and are similarly priced. While you may be put off by subscribing to two services, remember, it only really has to be a one month subscription as you’ll likely find someone within that time frame.
- YMCA via Safe Sitter Program:
YMCAs across the country participate in the Safe Sitter program. Often times they will have a contact list of sitters that you can pull from. This is a great, free way of meeting potential sitters if you live in an area with a YMCA nearby. You may even be able to get access to this without a membership making it potentially the most economical way of finding a sitter. Check it out!
So many activities! Decisions, decisions…. Well, there is the classic dinner and a movie date, and to be quite honest there’s nothing wrong with that. On your first few nights away from the kids, you might just want to enjoy each other’s company over dinner and then sit silently and cuddle in a theater. It’s just so effortless. These days, many theaters are going the extra mile in an effort to make themselves more appealing since home theaters are increasingly better equipped. Serving alcohol, premium seating and wait staffs are not all that uncommon now. While they can add to the price significantly, if you’re treating yourself once in a while to a date night, why not make it special?
Superlux in the Boston area is one such place. You’ll notice the tickets are significantly more expensive than a “normal” theater, but the premium seats are ages 21 and over, they serve dinner and alcohol, the seats recline to a dangerous level of comfort and you get a $5 voucher and free popcorn. It kinda’ evens out. My wife and I go there to see the three hour, big budget epic movies to make sure we get our money’s worth.
The Parkway Theater in Oakland is another new style theater with a different kind of vibe. It’s more casual than the Superlux experience: has couches, beer from local breweries and all kinds of snacks. Look for a place like this in your area for a fun, grown-up twist on date night.
Taking classes together can be a fun way to enjoy time with your partner while being active and/or learning something new. This can be an excellent alternative to movie night and can do well to bond the two of you over a mutual interest. While there will inherently be a bit more planning involved, especially if your interests don’t perfectly align or you schedules aren’t predictable, there can be some notable positives that can come from a consistent and predictable date night. For one thing, if you have scheduled classes to go to, you won’t have to come up with new ideas all the time or be able to neglect date night… not without throwing money away.
“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”
– Harriet Van Horne
I mean, sure, miss Van Horne has a point I suppose. Honestly though, you don’t need to put that much of a prerequisite on it. Cooking is a lot of fun and even better when it’s with people. Now, you’re not going to find date night cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu of course. Most of these kinds of lessons spring up organically in better populated areas with a surplus of chefs and restaurants. Good thing too, because cooking classes are an extraordinarily engaging way to spend an evening with your significant other while learning something new or practicing something you love.
If you line in New York, L.A. or Chicago, check out coursehorse.com. They aggregate local lessons for all kinds of activities and right under the ‘Cooking’ button, you’ll see ‘Couples Cooking’ with loads of options for classes all over any of the three cities they serve. And of course, a simple Google search for ‘cooking classes for couples’ will almost certainly yield some promising results for you.
Yoga, Acting and Music
In the interest of brevity, we’re going to consolidate these three, more esoteric, learning opportunities into one section here. It’s true that yoga is kind of a big deal these days. As a couples class though, it may not appeal to everyone. I still think it’s a great idea though. My wife and I used to do this while we were dating and were just thinking about how nice it would be to do it again. Yoga is miraculously relaxing and may be just what a couple of new parents need to unwind and get back in touch with their own bodies after looking after another’s for some time.
Acting is one of those things that a lot people always wish they had tried, but never got into. The couple’s date night could be the perfect setting to engage in such an activity without having the commitment generally associated with taking up a craft like acting. Many acting schools have one day workshops you can plan for to create an interesting, alternative date night.
Music classes will be a little more difficult to find in a classic school room model, and will rely on a mutual interest a little more heavily the aforementioned, more approachable types of activities. However, you can always hire a private teacher that may be willing to host two people (depending on the instrument in question), which would make taking music lessons together completely viable and possible a candidate for an ongoing, repeatable date night.
Now, sporting events can run a little on the long side and, as such, may be best for couples with a grandparent willing to watch the child. If you can swing it though, going to a sporting event can be a really exciting outing whether or not you consider yourself a sports fan. Take the AT&T Park where that San Francisco Giants play for instance. It’s an absolutely beautiful facility set right on the water’s edge. Also, sporting events make for some very interesting people watching opportunities. And if you’re on a budget, there are always minor league options that can approximate the same experience at a fraction of the cost.
Dressing up and going to a hoity-toity classical concert can be a great reminder of how great you and your partner can look and feel when you aren’t elbow deep in diapers and wipes. Also, you may find that once you’re looking after a baby, pop culture kind of has a way of blowing right by you making classical music that much more appealing.
That said, with the proliferation of streaming music services over the last few years, more and more musicians are constantly touring to recoup some of the lost album sales they used to enjoy. While unfortunate for them, it’s a big bonus for the consumer. New and old bands are in and out of town all the time now and you’d be wise to keep your ear to the ground for any old or new favorites that may give you an excuse to call the sitter and have night out with beau.
Well, I’m tapped! What do you think of these date night options and sitter acquisition methods? We’d absolutely love to hear any new services for sitters or ideas for date nights below in the comments below. Let’s keep the conversation going!