Guest blog by Judy O’Connor, of Like Neighbors
Bringing home a new little human is an incredible bonding experience for you and your partner, but caring for your baby can also deplete your energy, time and budget for romantic dinners for two. It’s critical to find time to nurture your relationship and maintain open lines of communication throughout the busy days (and nights!) of raising children. Dine-in date nights are the perfect solution, so here are a few guidelines to ensure they’re successful and sustainable:
Make it meaningful
Begin each date night by thanking each other for something said or done during the week that was especially appreciated. Perhaps your sweetheart cleaned the kitchen when it was your turn, said you looked beautiful in a spit-up stained hoodie, or made a late-night run to the 24-hour pharmacy. A little appreciation goes a long way!
Make it easy
While it’s nice to sit down together to a home cooked meal, it’s also nice to avoid grocery store lines and a sink full of dishes. If you have family and friends eager to help with meals when Baby arrives, check out Like Neighbors. It’s similar to a neighborhood meal train, but no one has to cook or drop off food. Your friends and relatives nationwide can go online to see when you need a dinner, and then order and schedule it for delivery to your door. (This is also a great service for moms on bedrest!)
Make it mandatory
Pull up your calendar and set a recurring “meeting” for you and your significant other. Flexibility will be key before Baby understands her schedule (let alone yours), but blowing off date night completely isn’t an option unless someone is sick or out of town. My husband and I had a few 10pm dinners that had been scheduled for 7pm, thanks to babies who completely lacked respect for our well-laid plans. While the evening may not always go exactly as expected, show you value one another by honoring your commitment to spending quality time together.
Most importantly… Make it fun
This isn’t the time to tell your significant other that she never heats the bottle to the right temperature. Date night should be a weekly event that you both anticipate and enjoy! Here are twenty fun ideas for date nights at home… and here are fifteen more. So, no excuses! Grab the baby monitor, light some candles, and begin a tradition that can last from the days of diapers through the years of curfews and first dates. Your child will change tremendously in the years ahead, but the bond you have with the love of your life can remain healthy and strong.
The author and her husband having a Hawaii themed date night when their 3 month old crashed the party. Flexibility is key!
Founder & CEO, Like Neighbors
After more than two decades of developing and implementing marketing strategies for companies of all sizes across varied industries, Judy decided to apply her passion and experience to a business of her own. After realizing how difficult it was to give or receive support – such as meals or transportation – long distance, she founded Like Neighbors to eliminate the miles that separate loved ones during life’s most challenging times.
A southern California native, Judy began her career in television production, managing and producing television promos for clients including Warner Bros, Twentieth Television, ABC, and CBS. She also dedicated a decade of her career to the marketing and business development of NTVI, helping to grow the net worth of this small 8(a) business from $20,000 to $7 million, with $2 million of distributions to the company’s native American shareholders. Most recently, she spearheaded the fast-tracked branding and marketing of internet start-up IronDirect from concept to launch in six months.
Judy is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California, Riverside, with a B.A. degree in business administration. She resides in Maryland with her husband and two sons.