Back when we started this project to date once a week no matter what and began to share it with friends and family I’ll never forget the responses we received. Most told us it was a great idea and to be sure to share so they could get inspiration, many told me to print it and enjoy the fun history, but several said something that shocked me. “Enjoy it while you can, you’re blog and project will totally die once you have children.” Insert jaw drop here.
I couldn’t believe how bold people were in expressing so bluntly their negative thoughts on dating after children! I raised an eyebrow and told them thanks for their thoughts. In the back of my mind I thought “Yeah right, we won’t turn into a cynical uninvolved married couple like you!” And yes, probably feeling just as judgy as that sounds.
Here we are, almost four months into parenthood, and I have to say I get it. We’re both full-time working adults, I’m working part-time blogging, we both serve about 10 hours a week in our church callings, and we are still attending at least two major family events each month complete with prepping food for at least 30 people. Jacob is marathon training spending hours each week running, I’m trying to exercise at least a few times a week, and we’re doing our best to get dinner on the table every night and lunches packed for the next day. The baby goes through laundry like I can’t believe, and I’m pumping and storing all the food I can for him whenever I get a minute. I’m also trying to be super present and there for the little guy whenever I am home and get time with him. Sometimes it feels like sleep is a distant memory and chaos is the new norm. We’ve still dated, but most our dates have looked like packing up the baby in his jammies to fall asleep in the car seat while we grab dinner for an hour or two on a good night- or fast food with 20 minutes of conversation on a bad night. We get to make the decision every weekend if we go have fun or actually clean the house, if we spend quality time, or we get ahead and grocery shop. To say having a baby has thrown off the groove of two very organized people would be an understatement.
Should we even talk finances? This came as no shock, we knew it was the reality, but yikes it’s expensive to pay a babysitter if you can even get a babysitter with these crazy busy schedules they live as well! Baby college fund or babysitter? Sometimes budgets force us to make those calls! So yes skeptics, I get it. Sometimes dating feels like it’s a distant dream and something just not doable with children in the picture.
And yet, as we look at the chaos we are experiencing we are saying more and more how grateful we are for our relationship, and how much we want to spend more time together working on it. One day our kids will leave us, and there will be just us again. We’ve worked hard to build such a solid happy marriage, and we really don’t want to take it for granted or lose it. And so, we are recommitting ourselves to more than just a quick dinner at a fast food drive through. Our baby will take a bottle, we are getting to the point where he’ll let us leave him for a short time, and every week he’s a little older and we gain a little bit more time and freedom. To all parents with newborns- it gets easier and there is light at the end of the trapped-at-home tunnel.
So how is date night going to look for us and what is changing now that there’s a little Whiting? This has been a question I’ve received before there ever was a little Whiting, and something we’d talked about and planned for as soon as we knew we could start getting in our normal groove again.
We’ve always had plans and series we wanted to start once a baby came, and now is our great time to make these things happen! So here’s what we’ve cooked up for dating regularly with a baby:
One weekend a month we’ll have date night in. We’ll put the baby/kids to bed a little early and we’ll stay up a little late. We’ll plan something aside from takeout and Netflix (although that may happen on occasion too), and we’ll enjoy some quality time on a budget without babysitter costs.
One weekend a month we’ll trade babysitting with friends and family. This will likely mean a day date or early evening before bedtime. We’ll take their kids one day a month for a big activity, and we’ll pawn off ours one day a month to them. We also do have grandparents in the same state, and we don’t want to use and abuse them, but we’ll have them sub in a few months of the year when friend schedules don’t work.
One weekend a month we’ll have a family date. Kids are invited, we’ll do something together as a family and we’ll make it memorable for everyone! We’re having more of these while our baby is little and portable, but as he grows and going out to eat becomes less than easy, we’ll still make the sacrifice and all party it up together with a fun activity.
One-two weekends a month we’re splurging. Babysitter, fun/exotic new experiences, and we’ll know it costs a few pretty pennies. We’re setting aside a budget, we’re cutting back on other things, and we’re making this a priority! We’ll still be creative and share some new experiences here and how we beat the dinner and movie lull. It takes a little more planning and creativity, but we don’t want to lose who we’ve become and the moments we’ve really enjoyed together the past five years!
I’ll be honest, our first date out may be a movie because hello Mockingjay and Star Wars, apparently people really loved you and we couldn’t make it work with the little tyke over the holidays because apparently he likes to eat. Maybe we can look into noise canceling headphones and bring him? I have no clue, we’re still new to this, but we’ll figure it all out!
We also may adjust a bit here or there or splurge on a few more babysitter nights since this is something we do for this blog. Thanks for putting up with the occasional sponsored posts and clicking a few affiliates links so we can continue to have that date night budget and also help our babysitter with her college fund!
So there you have it, our four-five weeks a month plans to make sure dating happens and our original project holds true! For anyone looking to follow this plan, feel free to pair any ideas that work for you! I'm a fan of variety, but I know some poor college students may need to swap with a neighbor a little more than they'd like and pair it with a free date just to make it happen!
We hope you’ll stick with us as we evolve. I can’t help but think we’ll be more relatable and real now that we’re no longer DINKs living it up every weekend. We're parents and crazy busy people trying to make a lot happen in life, but we're people who are as committed as ever to this original mission! Hopefully we’ll continue to inspire readers to have their own nights of singing along to our favorite song, “Friday I’m in Love” while still finding time to get the laundry done!