Dear New Moms,
We’ve been in your shoes or, more likely, your one barefoot/one ratty slipper-covered foot (finding both ratty slippers was too much work). We know you crave a break – some time alone in the shower would be nice. You might even be wondering, is there still a difference between day and night?
That sweet little baby sometimes seems like the worst roommate ever. Remember the roommate you had in college that was up all night needing you to hold her hair back? Sometimes you might feel like your little bundle of joy is that roommate. Only this time, it wreaks of milk instead of cheap beer.
Despite all of that, you love your little nugget more than life itself and when it comes to leaving baby with a sitter for the first time, it can seem impossible. You want to take a shower, but you don’t want to leave them, even for a moment.
The truth is that you have to. To be the best (and happiest) parent you can possibly be, you need to take the time to be You. It seems counterintuitive that spending time away from your child is best for your child, but it is. It makes you more rested and happier, which means that you’ll be more present and happy with your child, which means your child will be happier and feel more secure. We know it’s hard, so we have some advice to make it a little easier.
- Start at your own pace. You don’t have to take a week’s vacation to the other side of the world your first time out. Baby steps are fine. It could mean you just get a mother’s helper to watch the baby while you take a nap upstairs. Or, you could rip the band-aid off and head out for a night on the town. You know You. The only requirement is that you do SOMETHING baby-free. The length of time and location is up to you.
- Hash out who will watch the world’s most precious baby – family, friends or a recommended babysitter. Rule of thumb: If you disagree with your mother-in-law on china patterns, they’re not the best choice for your first sitter. One reason we love babysitters is that you are the boss of them! You get to tell them when baby needs to eat and sleep and how many layers of clothes baby should be wearing. Family and friends mean well, but take our word for it, about 99% of the time they probably won’t listen to your advice on what baby needs. You don’t want to spend that all-important first night out worried that cousin Francie has decided your 8-week-old really can sleep on his/her back.
- Be prepared. Have a list of your emergency contacts for the sitter. Write down instructions for food, bedtime, diapering, etc. Schedule your sitter to come over a half hour prior to when you want to go out. That way you can go through the instructions with them (but you really should write them down because would you remember all of that?)
- Bring the romance (but don’t worry if you’re not feelin’ it). If you’re going out with your hubby, you need to try to be a little romantic. We know it can be hard since you’re sleep-deprived and feel as beautiful as a warthog in a swimsuit. But, have you ever heard the phrase, “fake it ’till you make it”? Who knows? By the end of the night, you might believe him when he tells you that you are the most beautiful woman in the world.
- When you’re out, try to talk about things other than the baby or their bodily functions. At a loss ofr words? Check out our Conversation Starter Gallery for some unique topics to save you from poop-talk.
- Don’t worry when your sitter sends you a photo and it looks like your baby is passed out from too much milk. We are pretty certain that whoever is watching him/her won’t tag babies face with a Sharpie like your college friends did to your roommate.
- Soak up every moment you can. All too quickly your time away will end and you will be back home chillin’ with your all-night party animal.
If you need some inspiration for your kid-free time, check out our many me-time inspiration posts.