By Johora Warren
Dating with a toddler is difficult. Dating with TWO toddlers feels darn near impossible. Baby-sitting can be a costly option that just isn’t accessible to everyone. What does this leave us with? Sitting together on the couch in baggy sweats, watching T.V. while the kiddos run amok?
NO! Listen to me. It does NOT have to be this way. BACK AWAY FROM THE SWEATPANTS. #nosweatpantscouples
Don’t get me wrong- Netflix and Chill certainly has its merits. (Netflix is killin’ it with their new original rom-coms!) But, just because you’re a parent does not mean your dating life needs to become a thing of the past. It’s going to look a bit different- and that’s ok!
To begin, of course, you should absolutely try to plan at least one date night a month sans children.
Schedule these way in advance to account for finding reliable daycare whether that be through grandparents, aunties, or a babysitter through a reputable website. Make sure nothing gets in the way of these solo dates as they are without a doubt fewer and more far between than years past.
Next, there are plenty of ways to date WITH your children but not WITH WITH your children.
Let me explain.
Purposely schedule outings with your toddlers during nap times. While they sleep peacefully in your arms, laid back comfortably in their stroller or in a makeshift cot laying down on a chair or towel by the pool or at the beach, you and your partner can have some one-on-one time unpacking the latest Avengers movie you were able to schedule during your monthly date night.
Also, just so you know, my OBGYN totally gave the A-OKAY on bringing my newborn to the movies. She said the newborn to three month old stage is actually the best time to go because they mostly sleep all day! **
Now, without further ado, let’s discuss how to date “WITH WITH” your toddlers!
First, you need to change your perspective a bit. While toting toddlers along can be a drag sometimes, (#threenager) it can also be hilarious and fun! The trick is to find events the entire family can enjoy. For example, my son and my husband love Legos so we have taken a family outing to Legoland Florida on more than one occasion. My 3-year-old is able to run around and get on several rides while my 1 year old and I are able to go in the indoor playground or on the merry-go-round, etc. My husband enjoys walking around looking at all of the Lego structures and I can cater to my sweet tooth with delicious treats. We also do our research and find out if there are any “Baby Care Centers” at our theme park of choice and are able to have a quiet and clean place to change our children or to breastfeed/pump. When the babies are all tuckered out on the drive home, my husband and I are able to have uninterrupted time to reflect, chat and laugh about the experiences of the day. (The babies sleep better too during the night after these outings so we are able to also have uninterrupted Netflix and Chill time too. See? Balance.)
We also try and venture out into Tampa Bay on the weekends to take advantage of what the city has to offer. Nearly every month there is a festival going on at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. (Seafood, Margarita, TacoFest, oh my!) We stroll together, hand in hand, enjoying delectable food and a cold beverage while our children are able to safely enjoy the “spraygrounds” and running around the Great Lawn.
Finally, (and this is the most difficult part) don’t be afraid to venture out with your children because of the “mays” or “mights”.
You know- She MAY throw a tantrum, he MIGHT knock things off the shelf, etc. Our children are only children once. We are not doing them any favors by putting our lives on pause because of what could “potentially” happen. Babies cry and throw tantrums because of their inability to communicate in other ways. Also, our children are learning about the world around them which is why they may do things that are not socially acceptable. (i.e. run through the clothes racks at Marshall’s. Entertaining, but not appropriate). THAT IS OK! They will not learn the proper way in which to behave if we do not give them opportunities to test it out. We have taken our children to sporting events with us (keep them fed and let them yell along with you) and even the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Saint Louis! (While my husband enjoyed the complimentary brews, I took my babies to see the horses. They were none the wiser!) As your children get used to being out in public, their behavior will become more acceptable- or, you’ll develop thicker skin/coping mechanisms.
Overall, dating with toddlers is totally doable, it just takes some finessing! Just remember to find things the entire family can enjoy…you’ll have plenty of alone time when your kids are teenagers and literally want nothing to do with you. Embrace this season- potential tantrums and all.
**Disclaimer: You know your baby and if this would work or not! Always discuss your options with your doctor especially if your child’s immune system is compromised.