Sitting on the outside patio of the packed restaurant, in the far corner, under the heater while watching a line form in front of the door of the establishment, I bounced a wiggling baby on my knee and shoveled food in my mouth. In between bites, I fed mashed potatoes to a hungry, savage, baby, and smiled at my Valentine across the table, who reached over to cut bite sized pieces of my chicken. Pureed spinach stuck to my shirt, and upon occasion, I got a lovely breeze in the chest area while a tiny person sized blanket flapped frantically up and down to reveal a live, Greco-Roman-sculpture-esc rendition of “woman nursing child.” I never even thought I’d get to participate in such high society, educational, living for the general public, but motherhood comes with all sorts of surprises. On my left, there sat another couple with a small baby slapping the table, and directly in front of me, there paced a lovely pregnant lady, dressed in her finest. Looking behind me, away from the corner, I saw young high school aged couples, and couples dressed in the city’s finest, and even an older couple who walked through the gate while dropping the car off with the valet. Our corner definitely seemed like “fertility corner.” I shared a laugh at that thought with my Valentine, and we smiled, peacefully.
Today, I realized just how important it is to spend time with your husband after “baby in a baby carriage.” It has been so easy to look at myself in the mirror, think, “why bother” and skip the dates in the name of “motherhood.” I’m sure the other couple in our corner would agree. But, what I have come to realize, is that if the couple doesn’t make time for their marriage, nobody else is going to do that task. If I don’t get up off the floor and out of my pajamas and into something presentable, I won’t go out. If I don’t go out, Daniel probably won’t suggest it either, out of respect for the job. If we don’t go out, months fly by, and the baby is a toddler, and the toddler has more needs that prevent date night.
I suppose what I’m feeling about it, is that date night (no matter where or what it is) does not happen for us unless we MAKE IT HAPPEN. It’s just too easy to not date after baby. It’s too hard to date after baby. As much as we love our little one, we have got to set aside time for each other and to connect, even if it means bringing the baby along! Nobody is going to inject the romance into our relationship. Nobody is going to magically provide the time. Nobody is going to make it happen, but us.
Date night is a battle. But a battle WORTH fighting.
After our Valentines date, we came away refreshed. Even in light of the expose-show, the arching eight month old, and the lack of “staring into each other’s eyes.” We just needed to be together. Sit together. Eat together. And Occasionally, share a joke together. The weeks fly by no matter what we do, and every week can be exhausting. I have to make time to build my husband up, and likewise, he makes time for me to crawl out of my den of motherhood and participate in just regular old adulthood.
Date night fills our cups, and gives us the energy and spirit to face even the biggest of blowouts, or the loudest of work-related criticisms. It’s important, and it’s a fight that every person in the midst of parenthood SHOULD fight. Here’s to one round won, and many more rounds fought!
It seemed appropriate to share these thoughts on Valentines Day and maybe give some encouragement to other Mama’s and Daddy’s out there battling date night.