When it’s been months since you’ve worn anything other than sweatpants, those elegant, romantic date nights pre-baby might seem universes away. However, you and your partner’s relationship is just as important as before (if not more since there’s now another tiny human involved). Simply taking a little bit of time away from the baby to reconnect with your partner can work wonders...even if it requires a readjustment phase as you cross back into adulthood and string together full sentences.
Read about this mama’s hilarious real-time narrative about her first date post-baby. You can do it, too!
We know that getting away can be hard and since, unfortunately, we’re not available to babysit tonight, the least we can do is to jumpstart some of the planning for you. Here’s a round-up of our favorite date ideas, spanning different budgets, time horizons, and levels of interest in non-Lycra material.
Stay on Home Base
- At-home dinner: Skip the commute! Keep your time away from the little one focused on your partner by asking a friend to take the baby for a few hours. Order in from your fave restaurant and set the mood with proper place settings, soft music, and candles. Dress nicely (okay, that’s optional) and you can wine and dine without leaving your living room! This option is easy for pumping mamas who CAN’T EVEN think about bringing their pump along to chaperone a date. Read about how these mama friends helped each other out here.
- Double Date at Home: Feeling like you’ve lost touch with the adult world? Have your best girlfriend and her SO over for the evening. Watch a movie, play a board game, or enjoy sitting down for a meal with humans who are old enough to chew and cut their own meat.
- DIY Drive-in: Grab some blankets, pillows, and the baby monitor and head to the car (or even your bedroom if the car is too far away). Pop some corn and cuddle up in front of a movie on your laptop for an easy and private alternative to the classic drive-in date. Feel free to neck in the back seat without the risk of getting caught! We’ve got a roundup of our favorite movies for new moms here.
I Love Cheap Thrills
- Cheap night at the movies: If you missed any must-see movies while they were still in the main theaters (for obvious reasons!), find a cheapo theatre that’s just as behind the times as you are. Cheap tickets (look for matinees, weekday nights) leave more money in the date budget for movie snacks. #winning
- See a school or community theatre performance: Theatre is usually not the cheapest or easiest option for a night out, but high schools, colleges, or community theatre groups often show surprisingly high quality shows for very affordable prices. It might not be Hamilton, but it’ll be a fun evening of getting lost in the magic of theatre (even if that high schooler’s voice did crack).
- Go to a street fair or farmer's market: Even urban areas will have street fairs and farmer’s markets fairly frequently. Roam around trying samples, hand-in-hand, and feel like a couple of high schoolers again. Except now, you don’t have to get your mom to pick you up. You are the mom. But forget about that for now.
Go Big! Then Go Home
- Recreate your first date: It’s probably been a hot second, but you can reminisce about those first date butterflies. Take a trip down memory lane by going to the same restaurant or activity that you went to for your first date. Props if you have the energy to recreate that ice skating date...but if you’d rather do something a little less strenuous, we won’t judge.
- Stay overnight at a local hotel: Take some extra-special alone time by dropping off the baby at grandma’s house for a night and booking a room at a local hotel. Soak in the tub, order room service, and enjoy a luxurious full night of sleep. If you have extra time, do something that you’ve never gotten the chance to check out in your own city.
- Get artsy: Check out a local museum or art exhibit. If you feel uber-romantic consider visiting an observatory (a la La-La Land) and stargaze together. You might not perform an exquisite waltz while drifting off into the solar system, but this romantic evening will definitely get you feeling the love.
Other suggestions for squeezing alone time into a packed day include sneaking out during the day (when you already have your childcare set up), exercising together, or even simply slipping away to your favorite coffee joint for a 45-minute conversation about anything but the baby. For more new parent date night ideas, we love Care.com’s date night’s suggestions for tired (aka: all) parents.