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5 Tips to Sustaining Romance as Parents

5 Tips to Sustaining Romance as Parents : What you can do to stay connected with your partner.

Why is sustaining romance as parents so important? Well, I can imagine it's because your relationship has now been lovingly invaded by little people who rely on you for their well-being, which makes romance and intimacy sometimes nearly impossible. Aron and I do not have children. We do not personally understand what it is like to have to commit ourselves to raising children together, as well as balancing our relationship with each other. Because of this, I asked my dearest friend Holly, to share her experiences with balancing the two most important relationships and roles in her life. From my perspective, Holly and her husband seem to have a healthy balance of quality time together, as well as family time and even after 10 plus years together, they still mange a successful friendship! (I actually introduced her and her husband our senior year of high school and they have been together ever since! Go me!) To help us better understand how to balance and sustain romance as parents, we asked Holly to share her expertise. Holly is a 30-year-old middle school teacher and parent of a 3-year-old girl. She is an extremely talented writer and often gets featured in articles and blogs. According to Holly, here are 5 tips to sustaining romance as a parent: It’s a pretty universal idea that parents are too exhausted for romance, and often for sex. It is almost ironic how a shared experience as special as raising a baby can actually pull couples apart, but it is possible.  It is necessary to connect romantically with your partner after the initial insanity of the first few weeks (or months, however long you need) postpartum. The first time I had sex with my husband after having our daughter was such a relief. I had been so caught up in breastfeeding, diaper changing, family visiting, plus hang ups about my post baby body: hormone induced acne, fluctuating breast size, stretch marks and on and on. So when he gave me the eye, long past the recommended six weeks, it was a return to at least one normal part of my life from before becoming a mom. Something I knew how to do right. Something comforting that made me feel like myself. It also gave me some reassurance that I was still more than a milk cow! Don’t be fooled, I am not saying the sex was or is the same. Neither is the time we spend together as a couple. Sometimes our relationship is completely different than it used to be, but we find our way back.

Here are some of our tips to sustaining romance as parents:

1. Find Acceptance & Appreciation You have to accept that your relationship has changed, but that doesn't always mean for the bad, it's just different. By accepting the limited time you will have your partner all to yourself is one of the biggest challenges of having kids. Conversations are constantly interrupted and therefore often limited to the essential “how do we keep them sheltered and fed this week?” At least until after 8PM. Kids don’t sleep when they need to, or when we need them to. They also wake up unexpectedly. By accepting this, you won't have to fight change as much and you can start appreciating the times you do get together without taking them for granted. 2. Be Creative Because [children's schedules] are unpredictable, you have to be creative! This might mean quickies during nap time or in the morning before they wake up! sustaining romance as parents It may even mean utilizing The Modern Love Box for some inspiration!  3. Use Humor I’ve found that humor works well to limit the frustration and help keep things in perspective, after all, we did choose this, right? Try to laugh often and if sex isn't an outcome, try to just enjoy being playful instead.  4. Reframe "Quality Time" with Your Partner The kids always, rightly, come first. They take up literally every second of time when they are awake. Plus, there is work, housekeeping, exercise, bills and the rest of the endless list adulting requires. So, how do you find time to spend with your partner? Easy shared time, like a show you watch together, going on a run as a couple, playing a videogame together, these are not fancy, lavish dates that require immense planning, a babysitter, or money. They are simple and relaxing ways to spend a little bit of time sans kids. 5. Prioritize Date Nights Often.. Without the Kids Dates are pretty important. We like to revisit a lot of the things we used to do when we were dating without our daughter. We went back to an old, funky movie theater we’d gone to on our first date; we go to small concerts; we paddle board at Horsetooth Reservoir where we’d go in the summer during college. These nostalgic dates serve as a great reminder that we like each other before we were parents, and we can still have interesting and fulfilling lives! It isn’t ever going to feel like you’re newly dating, well rested, and the world is your oyster again. At least not until the kids are in college and you retire! But you can stay connected with laughter, patience, reminiscing, and creativity!   Parents may benefit from The Modern Love Box more than couples without children, simply due to your limited time and schedules. Curious about engaging experiences delivered straight to your door? Start your subscription today and start prioritizing connection in a fun, unique way! The Modern Love Box may offer additional tips to sustain the romance as parents.

