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Sorry, Not Invited (Maybe Next Time, Kiddo) MONTH 8 WEEK 4

Approved by the What’s Up Moms Medical Advisory Board

By now your baby has likely dropped the third nap (hallelujah!) so now you don’t have to race home for naps. The freed up time in the afternoon opens up possibilities for family outings, errands, park trips, or playdates. Insert deep, cleansing breath here.

Another gift of time: with the dropping of that nap, baby’s bedtime may have scooted a little earlier. That tiny shift gives you an extra 30-ish minutes in the Grown-Ups-Only bucket. Life-changing? No. Glorious indeed? Yep. This is a good chance to reconnect with your partner.

A few habits you can get into to make sure you’re taking care of not just your romance – but your friendship:

Bring back date nightsWhere a date takes places is less important than the idea of just carving out some distraction-free time for each other – ‘cause it won’t happen automatically anymore. Go out if you can, but at-home dates count, too – just be sure to separate the event from your regular day. That means shower and dress (not in yoga pants. sorry), turn off your phone, and be present (and awake). Put some dates on the calendar or make a regular weekly date, since looking forward to an event is half the fun.

Even better: day dates – If you can swing it childcare-wise, take a vacation day together as often as you can. Being out and about together in the world in broad daylight will make you feel remarkably footloose and fancy free.

Find a time each evening to actually talk – Everyone knows that “how was your day” is a tough question for school-aged kids to answer and it’s no different for grownups. So each evening, ask your partner some specifics. Did x meeting go as well as you’d hoped? Even ask them what they had for lunch, if you care to know – the point is to actually converse.

Set a place & time for tactical talks – Once you have a baby, the nuts-n-bolts of life (child care, work schedules, shopping lists, budgeting, home to-dos) get ever more complicated and there are always logistics to juggle. Don’t let transactional conversations bleed onto everything else; instead set a weekly meeting or create a shared document so you can keep that unsexy — but necessary — biz contained.

Baby’s been taking up a lot of your time, but little by little you’re getting some of it back into the you column. Sometimes, though, you might need to a little reminder to take it.