The First Night Away From Baby
The First Night Away From Baby
No one can ever really prepare you for how much your life will change once you become a parent. Sure, they can warn you (and they will!) But those warnings pale in comparison to the real thing – the love, fear, attachment and exhaustion you will feel once you have that little one in your arms.
And perhaps more importantly – the loss of self most parents wind up experiencing in those early months.
It’s completely normal to lose sight of the person you are or were before becoming a parent. (You think it won’t happen to you… haha!) Those little ones have a lot of needs, and keeping up with the naps, feedings and late night tears alone is enough to pull you from your other interests and desires for a while. That’s part of why they say so many couples struggle during the first few years of parenthood – because caring for that little person is so all-consuming, it can be difficult to focus on much else. Even your relationship.
The good news is, this stage doesn’t last forever. As your baby grows older and you settle into your role as mom and dad, you’ll find yourself rediscovering those pieces of you that you had previously believed to be lost. And you will even find a yearning to reclaim those pieces every once in a while – and maybe even to get a night off from the baby to fully embrace and remember who you were before you had a little one to care for.
When that point comes is different for everyone. Some parents are ready for it just a few weeks in, while others may not be ready for the first night away until their little one is several years old. I could make the argument for why it is important to make these nights a priority, if only because they allow you the time and space to make your relationship a priority. And that time alone as a couple is important to maintaining a healthy pairing. But the truth is, if you aren’t yet ready to be away from your baby – it will be a fairly miserable experience anyway. So giving yourself the time to get to a point of being at least semi-comfortable first is fair for everyone.
Just remember, no matter how ready you may be to have that time away from your little one – the first outing away from baby is hard for everyone. After all, you’ve been pretty attached to this little person from day one; he or she has become perhaps the most significant part of your life, and being that caregiver has been your primary mission. Which means it is always hard to hand the reigns over to someone else for the first time – to get away without baby, trusting another person to handle the feedings and tears and bedtimes just as you would.
So the number one thing to do is to find someone you truly do trust. Grandparents can be great choices – or anyone else who already loves your baby almost as much as you do.
Then, you have to decide what you want to do with your night away. A date night with your spouse, a romantic adventure just slightly out of town, or a chance to pursue one of your passions that has been on the back burner for the last few months (or years). The sky really is the limit – it’s all about choosing to do something with your time that you have been missing out on since becoming a parent.
Once away, the instinct may be to call and check in on your little one every 15 minutes, but try to avoid that temptation. For an entire night away – give yourself two check-ins. One around bedtime, and one the next morning. Then, trust that your chosen caregiver has your number and will call if anything crucial comes up.
From there, just try to enjoy yourself (mom). Know that this first adventure away from baby may feel unnatural and less exciting than it would have pre-baby, but it gets easier. And these times away from your little one can be so important when it comes to allowing you to refresh and recharge.
So don’t be afraid to take those nights away. And to have a little bit of fun when you do!