Okay folks, imagine with me a scenario.
In this scenario you’re a brand new mom. Your baby is 6 weeks old and your world has been turned upside down. Breastfeeding has been a nightmare, you haven’t slept for more than 2 hours at a time for 6 weeks straight, your baby has lost significant weight (landing you back in the hospital) and needs to be on oxygen for an undetermined amount of time and you have no idea who you are or what to talk about, apart from your baby.
Oh, and you’re still a wife and have a husband who vaguely remembers enjoying spending time with you before your hormones went haywire.
I know not all moms feel this way, but I personally couldn’t wait to get some time away from my baby. Breastfeeding was giving me so much stress, I couldn’t stand to hear my baby crying, and I wanted to be able to wear clothes and know they wouldn’t get spat on for at least 2 hours. Sound good to anyone else?
And I also wanted some quality time with my husband. Time to talk about us, about how we were doing as a couple but also as individuals, about our hopes and dreams as parents, etc. Maybe we could even smooch a few times? Or hold hands?
Well, we did it. We (I) mustered the courage to let someone else take care of our son for just a few hours. My friend Mandy has 4 kids and I trust her completely. We dropped him off and the 5 of them spent the next few hours ogling over him.
As soon as we got in the car I felt myself relax. Yes, some much needed time alone with the love of my life, dressed up and with no distractions! And then we reached the stop sign at the end of their street. What if he’s crying and they don’t like him? What if something happens with his oxygen tank? What if?
We finally made it to the restaurant where I tried my best to act excited. My body was on a date, but my mind was still completely with my baby. Pep talk: “Okay Charis, engage with your husband! Um, ask him a question…maybe about work? Ya, that’s a good idea. Okay, now what!? I’ve lived and breathed baby 24/7 for the past 6 weeks. There’s literally nothing else going on in my life.” So we sat there somewhat awkwardly for the duration of the meal, me feeling guilty for having no idea how to connect with my husband, and he probably had no idea I was struggling so much.
Eventually we made it through the meal and walked down the street to observe the fantastic Simpich Marionette Theater show. This was a welcome distraction and I did enjoy it, but when it was finished I was ready to be back with my baby.
I’m proud to say that 6 months and 5 dates later we are much better at dating. I still check my phone more than necessary when we’re away, but we are able to joke and talk about more than our baby. Would I say that first date wasn’t worth it? Absolutely not! It was difficult and awkward (at least for me), but it was a vital first step. Would I say our marriage is now stronger than ever? Probably not. I will be the first to admit that having a kid often puts pressure on a marriage (and dare I say it always changes it!?). But maybe that’s not all bad! Relationships need maintenance, but more than that they need scrutiny and sometimes very very hard work.
So, get out there on a date with your husband! Even when it’s awkward and may cost money you think you don’t have, do it. Because relationships can be maintained for a long time, but without hard work they will eventually deteriorate. They need to be invested in!