Life changes when you have a baby
As our son’s due date drew closer and closer, Joshua and I found ourselves frequently saying, “It’s not going to be the two of us much longer.”
Becoming a parent is daunting for countless reasons: lack of sleep, incessant crying, struggling to maintain a clean house and healthy cooking, and (yes) going from a couple to a family.
Having a child is a huge responsibility. All your expectations of relaxation, free time, and social life change. How you live your daily life changes drastically, and immediately.
Stay committed in spite of the challenges
But what should never change is your commitment to your marriage.
This is not always easy, because contrary to some beliefs, kids are not a glue that holds struggling marriages together. They can be either an opportunity for spouses to deepen their love for each other, or to completely grow apart. Babies require an incredible amount of attention until they (mercifully) fall asleep at night. Chances are, both spouses are exhausted by then and just want to get some rest themselves.
While I was pregnant, Joshua and I received a piece of advice from my sister that we have fully embraced and will be forever grateful that we have:
Go out on No-Baby dates!
Yes, everything changes when you become parents. But you are still a couple, and you’re still allowed to take time to be yourselves. So, once a month, Joshua and I hire a babysitter and go out on a two- to four-hour date. In the three months of our son’s life, we have been to a Broadway show, a fancy restaurant for steak and dessert, and a vineyard for wine tasting. We treasure these dates like we’ve never treasured dates before.
Don’t get me wrong, we still go out to dinner, or play tennis, or walk around Barnes & Noble and Bath & Body Works with Peter, our son. We still have homemade pizza and movie nights at home with him too. But these no-baby dates are special, completely out of the ordinary activities we would not get to do on any given day. After taking pictures and checking in with the babysitter, we put away our phones on no-baby dates. We are completely each other’s.
That’s really the significant change when you become parents: you are not completely each other’s. It’s hard to pay attention to each other when there’s a baby either crying in your arms or sitting around being adorable! Unless the baby is asleep, mommy and daddy want to be giving him their full attention.
But spouses aren’t co-parents sharing a bed. Spouses are a husband and wife who made a beautiful baby through their love. They deserve the time away from their responsibilities as parents to focus on each other and deepen that same love that gave them a child in the first place.
Though going away can be hard, it’s worth it
It’s hard for me, even when I am dying for a break, to kiss Peter goodbye and leave him with a trusted babysitter. But the baby isn’t going to die without us. We plan our dates during his eating gaps and normally along with his naptime. As much as I want to pour everything I’ve got into my son, no matter how exhausted I am, I also understand that it’s okay to take time away from him.
I am so grateful my sister advised us to make no-baby dates a regular part of our schedule. Our intimacy has only increased since we had our son, and we’re still falling in love with each other. After all, we are a husband and wife—not co-parents.