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"Us" time for parents

As parents will know, having a baby is a truly magical thing, but sometimes the change can put a strain on relationships.

As parents will know, having a baby is a truly magical thing, but sometimes the change can put a strain on relationships.

The lack of sleep may cause irritability, quality one-on-one moments that you spent pre-parenthood becomes scarcer, losing any semblance of carefree freedom can cause anxiety etc. But despite this we still need to find time to ensure that our relationship with our partner is nurtured and nourished. Spending quality time with your partner away from the baby is a great way to do this.

But "leave my baby!", how on earth am I supposed to do that? What if they get upset that we’re not around? What if something goes wrong?

Look, we’re not talking about you both swanning off to Greece for a couple of weeks without your baby. We’re talking about spending a couple of hours out of your baby fortress, just you and your loved one. Even a couple of hours can seem like a herculean task at first, but handily we’ve a few tips to help you manage your first time away from your little one.

1. Babysitter

The first thing to consider is that you need someone to look after your baby while you’re away. If you’re lucky enough to have trusted, willing and capable grandparents to hand, they’ll most likely be your first point of call.  After all, they did a decent enough job of raising yourself or your partner so they must know what they’re doing, right?  If this isn’t an option, you might want to try a trusted friend or reputable babysitter. At first, it’ll seem weird leaving them alone with someone else, but it’ll probably be less scary than you imagine. Read more about how your family can help care for your baby.

2. Schedule

It’s a good idea to write down and share a detailed routine of when your baby is likely to sleep, wake up, feed, need a nappy change etc. Include all of the relevant details such as where everything is kept, quantities of food etc. Not only will this be a huge help to whoever’s babysitting, but it’ll do wonders for your peace of mind.

3. Timing

If you can time a date night for when your baby is sleeping it’d be ideal. It’ll mean that you can spend some quality, uninterrupted time together and then return to a sleeping baby and peaceful household.

4. Stay close

You don’t want to stray far from the nest until you’re confident that all is in hand. For the first couple of date nights at least, why not just go to a local restaurant or pub? If your destination is within walking distance, all the better.

5. Communicate

This is the 21st century and thanks to modern technology we can pretty much be in a room even if miles away! If you’re worried about how your baby is coping without you, just send a quick message asking if all is good. When the reply comes back saying that it is, you’ll feel a whole lot better.

6. Relax

Just try and relax. Your baby is going to be fine and escaping for a couple of hours is a liberating experience. Enjoy your time together. Talk, laugh, kiss, cuddle and love each other.

What about leaving them overnight?

First things first, there’s no set age for leaving your baby overnight. You’ll need to use your expert judgement, as yourself and your partner know your baby better than anyone and all babies develop at different speeds. But if you think your little one can take a night apart from the pair of you, all of the above tips still apply. Just ensure that…   

  • …you’re leaving with someone you completely trust to take care of them.
  • Do a couple of dry runs beforehand, escaping for a couple of hours a time.
  • Don’t sneak off, instead tell them that their special time with grandma/grandpa/Uncle Bob/Auntie Anne (delete as appropriate) is a treat for being so good and…
  • GO! They’ll be fine and you and your loved one deserve some quality time together.

Gareth Hutchins

Father of 2

Living in Budapest with his wife and two children, Gareth is a freelance writer, creative strategist, film maker and author of the ‘The Budanest’, a book about his experience of fatherhood. He gives us insight into parenthood from a partner's perspective: all views and opinions given are his own, taken from his personal experiences.

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