Now you're a mum, what does Valentine's Day mean to you? I'm guessing that it's not the first thing looming in your mind, with February 14 drawing near.
Do you still exchange gifts with your partner? Do you make it a point of having a child-free date night? Or, are you just struggling for an hour of peace with your other half, after the kids go to bed and before you fall asleep?
There is no right or wrong answer and I'm certainly not here to judge. The idea of dropping for an expensive Valentine's dinner is unlikely to be practical for many parents. The idea of finding some 'couples time' away from the kids, however, is almost a necessity.
You can replicate the idea of Valentines any day of the year and on any budget. So, in the spirit of the season of love, Sydney Mums Group has pooled some suggestions for spending quality time with your partner.
But who will look after the kids?
Not everyone is lucky enough to have nearby family or friends to babysit. If you are ever to have a sanity break with your partner though, you might need to find a reliable babysitting service. If you are looking for sitters with experience and credentials but don't have the contacts already, it might be worth trying an agency-type service with carers across Sydney. Little Lovelies is just one such organisation I came across through a web search and it covers Sydney City, Eastern Suburbs, Inner West, North Shore and Northern Beaches.
Funds are not always as liquid once babies come into your life but becoming a parent doesn't mean you lose the taste for the finer things. Why not visit your local supermarket's deli counter? You can pick up all the ingredients you'll need for a mezze plate. Team this with some crusty bread and a bottle of sparkling and you've got yourself a gourmet picnic. Or, if this defeats the purpose of a no-hassles outing, what could be better than buying fish and chips and sitting by the beach?
Have you seen any movies lately that aren't made by Disney Pixar, DreamWorks or Illumination Entertainment? I haven't and nothing would be more blissful than to watch a new release film made for adults, with my husband. I don't really want to go to my local shopping centre cinema, though. Is there somewhere a bit more special we could go, like an independent cinema with a bar? A movie and a glass of vino sounds very civilised.
Nothing sparks intimacy more than holding hands. Usually you've got a dog leash in one hand and a toddler hanging off the other, so make the effort to go on a child/dog-free stroll with your loved one. You'll soon remember how nice it is to hold their hand. Without the kids to distract you and with beautiful scenery to inspire you, it might seem the first chance you've had in ages to talk with your partner. Maybe you'll remember what connected you in the first place.
This idea is the closest I'll come to recommending a traditional Valentines style-date but avoid the stresses of competitive booking and crowds on 14 February. Choose a night that suits you and your child care arrangements. Every so often you need to let your hair down with your partner and if you can try not to talk about the kids, this might be the closest you'll come to reliving your pre-baby days.
5 Awesome suggestions for drinks followed by dinner:
However you end up celebrating this Valentine's Day, or on your designated date night, I hope it gives you a chance to relax with your partner. I wouldn't return to those days of dating and competitive Valentine's arrangements but I would gladly make the effort to re-capture that feeling of romance... that's what lead to the kids in the first place.