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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.