A Realistic Date Night at Home – Life After Babies.

While life starts to settle into a pattern of diaper changing, rocking, and shushing a baby to sleep, it seems to also fall into a pattern of sweatpants, baby conversations, and separate night time rituals for parents.  Most couples turn to technology and tune each other out at this point of the day. The problem?   You are separately making connections and working on relationships through devices that are not the relationship you should be focused on: YOURS. We are just as guilty as you are.  Our home is full of iphones, ipads, smart tv’s, apple tv’s, laptops, etc. These “things” do not help a marriage stay connected. But they are part of life, and you can’t just ignore that fact. Instead of listing 100 cheesy, absurd date night ideas that you may pin to pinterest but never actually implement, I decided to be REAL.  I’m going to describe our ideas of dating at home. Our Rule: You must reconnect through words, touch, and emotions. Bedtime is exhausting for our house.  My husband tries, and when I ask, he will help.  However, I regret it within 45 minutes because of the silence that comes from upstairs.  He falls asleep  EVERY.SINGLE.TIME he helps with kids’ bedtime.  I won’t lie, there are nights when I lavish in this moment.  8:30pm and I have a silent home and control of the remote – with NO ONE asking anything of me.  I may consider this the best kind of date night.  I break out my hidden freezer chocolate, pour wine, and just relax.   But more than one night a week, and it’s boring.  I start to miss my husband. Once I get the kids to bed (all three -almost four- of them), I come down stairs to a cleaned kitchen, a poured glass of wine and a handsome husband.  I should appreciate this more often.  Writing it down has made me realize that I take this nightly moment for granted. The typical conversation of “How was your day?” begins, but this is when we actually TALK about things.  We leave our phones in the kitchen and either have the tv on or music in the background, but we are focused on the conversation.  We can talk about daily crap, vent about work and kids, rehash anything that needs worked on, revisit the (UGH) budget, or just talk about the weather.  I will say that this can become stale over time, so paying attention and really wanting to know about one another needs to stay at the forefront of the mind. Step One of Dating at Home: Talk:  Learn what’s happening in the other’s friendships, with coworkers, at work, or hobbies. 
  • Make a running list throughout your days of things you want to tell your partner.  It’s so easy to let the little moments go without sharing them. 
If Social Media is a huge part of your life:  TALK ABOUT IT.  Pull up articles, posts, and pictures and share them with one another.  Anything you are working towards together fits in nicely at this point.  We like to have a big puzzle on the dining room table going.  Sometimes we start our evening conversation while working on it together.  We’ll go months without opening a puzzle, but it seems to be a great connection activity for us!  When we are accomplishing a specific goal together, there seems to be quite a bit of flirting that takes place.  Playing footsies under the table, little comments, whatever.  Even a basic game of Dominoes or Chinese Checkers brings out dirty comments.  Typically, sex somehow occurs at this stage for us (THIS is probably why we keep having children). Your talking can continue or not at this point.  Maybe a dessert is introduced to the moment, maybe a second glass of wine.  With us, it’s typically both.  Most nights of the week, Netflix takes charge here.  We love watching shows together.  There are a few days, though that we are just tired and lay in bed and read for a bit.  But the key here is TOUCH.  No matter where the next hour is spent, we are physically touching.  I love having my back scratched on, and it keeps us physically connected.  I lay on him while the TV is on or while we read in bed.  It’s not super flirtatious and doesn’t lead anywhere (but to me falling asleep), but it is wonderful. Step Two of Dating at Home: Flirt: Make your partner blush.  You have your own way of flirting, just as every couple does.  Don’t forget just how good it feels to be flirted with.  Initiate the flirting.  It will probably lead to Step Five: Sex, but it doesn’t have to!  Let the flirting roll throughout the evening. 
  • Flirtatious Words: Whether silly and cheesy or direct and promising, words can make a person excited.
  • Flirtatious Touching: Playing footsie, small massages, brushing hands purposefully, all are calculated flirting techniques.  All of which send the message “I am attracted to YOU.”
Step Three of Dating at Home: Have a Common Interest and Share a Common Goal
  • Watch the same show
  • Play board games
  • Build a puzzle
  • Read books
  • Share Time:  Even if one of you is obsessed with ESPN and the other likes to knit, that’s okay.  Do them in the same room while your feet touch.  You can talk when needed and are still connecting, just make sure the other steps are included in your date night!
I am a woman. I have all the crazy emotions that all women have.  My husband knows that for me to feel 100% in the moment, I need to get my emotions out for the day.  I may need to cry over something absurd; he may need to vent about a tense work issue; I may need to argue for the sake of arguing.  We lay all the crazy cards on the table and feel closer afterward.  I will say that my favorite emotion, happiness, is expressed the most often.  I LOVE when he makes me laugh. Step Four of Dating at Home: Laugh. Cry. Share an Emotion. Making one another laugh will NEVER get old.  Making a point to connect on an emotional level is a huge relationship strengthening tool.  This can be harder than you think.  If you are not feeling the same emotion (sadness, for example) at this moment, it’s easy to dismiss the other person’s emotional needs.  It takes effort to clear the mind of trying to fix something and just being present to listen and support.    Our date nights have no apparent order.  We typically try to get sex in at the beginning – for a few reasons.
  • We are a bit more awake
  • Kids are still in their own room
  • Feeling friskier
  • Both parties are more likely in the mood as this point
  Step Five of Dating at Home: Sex: Every couple sees sex differently.  Some crave it more, others less.  But no matter what, it is an important part of a relationship.  It does not need to happen every night – or every date night.  But making a point to stay sexually connected is important! If you would rather map out your date nights at home with a jar full of cheesy ideas that you pick from each week, go for it!  A part of me wishes we could do that – but a bigger part of me just loves connecting to my husband in the best ways possible.  I’ll leave you with this:  Don’t force the issue.  Reconnection can happen in so many ways.  These steps can be twisted to fit your lifestyle, but know that each one is significant and needs to be touched on. I wish you a wonderful date night at home – and a delightful orgasm to accompany it! Record your baby's heartbeat in an adorable stuffed animal!
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