Your baby is here! What an incredible feeling to grow a family! While that feeling remains, some new feelings may begin to settle in.
“Ugh, healing from birth sucks.”
“What is it like to leave the house? Can’t remember.”
“We expected sleep deprivation, but not like this…”
The fourth trimester is a trip for lots of reasons, especially because both parents have ever-changing needs!
I’m here to not only express my solidarity, but to offer ideas for couples who want to make sure their relationship doesn’t get lost in the whirlwind of new responsibilities.
Turn on that sound machine and set out the baby monitor. Tonight is about the OG’s.
Get Dinner Delivered
When neither of us have time to make food (or just don’t want to), my husband and I like to order the occasional doorstep dinner. It’s much easier to get a fussy baby to bed when you don’t feel rushed for time. Just make sure to tell your delivery driver not to ring the doorbell!
Dim the lights, cozy up, and talk about your day while you enjoy dinner together. Sometimes food tastes better when you don't have to make it yourself, am I right?
Go ahead. Dance in that clean kitchen.
Game Night for Two
We are currently at a point where after we put our baby down for the night, we stay up until she at least makes it past the 30 minute mark. That way if she needs to be resettled we’re not already half asleep and grumpy.
Understandably, we started to look for ways to pass the time without falling asleep on the couch.
Which still happens.
But a while ago my hubby convinced me to download a silly game called Stumble Guys. You can log on together and race little characters through a bunch of obstacles Wipeout style.
We didn’t used to be iPhone game people before he found it, but I guess we are now.
It doesn’t really matter what kind of games you like to play. I find that a light-hearted challenge and teamwork can ease any tension brought on by a busy day. (We’ve induced a laugh-attack or two.) It’s also an opportunity to practice problem solving and sharpen those communication skills.
Your baby might be too little to appreciate a good blanket fort, but that doesn’t mean you can’t.
We’ve done it all. Mattress moved to the living room, strategically placed cushions and chairs, blankets tied to my indoor plant ceiling hooks, etc.
The cleanup is worth the fun of tuning in to your inner child and building a majestic fort with your significant other. But you’re also a responsible adult, so you can bring snacks into the fort as well. Need I go on?
It may be a little difficult to go out and wander through stores together nowadays. What’s the home-body equivalent? Online shopping!
The adorable baby in the other room needs new sweaters, after all.
Make a fun night of sharing with each other some new things you’ve had your eye on. Maybe even poke around on Zillow. Discuss your own changing clothing styles and joke about the ridiculous high fashion ads you get on Instagram.
Buy each other something special, or don’t buy anything at all!
I remember those first few weeks being so demanding. I swear after a while I could feel my brain literally twitching in anticipation for the next thing my baby needed. My attention span got very short while somehow, at the same time, I was planning ahead hours in advance.
Luckily I had my mom. She was able to help my baby girl fall asleep a few times with me around, so it made me feel a little better when my husband and I finally got to plan a walk together like we always used to.
It’s a simple thing, but it was not easy at first!
He could tell how distracted I was and kept reassuring me. The act of walking and breathing fresh air did so much good for me. I could relax my mind (slightly) and observe the pace of the world outdoors. I remember that walk as the first little step in regaining my sense of self.
Hold hands, visit a food truck, take pictures together. Even if it’s cold, go walk!
Make Homemade Pizza
Preheat the oven, break out the premade pizza dough, and gather your favorite toppings. It’s pizza night.
It might seem like extra effort, but any effort towards a delicious personalized pizza is energy well spent.
We’ve discovered that goat cheese, basil, and raspberry vinegar make for a fancy recipe. If you and your partner can’t decide on one flavor, have fun experimenting and combine them! My husband and I have created our own custom Hawaiian BBQ pizza that we just can’t get enough of.
This is another fun and romantic activity that you don’t even have to leave the couch for. And it’s not Netflix!
Set up shared playlists wherever you get your music from. Add songs that describe your love! Contribute to the same playlist, or make separate ones to trade once your collections are complete.
After that, dance or cuddle. The decision is yours.
Plan a Trip
I’m sure I’m not alone in always wanting something exciting to look forward to! Especially as a new mom when sometimes I can’t always see past my own nose. It could be getting tickets to a local concert in a few months, or checking flight options for a bigger trip up to a year in the future.
Plan a planning sesh with your partner!
Brainstorm ways to save up and consider all the places you both have been wanting to visit together. Maybe you already have a goal set. Why not solidify your plans?
How crazy to think about how much your baby will grow in that time, too. Travel likely feels impossible right now with a newborn.
We don’t know yet if the trips we’re considering will include our baby, but we’ve been making efforts to go on longer car rides as well as practicing leaving her with family members. Things have already gotten easier and it really strengthens my confidence.
This one seems a bit predictable, but think about it. Who needs a spa night more than new parents? And how often do you actually have spa nights together?
Run that hot bath. Put masks on those tired faces. Light those candles you got as gifts but haven’t used yet. Show your husband how to use cuticle oil. Trade massages. The options are endless! Just have fun taking care of each other.
Dates might look different now (or maybe they’ve always looked this way) but so long as you’re able to draw away from the routines and stress and be intentional with your attention to your partner, anything you do together will be a special, recharging experience.