I know there must be some magical answer to this!
3 months ago our baby nephew got placed with us. Since he's in protective services while he's with us, every single person that watches him has to go through a background check (a month long process).
We didn't exactly plan on having a baby plop down in our laps. I just started a semester at school (which is 6 hours of week of babysitting, but still), and between that and our evening shifts, we've exhausted our family babysitting.
So between everything, we've got 4 hours to see each other on Thursday and Friday afternoons before he goes to work, and 2-3 hours Sunday and Monday mornings. It's not much, but they're also not times we can get babysitting by our normal babysitters (and asking people for their SSN and DL# for a background check is not exactly easy!), and we're running out of steam.
In a month we're going to start weekly visitations, so another thing on our list of things to take up our time. Plus we have DCF visits on monday mornings...
Anyway the point I'm getting at is that we can't escape the baby and we haven't had a date in 3 months! We get maybe an hour alone on Thursday and Friday afternoons when he naps, but that's not much time to do anything... and we can't exactly leave the house anyway... so our "dates" have ended up being trips to the toy store to walk around, since there are so many things to entertain him with it gives us a chance to talk, but even that's getting old.
He's too young to take to the park... I'm just completely burnt out and out of ideas on how to get some free time with my husband that doesn't involve folding laundry, feeding a baby, or changing dirty diapers.
We don't mind doing something WITH the baby, but we know it will be more struggle than fun if baby is not entertained by it. We've discussed going to places like the Zoo or Aquarium, becasue there are interesting things to look at, but we don't exactly have a lot of experience with a baby, and the unexpected expenses are kinda eating away at us until the Relative Caregiver Assistance kicks in.
Anybody have any thoughts?
10 months is definitely plenty old enough to go to the park. At 10 months my kids liked the baby swings, or sitting in our laps on the big swing. The slides are fair game too. If he is crawling well he will probably be tickled pink to go up and down the stairs with one of you behind him. It's not date night material but it gets you out of the house for sure.
What about joining the YMCA? I know many parents who drop their kids off at Childwatch (free childcare with your membership) do a little exercising and then sit and have coffee or something! I know you have stringent requirements on who watches him, but everyone working at the Y should have already undergone that process since it's a licensed childcare facility.
Aquarium and zoo are great ideas as well. Movies are definitely out, but if you time it right, bring lots of non-messy distractions and snacks, and pick the right spot, you can probably get a nice meal out somewhere. Walking the mall offers a little more variety than the toy store and for a couple dollars at a lot of malls you can get those little toy car things that they ride in instead of the stroller, which is novel enough to keep him entertained for awhile.
10 months is almost a toddler. You can take him almost anywhere you go! The library is another good spot if you have a good library with a decent children's area. Our old library had chunky puzzles, lots of comfy mats/beanbags all over the floor, those wooden bead toys and a few other things that would definitely keep a little one entertained while you guys sit and chat. Just to get out of the house.
Another suggestion....if he doesn't do well in the stroller you could try wearing him on your back. It's such a good view up there he might be perfectly content for a good while, giving you time to enjoy your outing.
Babies are a lot of work! I sympathize with you on the lack of date nights.....in 2.5 yrs my SO and I have only had 3 date nights without kids, I believe. It IS hard sometimes but it's a period of time that will definitely pass and you WILL get your life back (that's what we keep telling ourselves anyway, lol).
Very blessed mama to one bouncin' boy (12/07) one who didn't get to stay (6/09), one potty learning, mess making diva(4/10), and one cheerful milk monster. (12/11) Happy partner to the love of my life.
Take the baby to the zoo! And the aquarium! Watching fishes go around in a tank is better than tv from the point of view of a 10 month old, anyway. :)
And you are a good good person to be caring for this child. I would ask the folks from the agency to recommend a babysitter, if they can. Tell them that it's important that you maintain a strong relationship with your spouse to make sure you can care for the baby together, and that you are having trouble finding time together because you don't have many babysitting options. They may have access to some prescreened babysitters that they could recommend. But for liability or legal reasons they might not be able to make a recommendation (ask them if they could put you in touch with another family in your situation then; maybe you can swap babysitting?).