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!
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.