Mom and Pop Passion
Dad Going Nuts? Go Out Instead.
Getting Out the Door (or at Least <I>Behind</I> One) continued...
As most parents will attest, leaving your baby for the first
time is always the hardest, so ease into it with a quick getaway, like dessert
at a coffeehouse or a walk in the park.
"Don't try to go for dinner and a movie if you're going to
be a basket case by the time the entrée arrives," says Douglas, "and if
you're paranoid, call from the restaurant. Who cares if they think you're
obsessive? You're allowed. You're a parent."
If you can't get out, get creative. Some couples wait until the
baby's down for a three- or four-hour stretch, then order a nice meal, dim the
lights, and ignore the phone and other household distractions. There isn't
anything magical about Saturday nights, either -- take the time whenever you
My Time Is Your Time
The Oberholtzers of Evanston, Ill., have a standing date on
Wednesday mornings. James takes time off from his law practice; Katherine -- a
marriage and family therapist -- doesn't schedule appointments. Typically, the
two hit a yoga class, then do lunch.
"We're firm believers that parents should get out at least
once a week," says Katherine, a mother of three. "When we haven't been
able to do that, we feel it."
To find a good babysitter for your trysts:
- Ask family and friends.
- Call a university's early childhood education department.
- Check with the instructor of a local baby-sitting or teen first-aid
- Ask teachers, coaches, and others who work with teens, such as members of
the clergy or the career counseling department at a high school.
Since a good sitter is hard to find and keep, be prepared to
pay top dollar ($5 to $7 per hour for a teenager and $7 or more per hour for a
college student) and treat them with respect: Return home on time, pay anyway
if you have to cancel at the last minute, and spend time teaching them what you
Family co-ops -- groups that trade baby-sitting services on a
non-cash basis -- can be helpful, too, particularly since many new parents are
tight on cash. But Douglas says to make sure you understand the arrangements
(for instance, decide upfront if it'll be hour for hour), and that your
child-rearing philosophies and personalities are in sync.