Sam was almost one year old before Tim and I realized we had forgotten something REALLY important. Us.
I remember after Josie was born (now 6 years old), it took a long time for Tim and I to figure out that it was OK, and necessary, to have time for ourselves. We seemed to have forgotten this again when Sam was born.
I don't think this applies just to us, thank goodness. I believe most parents go through periods just after having a child in which they are so focused on keeping their new little being alive and happy, that they neglect themselves.
I see so many clients as they are just coming out of this phase and they are reconnecting with themselves, wanting to pay more attention to feeling good and feeling like they look good, and getting used to giving themselves some goodies! It is a whole different animal, however, to reconnect with your partner after this infant stage. For Tim and I, it took 1 year to realize that we needed to carve out time to spend together. This need definitely competed with our feelings of guilt with leaving the kids with other people, and our exhaustion and lack of energy to plan such things. Regardless, we started this process of coming back together, for, as parenting experts tell us every day, one of the most important ways to nurture strong children is to be a strong couple.
So now the next challenge: what the heck do we do on date night?
Initially, we went to a few of our favorite high-end restaurants to indulge, it was so nice to have an adult dinner, be able to linger over wine, not rush through appetizers, stay longer than having the kids with us would allow, and feel relaxed and pampered. Quickly we realized, however, that our budget was not going to support this every single time! So, on to the next idea.
Tim suggested that we go out for a movie. I seriously could not remember the last time I went out to see a movie, no joke. I didn't even know that they had reclining seats in the theaters! I was so resistant to the idea because it seemed like 2 hours of wasted time that I could be doing something else (yes, I'm type A, how did you know?). Eventually I tried it, and wow. Just wow. You mean we get to sit and hold hands in air conditioning eating snacks and being entertained and totally indulging in the fact that we are "wasting" 2 hours of time? Yes please!
Tim and I have now had to be very creative about date nights. Here's some of the things we've done:
Get some sandwiches or taco truck and go to a park with a blanket and just relax. Bring coats!
Go to a casino and have dinner, then play penny-slots.
Go to a friends house for double date night.
Take a walk downtown and just eat spontaneously at wherever looks good.
Dinner at the movies: There are a couple of options here. You can go to the theater in Centralia (The Olympic Club) where you can have food and beer while you watch,
Or you can indulge in some junk food at the regular theater (I'm a fan of the nachos!)
Play mini golf
Go to the driving range
Maybe switch it up and go for a breakfast date: a favorite of mine is at Tugboat Annie's they have a package where you can have a delicious breakfast and then rent a kayak for an hour.
Picnic in the park followed by dessert somewhere fun:
-Dilingers for their Whiskey Doughnut Bread Pudding with ice cream
- le Petit Maison for literally anything they make- it's all amazing
- Tugboat Annie's for a bananas foster-type yummy thing they do.
- Baskin-Robbins For an old fashioned ice cream date!
Explore new restaurants
And, yes, one time we even just sat in the car (granted it was pouring rain) and laughed at Facebook stuff together.
Enjoy exploring, and each other.