The holidays are a stressful time for a lot of people, but especially for new parents. Aside from the presents shopping, travel arrangements, and the forty-seven other things we have to get done during the course of a normal work week, new parents also have to contend with the rigors associated with caring for a baby all day, every day. During these times, date night is usually the very last thing on the minds of new parents.
But it’s precisely these times when a well-placed date night can go a long way towards keeping the peace — as well as your sanity — during the most hectic time of the year. Here are a few date night ideas for new parents during the holiday season.
Holiday lights sight-seeing
Whether you’re a big holiday spirit kind of person or not, taking a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood at night can be a great way to share a peaceful moment with your partner and baby. It’s free, it’s good exercise, and you can take your baby along to avoid finding a sitter. Yes, it’s a tough to call this single activity a proper date. But on the other hand, new parents know and appreciate the wonders what a half an hour of quiet calm can do during the course of a day.
Take a cooking class together
My wife and I both have to work, but I’m not much of a cook. As such, she does most of the cooking. But between working, nursing our newborn, and doing her millions of other mom-things with our seven-year-old, finding the time, creativity, and resources to cook each night can be a real nuisance. Taking a date night cooking class together can not only help break out of the doldrums of your typical cooking routine, it can also help both parties gain valuable cooking skills, and give you an activity to do together.
Dinner and a movie
Predictable, I know, but there’s a reason dinner-and-a-movie is the staple for any date night: it’s hard to go wrong. Sure, the movie might turn out to be a snooze fest, and sure, it can be an expensive endeavor by the time you factor in the babysitter, food, and tickets (not to mention the $18 bowl of popcorn); but the ability to dedicate three or four hours to nothing but leisure time can really take some of the stress out of new parents’ lives.
Like dinner and a movie, ice skating might at first seem a very high school-like suggestion. But in truth, ice skating can be a lot of fun for new parents who spend the vast majority of their time caring for a third party. The odds are good neither you nor your partner is a killer ice skater, which makes ice skating the perfect way to reconnect with your partner. While you’re both struggling to maintain your own balance, you’re also looking out for each other — a old habit often lost after the arrival of a new baby, and one you’re sure to appreciate seeing again. And though it should go without saying, I’ll mention it anyway, just in case: this one is a baby-free activity.
A night in
Remember when you and your partner first moved in to your home? You painted the walls, placed all your knick-knacks in just the right spots, and couldn’t wait to come home at the end of a long day. Since your baby arrived, all that has changed. You can’t walk from one side of the house to the other without tripping over rubber blocks, high chairs, and car seats, and the last time it was quiet and peaceful was about 3:47 this morning, just before your baby started screaming bloody murder. It’s time to take back your house. Hire a house cleaner to come give your home a once-over, find a baby sitter who works from home (their home, that is; grandma’s house usually works), grab some delicious take-out, and relax in the home that you and your partner built together.
Caring for a new baby is hard, and doing so during the holidays can be even more so. Treat yourself — and each other — every once in a while, or the stressful season might turn into one that’s too much to take.