New parenthood consists of lots of diapers + wipes, feedings + burpings, swaddling + rocking. What it doesn't consist of is lots of romantic nights out on the town with your spouse.

So when you do get to indulge in an occasional date night, give yourself permission to thoroughly enjoy it.

Step up your game with these 5 tips—

1. Dress Up.

I know it sounds obvious, but I can't tell you how many times I've rushed out of the door the second the babysitter arrives wearing the same thing I have been in all day. I mean, between getting dinner ready and prepping the kids for bed, who has time to get dressed? Lately though, I have been slowing down and taking advantage of having the babysitter there to entertain the kids while I throw on a simple black dress, a splash of red lipstick, a pair of heels, and voila! Suddenly I feel less like “Mommy" and more like “Ana."

2. Try something new.

It is really easy to fall into the routine of grabbing dinner, especially somewhere we have already been. Think outside of the “dinner rut". Check out your favorite band in concert, go to the museum, pick a new neighborhood to walk around and explore, pick up your food “to go" and have a picnic in the park, or go bowling. We recently went on a double date to a new shuffleboard club and had the best time!

3. Wear something “special"

My husband and I reserve a single perfume and cologne that we used to wear when we were first dating solely for date night. The smell brings back floods of memories of our kid-free days and I'm reminded of all the ways we fell in love.

4. Plan ahead.

Nothing is less sexy than having to figure out what kind of food I'm in the mood for, what restaurant we can get a seat at, what train delays are happening tonight, etc… I try and make sure we have reservations, know how we are getting there, and what is nearby in case we feel like keeping the date going after dinner.

5. But also, be spontaneous.

Some of our best nights have been entirely planned but it doesn't work out. For example, that adorable al fresco restaurant we had been dying to try wasn't going to cut it when it was pouring rain outside. So, we improvised and quickly dipped into the closest movie theater, snuggled up and enjoyed popcorn and candy for dinner.

Ana Fritsch is a writer, stylist, and blogger at Lucky Penny, a lifestyle blog documenting life in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters, Edith and Lilah.

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