Do you have a newborn, or even a toddler or older children, and you have no babysitter and no idea how to celebrate Valentine's Day at home with kids underfoot? Plus, it just goes without saying that you're so exhausted that a date night seems out of reach. Fact: coming up with date night ideas can be overwhelming for new parents (and veteran parents alike), but that doesn't mean you shouldn't set aside some one-on-one time with your partner. Lucky for you, we're here to help with six new parent stay-at-home date night ideas that are perfect for Valentine's Day, but feel free to use them year-round too!
Photo: Pink Berry Vegan Pudding
Homemade Vegan Valentine’s Day Dinner Date
A homemade romantic meal is easy to manage if you keep it simple. Bonus: meals at home are eco-friendly because you’re not driving around, you can go organic and GMO-free plus you save money for your newborn’s college fund! Your partner or you can handle baby duty while the other cooks. Once the meal is ready, pack your little one into bed, sit down, eat, talk (NOT about the baby) and relax. Make your meal super special with some beautiful heart-shaped food and Valentine’s Day inspired vegan and vegetarian meal ideas. Oh, and because we know babies may not sleep through dinner, we’ve included some Valentine’s Day breakfast ideas too.
- Pink Heart Salad: Strawberries + Avocado
- Baby Spinach Salad With Raspberry Vinaigrette
- Vegan Avocado Toast
- Sweet Heart-shaped Artichoke Heart Ravioli
- Strawberry Shortcake Pancakes
- Heart-shaped Vegan Pizza
- Last Minute (and easy) Vegan Valentine’s Day Dinner Plan
- See more Valentine’s Day meal ideas!
No time to cook an actual entire meal? At the very least, whip up a sweet vegan Valentine’s Day treat for your partner, such as…
- Raw Vegan Pink Berry Pudding
- Red Velvet Vegan Cupcakes
- Chocolate Dipped Mint Leaves
- Raw Pink Heart Cookie Sandwiches
Photo by Loving Hut – Meal Examples
Insanely Easy Dinner & Movie
As noted above, cooking a homemade meal is awesome, but if that’s too much to manage, order in! While homemade meals are less expensive and often tastier, the time you save with take out is well worth the price for most new parents. Head out, pick up a Red Box or get a Netflix movie ready, then pick up some food to enjoy while you watch. Many places cater to eco-friendly, vegetarian and vegan tastes nowadays. Check out the take out menus from the following places:
- Loving Hut is fabulous, quick, inexpensive and 100% vegan. Plus they’re popping up all over the country!
- Whole Foods offers tons of awesome, easy meals in their deli area. No Whole Foods? Visit your nearest co-op or natural food grocer.
- A local Chinese place – ALL will have veggie specials.
- Even a regular grocery store with a deli will have salads, fresh bread and often vegetarian sushi.
- Not sure where to order fresh, vegetarian or vegan take-out? Visit Happy Cow, an awesome FREE online online vegetarian restaurant guide, sorted by country and region.
Photo by Shutterstock
Have Friends Over
It sounds more romantic to have some one-on-one time with your honey, but honestly, some of the best dates I’ve had include other people, especially when I was a new mama craving some adult company. It’s easy to invite friends over for some wine or beer plus a fun board game or some karaoke. Or just sit around and chat. It’s surprising how refreshed you’ll feel after spending some time with other adults vs. just your newborn and partner. If you do have friends over, keep the following in mind…
- Work with your baby’s schedule. If junior always needs attention at 7 pm – well, clearly plan to have people over at 8.
- DO NOT talk endlessly about the baby. It’s tempting, but unless all your pals are also parents of newborns, try to keep baby talk to a minimum.
- Fight the urge to only have friends over if your house is perfectly clean – as new parents, this won’t ever happen. Trust me, no one cares about your house, your friends miss you and just want to spend time with you.
- Have some drinks and food on hand, but keep it easy such as snacks or order a pizza. If you must cook, try something super simple like pasta, salad and bread. Consider asking your friends to bring the food since you’re hosting.
Photo by Shutterstock
NOT those kind of games! That’s later. Seriously though, while some think games are just for kids, they’re not. Research shows a healthy dose of competition can keep couples happy and nothing is easier than breaking out a deck of cards, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, chess or even break into your kid’s game stash. Yes, Battleship can still be fun as an adult. If board games aren’t your bag, try playing a co-player video game or take turns. Games of all sorts relax your mind, keep you sharp and let you focus on something beyond your new baby and all the stuff you’re ‘supposed to be doing.’ No games in the house? Check and see if you can download some on your tablet. Have snacks, a few drinks and challenge your Valentine to a down and dirty game match – you’ll have fun, I promise.
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Enjoy YOUR Music
With a newborn on hand, some parents forget about their own music and stick to lullabies and silly, nonsensical kids music. NOT OK. You had interests before the kids right, and music was hopefully one of the biggies. While you may not be able to sneak away to a concert, you can still enjoy your own music right at home. Your partner and you can make each other surprise music mixes, dance to music, break out your dusty LPs, play music while laying in the dark in bed and more. It’s even super fun to just sit with someone you adore and take turns watching your favorite music videos on YouTube – seriously! Enjoying your own music again may be so awesome you won’t ever go back to baby lullabies, and that’s ok. Trust me, kids like all music. My own son grew up on a steady diet of U2, Reel Big Fish, the Beatles, Bob Marley and more, and he’s no worse for the wear.
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According to one study, 63% of new parents say their sex lives have deteriorated, with 28% admitting they have sex just once a month, 5% once a year and 7% at not at all. Depressing much? It’s normal for newer parents to be nervous about sex, but what’s not ok is when this translates into a weird game of, “Let’s not touch at all.” Don’t go there! A couple who doesn’t get physical won’t stick together long – at least not happily. Touch is very important. Below are some tips…
- Have some rules in place. If you’re truly not ready for sex after the baby, tell your partner before you get physical so that everyone knows what to expect. That’s fair and a lot less frustrating than guessing.
- If you are ready for sex after the baby, read some tips: Six Ways to Steam Up Your Sex Life After Baby.
- Try a make-out session that doesn’t lead to sex. I know, it’s been a while since high school, but it’ll all come back to you if you let it. Think making out is immature and not fit for responsible parents? WRONG. Read The Joys of Making Out. Bonus, NOT going all the way may entice you to get even more physical tomorrow night!
- Get even steamier with some naughty kissing games.
- Remember to tell each other how cute, hot or sexy you find the other. Sometimes compliments go a long way towards setting the mood, especially when both parents may feel out of sorts after the baby arrives.
- Cuddling is underrated – why not give it a whirl and see where that leads?
- Set the mood – music and candles can really help you relax.
- For crying out loud, get the baby out of the room. Co-sleeping rocks, but sex with junior around, even steamy make-out sessions, can be a bit awkward for many parents. It’s ok to place your baby in a bassinet or crib, in another room, for part of the night.
- Give each other massages – you can even look up massage techniques on YouTube.
- Take a bubble bath together. No time? Showers work well too.
Lead image via Shutterstock