For many couples, the build-up towards having their first child brings them together closer than ever before. Sure, there will always be the random argument, but the reality is that nothing gives you a closer connection than knowing you are both bringing a new life into the world. And after the birth, things are OK, too – it’s a magical time.
But make no mistake about it, this ‘honeymoon’ period doesn’t last. And when you have baby number two, three or even four, things can quickly go south. With so much focus on doing right for your kids, even the most compatible partners can struggle to survive – mainly down to the fact that they never see each other!
In fact, a lot of experts believe that being fantastic parents often leads to being a lousy couple. The simple truth is that if your relationship is going to survive, you have to put aside some time for each other on a regular basis. And while it can seem tough, there are a few things you can do to ensure you are rekindling your old love and give each other the time and respect you both deserve. Here are a few tips for you to try out – let us know how it works out for you.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel
OK, so it would be nice to fly to the Caribbean or head over for a romantic week in Paris. But you don’t have to spend a fortune or make things more difficult than they need to be to spend quality time with your partner. You can connect at any time of day – whether the kids are around or not. It just takes the effort of making a joke, prompting a conversation, or just simply giving your partner a little squeeze. Hugs are my absolute favorite and these little gestures all add up to a healthier and more loving relationship.
Planning makes perfect
When you have kids, life’s spontaneity goes out of the window for a decade or so – it’s just the way it is. You can’t just decide to go out for dinner, as it takes at least a week of rigorous planning and arranging to the extent it seems like an FBI operation rather than a night out at a restaurant. But you need to plan. Not only will it guarantee you some time alone together, but it gives you both something to look forward to.
Accept offers of help
A lot of mothers don’t like accepting help when it comes to things like childcare. But if grandma, auntie, or a godparent wants to take the babies off your hands for a weekend, let them! It’s good for the kids to have excellent relationships with the extended family members, and it’s also good for you and your partner’s relationship. There will be times when you feel guilty, of course – but it’s important to have time out. Your health can take a beating when you are focused on your kids 24/7, so if someone offers help don’t turn it down and use the time to spend with your partner.
You don’t have to go out
Put aside a regular night every week that you cook a meal and eat together for a romantic night in. And whether you want to Netflix and chill or play some cheeky drinking games for two afterwards, do what pleases you – and make it regular! Time flies when you have kids, and if you don’t make an effort you will find that months go by between date nights. Ultimately, if you want to keep the fires burning, you need to give them regular fuel.
Fight the tiredness
OK, we all know it – having kids is the most exhausting, unrelenting experience you can ever have. And when you finally get them to bed on the third or fourth time of asking – on a good night – the temptation is to follow them and hit the hay yourself. But here’s the thing. If you are waiting for a day when you don’t feel exhausted to spend some QT with your partner, you’ll be waiting decades. It’s just not going to happen. So, fight the tiredness, and always make a proper effort to connect with each other. You don’t have to stay out until 3-4am – that would be foolish! But you do need to spend a couple of hours with each other alone once or twice a week if you want the spark to stay lit.
Talk – always
One of the biggest problems that parental partners have is when they stop communicating. And make no mistake about it, this will have a massive impact on your nights together when you try and connect with each other. Uncommunicative couples always run the risk of spending time together turning into a disaster, which is not fun for either of you and incredibly damaging to your relationship. So, always talk things out as you go along – communicate your feelings as they happen. Never go to sleep angry with each other, and you will find you have much more time to enjoy each other’s company when you eventually spend some together.
Family days out
Finally, don’t see spending time with your partner as separate from spending time with your kids. As we touched on earlier, you can easily connect with each other with the kids around, so organizing regular trips out or going somewhere special will benefit your relationship greatly. Simply put, you have to do new things together. Bringing up kids is incredibly tough, and one of the biggest reasons why is that it every day you tend to do the same old things in the same old routine. And as everyone knows, familiarity really does breed contempt. Change things up a little by doing something new once or twice a month. Experience things together, and you’ll find you all get on a lot better than if you do the same old stuff, day in, day out.
How do you find time to spend with your partner? Why not share your ideas with everyone else by leaving a comment in the section below?