Keeping the Romance Alive after Kids
I have now been a mom of two for almost three whole months and when people ask me how it is, my standard response of ‘it’s such a blessing’ (which, of course, it is) is generally overshadowed by that voice screaming in my head: ‘it’s exhausting, that’s what it is!’. Because, truth be told, as much as I love my kids and as much as they are my absolute reason for being, life with two small children is chaotic, it is busy and it is exhausting. The sleep deprivation can be mind-numbing and with so much going on, who has time (or energy) to focus on their life partner? My husband and I are currently more like roommates than partners, our time together characterised by a quick 15 min supper before heading to bed (to sleep) and the standard hourly word exchanges consisting of, ‘it’s your turn’. Our romance is dead.
This, as you know, is not the ideal base for a happy marriage, and seeing as everyone is focusing their attention on ‘love’ this month, I thought I should do the same at home. Here is how I plan on getting the cliched ‘spark’ back:
Ooooh, remember those alluring eyes, smouldering over a glass of wine, or the tickle fight on the couch (just so you can touch him again), or the naughty hourly texts when you were apart? Get your mojo back and start flirting again! Yes, I feel more like a large milk-stained udder than a sexy minx at the moment, but to my husband I am still his wife – that fun-loving 23-year-old girl he fell in love with.
There simply is no relationship, no partnership, if there is no communication. Yes, we get busy, and yes, we get distracted, but we need to at the very least still talk to each other. And not just the obligatory, distracted ‘how was your day’ as you run away after your unruly toddler. Make time for each other, have a meal at the table (instead of in front of the TV) and talk, or take five minutes out of your day and phone each other. Find out what is going on in each other’s lives and take the time to listen.
Dating at Home
Going out alone is a challenge for us as our 2-month-old refuses to drink out of a bottle. We, therefore, have become experts of dating at home after the kids have been snuggly tucked in. We have a picnic on the carpet or prepare a themed feast to enjoy, or we watch a movie together, cuddled under a blanket on the couch.
Stealing Some Alone Time
Tanya once told me about her and Wessel’s secret dates during the week when they manage to slip away from work for a sneaky and delicious coffee and cake date. It feels naughty, it’s indulgent and it just works.
Focus on the Little Things
As with everything in life, it’s the little things that make up a happy life: when my husband unpacks the dishwasher for me before he goes to work, the coffee and biscuits in bed over the weekend, or cooking his favourite meal (even though I hate it). Little gestures of love go a long way in building a solid foundation for your relationship.
Remember that you are a couple first and parents second and that one day, when the kids are all grown up and have families of their own, it will be just the two of you again. Don’t lose each other during these early parenting years.