Jaymz and I went on our first date the other night. We went to see a movie and then ate dinner at an amazing gluten-free restaurant he found for us to try out. We had a wonderful time together.
It wasn't our very first date, of course, which happened on my 21st birthday, when Jaymz surprised me in New York to celebrate with my family and me.
But the date we had this past weekend certainly felt like a special first date. It was our first date since becoming parents together. It was the first time we left Daniel with someone (my mother-in-law) other than each other, and for more than an hour or so. It was just the right time though; we were ready.
I read somewhere once that parents should—must—get out of the house on a date within the first six weeks of their child's life, or focusing on their new baby all the time could be detrimental to their marriage. (There were also rules about how they weren't allowed to talk about children or work while they were out.) I've also heard many anecdotal accounts of how life- and sanity-saving it was for couples to be able to be without their newborns for a few hours in the first few weeks.
I certainly understand how it's easy to neglect a marriage when there's a needy, new, precious little human being who has just come into your lives. But I don't believe there's a set time-frame in which a couple needs to "get away from" their child together. I think as parents who tend toward attachment/natural/instinctual parenting, we didn't want to be away from our son for very long until now. He's still very young, and mostly breastfed, and I was certainly feeling the need for him to nurse by the time we got home.
I know the right time for a second (or third) first date is different for each family, and I'm glad we didn't feel pressured to have our date together before we were ready. There seems to be quite a balance to it, between going too soon and being worried about your child the whole time and unable to focus on your partner and waiting too long and feeling burned out. I'm so glad we followed our gut feelings about when we were ready to do this, and how we wanted to do it.
It was kind of like when we decided to get pregnant—one day came when we just looked at each other and said we were ready to do this new thing. We were ready to trust that, even if Daniel had some trouble (or even a few tears) while we were gone, he would be alright. We know that it's important to take time for our marriage and for each other (even if it means being away from our child every once in a while) so that we can recharge and be better parents when we are all back together.
It was funny to have a date with Jaymz, but without Daniel. I realized how much I enjoy all of us being together all the time! I'm glad we didn't do this sooner, and I don't want to do it again this weekend. I also realized how much I was missing going out to eat with my husband without managing someone else's needs the whole time; we were both able to eat at the same time! We talked about things other than our son, but we talked about him, too. There were no rules, and I liked that very much.
Somehow, we chose the perfect moment, probably mostly by accident, and it worked out perfectly.
This post is part of my series on balance, inspired by the October Carnival of Natural Parenting. Without balance, we feel burned out, we lose perspective...we fall down. How do you find balance in your life? What does it mean to you to be in balance? Does it come easily to you or do you have to be more intentional about it?
I'd love to host your guest post for my series on balance. Contact me at anktangle (at) gmail (dot) com if you're interested in participating!