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A Romantic Evening Pre-Baby vs. Post-Baby

date night

My husband and I are not big on romance. For us, quality time means cooking a nice meal, pouring some wine and seeing what's in the Netflix queue. Occasionally (very occasionally), we'll go out to dinner or do a wine tasting or go down the shore for a day. So you'd think the addition of an infant wouldn't change anything.

Well you—or rather I—thought wrong.

And last week, I had a bit of a meltdown about it.

RELATED: Our Daughter Made Our Marriage Stronger

It was a holiday, so my husband was home from his day job. Still, instead of spending time with me or Em, he bounced back and forth between doing freelance work on his laptop and watching TV in the back room. After hours of this (how come I never have time to binge watch those last two seasons of "Buffy"?), I lost it. I told my husband that, at some point, quality time with his family had to come first.

Sure, I loved that we could pass Em back and forth on the days he was home so we could each get other tasks done. But it was always my husband + Em, or me + Em. Where in that equation was there ever room for me + my husband?

We vowed to do better. So in that vein, I present to you the "dates" we used to have, followed by a version we might be able to pull off now.

1. You take a trip to the local ice cream shop, followed by a lovely stroll in the park.

Pre-Baby: We did this a lot when I was pregnant, and we typically daydreamed about how we would someday take Em out on the paddle boats or have picnic parties for her birthday. I would stuff my face with vanilla soft serve ice cream topped in marshmallow sauce and rainbow sprinkles as we walked around the lake or sat together on a bench in the shade.

GIF via Tumblr

Post-Baby: It's hard to stuff your face with ice cream when you're trying to steer a stroller around all the geese poop on the path and there's a giant diaper bag on your back and oh my god, am I developing pit stains!? Plus you end up spending all your time at the playground. Still, at least you're getting fresh air.

GIF via World's Funniest Fails

2. It's movie night.

Pre-baby: Sometimes, we went to the theater. More often, we stayed in, enjoying the couch time together. Either way, movie night was always a nice change of pace from the slew of crime procedurals on the DVR.

GIF via Tumblr

Post-baby: The movie theater is no longer an option. As for at-home viewing, it's best to wait until after you put the baby to bed. Which can make for a long wait, after which you're too exhausted to watch a full-length feature film anyway.

GIF via Tumblr

3. You have a double (or triple, or quadruple) date, also known as couples night.

Pre-baby: Oh the excitement that comes from hanging out with other human beings that are not your spouse. After marriage, couple friends are the new platonic life partners and your time together is precious. Even when you're just playing Scattergories.

GIF via Tumblr

Post-baby: You realize that life is easier if your couple friends are also parents. That way, double dates can also be play dates: two birds with one stone! (Even if your kids don't want anything to do with each other.)

GIF via Reaction Gifs

4. Your friends are having a party.

Pre-baby: I'm not much of a party animal but every once in awhile, pre-baby, it would be nice to hit up a backyard barbecue or evening gathering hosted by mutual friends, get tipsy, and feel the warmth of our love wash over each other.

GIF via Tumblr

Post-baby: Baby on board! Now mom wanders around the party with her baby in a carrier, maintaining a constant bouncing motion so that baby remains all smiles. At several points, mom feeds the baby while she is still in the carrier, even though both she and the baby are sweating bullets because of the constant contact. Eventually, she takes the baby out of the carrier and holds her against one hip. The arm holding the baby eventually goes numb. It is like carrying around a heated bowling ball for three hours straight. Meanwhile, the husband is in the basement, boozing it up, completely carefree with all the other husbands. Later, mom and dad fight about having to leave the party because the baby is tired.

GIF via GIFBAY

5. You decide to go out to a fancy dinner.

Pre-baby: Though for the most part Chinese takeout on the family room couch feels more indulgent, sometimes we go out to a nice restaurant just to have an excuse to dress nice and order lobster and a fine wine.

GIF via Tumblr

Post-baby: Well, last week we went out to Bahama Breeze and shoved the car seat into the far end of the booth and fed Em her Gerber vegetables as we sipped piña coladas.

GIF via Tumblr

6. You decide to attempt sex.

Pre-baby: Sometimes it actually happens.

GIF via Tumblr

Post-baby: Sometimes (but a lot less often) it actually happens. And its infrequency makes you want to throw confetti into the air every time it actually happens.

GIF via Reddit

7. You decide to do something different. Like go out to see some live jazz. Or go hang gliding. Or something else worth posting about on Facebook.

Pre-baby: Sure, we're homebodies. But it's crucial to mix it up a bit sometimes or risk sliding into a relationship slump.

GIF via GIFBAY

Post-baby: Outings to the supermarket or to Home Depot are now occasions that elicit excitement and anticipation.

GIF via The Comeback

8. Why wouldn't you go wine tasting?

Pre-baby: Once upon a time, this was A Thing We Did Together. We even hit up every vineyard in New Jersey one year, and also made our own wine twice.

GIF via Tumblr

Post-baby: So we occasionally do a wine tasting at our local wine bar with the baby in tow. Who cares? It's not as if the baby's drinking too, right? Still, I can't help feeling like a trashy alcoholic who's taken my baby to a dive bar, despite the fact that I'm only having several sips of wine accompanied by some tiny squares of cheese.

GIF via GIFBAY

9. It's a gorgeous day. Perfect for a day at the beach!

Pre-baby: I love the beach, if only so I can stick my feet in the water for a little while and then walk the length of the boardwalk, buying up all the cotton candy I can hold.

GIF via Tumblr

Post-baby: We haven't been with the baby yet, but I imagine it will involve constant vigilance so that our child does not drown, eat sand or pick up seagull poop.

GIF via Reddit

10. It's been awhile since you've taken a real vacation.

Pre-baby: I actually hate traveling. I much prefer the comfort of my own home. My own couch. My own pillow-top mattress. Still, we went on a two-week trip to Europe a month before I got pregnant, and we both agreed it might be nice to go somewhere tropical eventually where I could do some beach yoga and he could drink some beach drinks.

GIF via Tumblr

Post-baby: My in-laws have been pushing for us to join them on their annual trip to Disney since before we were married. I fear that, with a child, I will no longer be able to avoid it.

GIF via Tumblr

RELATED: Date Night After Kids (in GIFs)

Then again, we could always hire a babysitter.

GIF via Tumblr

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