7 Signs You’d Benefit From More Quality Time

7 Signs You'd Benefit From More Quality Time with Your Partner

What is "quality time" and why is it important? Well, if you are in a relationship in today's world, then you understand how difficult it is to balance career, family, friends, hobbies, romance, quality connection, sex, self-care, relaxation, house duties, etc, etc. We wear many hats and we often forget to take them all off and just be. Life is hectic and non-stop. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to have a great career, to make lots of money, to be a great parent, to have many friends, to have many hobbies, to have a clean house, to manage our life in a way that is seemingly flawless. Finding time to balance intentional quality time for yourself and your partner may seem non-existant and/or few and far between. It's hard to prioritize our relationship sometimes because we often allow other responsibilities and pressures to take precedence. When we have too much going on we can forget about what really matters. It can be extremely difficult to find that balance in responsibilities, obligations and needs/desires. Quality time is important because it helps us feel connected to our partner; it helps us feel more grounded and supported, and also helps us feel more attractive and desired. If you check "yes" to any of these signs, it may be time to crank up the QT with your cutie! Here are 7 signs that you and your partner may benefit from more quality time.

1. You don't have weekly date nights with just the two of you.

Kids or no kids. Your relationship needs more quality interaction than just a random night out once every other month or so. If you are parents, I can understand this is easier said than done, but prioritizing your relationship will only make the two of you more fulfilled and will help the two of you work better together as parents. If you struggle with finding a babysitter, start scheduling time when your child is asleep. Turn off the TV and making connection intentional. You don't need to go somewhere to create a date night at home.  

2. You feel sex is a chore.

Let's face it. Sex can fizzle. Desire and romance can fluctuate as your relationship progresses. I have said this before and I will say it again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you or your partner if you experience this sometimes. It is completely normal to have lulls in passion and physical intimacy, however, sex shouldn't feel like a chore. You should communicate more about your expectations around sex so you can lower the anxiety and pressure around it. You should also take more time prioritizing quality time so the two of you can feel more connected, (i.e. making sex more enticing).  

3. You only talk about work, responsibilities and/or children.

If you find yourselves only talking about practical things, then your relationship can definitely benefit from more quality connection. You may find yourselves often in auto-pilot and just talking at each other rather than emotionally checking in with your partner. This may be a sign that you both don't even realize how dis-connected you are from your own needs and desires.  

4. You haven't been on a getaway in over 6 months.

I know, you may read this and think, "We haven't been on a getaway in 3 years!" If this is the case, don't worry! I am only mentioning this piece because I think quality getaways are a sure way to promote quality interactions, spontaneity and intimacy. If you are on a budget or have children that you don't want to leave for a long period of time, try going to a hotel in your city for the night once every few months. A "getaway" does not need to be a lavish vacation, it should just be an exclusive time away from the normalcy in your lives.  

5. You don't ever eat meals together.

Maybe your schedules don't permit this. Maybe you have children. Regardless, if you find yourselves never (or rarely) eating together, you may need a date night out to dinner with just the two of you to focus on only the two of you. Meal time can be stressful if you're taking care of others while trying to feed yourself, but they can also be very connecting if you only have each other to distract you.  

6. You have a rigid routine.

Routines can be helpful (even though I realize they are not for everyone!) Being Type A myself, I create a "to-do-list" every morning. However, if find yourselves in such a rigid routine that you don't carve out time to be spontaneous and/or flexible, then you both may be craving the desire to be more present and engaged with each other without the schedule. Try to include "connection" on your to-do list and prioritize that daily. It could be a small walk around the block or a quick trip the grocery store, as along as you are making it intentional and it's not something you normally do, you can boost the quality time daily.  

7. You find yourselves snipping at each other often.

If you and your partner are "getting on each other nerves" more regularly, it may be a sign that you need more quality connection and less robotic / practical interactions with each other. Being on edge and arguing over little things for a brief moment, may be an indicator that you both may be subconsciously craving more quality time together. You miss each other, but instead of saying that, it's often easier to get frustrated at one another instead.   Remember that your versions of "quality time" are different. I often hear this from my couples. One person's idea of "quality time" is sitting on the sofa after work and watching a TV show together. While the other person's idea of "quality time" is having conversations about life and each other's day at work without any interruptions. Neither is "right or wrong," however, both parties could benefit from their cups being filled. Talk to each other and ask for examples of how your partner experiences "quality time." How can both of you find the balance in supporting each other's versions? The Modern Love Box was created specifically to support meaningful and intentional connection with you and your partner. No need to leave the convenience of your home. All you need to do is carve out the time and be present. Created by a Relationship Expert and her husband, our boxes are meant to inspire you and your partner to connect in meaningful ways so you can bump up your quality time! Start your subscription today! 
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