When you’re expecting your first baby, couples often make a promise to each other. They promise they will never lose sight of their relationship. And they promise that parenthood won’t change them as a couple. Then reality hits.
Parenthood does change you in ways you never even imagined. It changes your relationship too. But that needn’t be a bad thing. We all change and evolve throughout our lives. It’s still possible to be in love with each other as well as our children. It just takes a little more organisation.
Carving Out Time
Somewhere in the chaos of working, caring for children and the house, you need to carve out a little time for the two of you. For example, when the kids go to bed. Not every night, of course. The reality is that after a full day of work, sorting the tea and the kids’ homework; you’re not fit for anything. All you want to do is watch mindless telly with a glass of something red. But maybe once a week or every fortnight would work? Perhaps you could leave this until the weekend when things are less fraught.
Turn off your phones and switch off the TV. Focus entirely on each other. Talk about your day and what’s going on in your lives. Rather than eating with the kids that night, eat a late supper just for the two of you. Purchase a special bottle of wine and maybe even light some candles. If your partner isn’t into feminine fragrances, opt for a man candle instead. The point is to do something different and little bit special.
Date nights can take a little more planning. You have to arrange babysitters and all of that needs to be set up in advance. But it’s not impossible. Try to arrange for the babysitter to arrive a little earlier to give you time to get dressed. If your usual home attire is a pair of lounge pants and t-shirt, it’s good to dress up for each other and make an effort.
Plan somewhere fun and special for your date. Go to the cinema if that’s your thing, or the classic dinner and movie. Try and cut off from the kids. They’re well looked after, and you will be contacted if there are any problems. Resist the urge to keep checking your phone for texts and missed calls. Focus entirely on your partner.
When we become parents our priorities change and rightly so. Children become the focus of our attention. They become the centre of our world. But within that world try to keep a little attention for each other. It could be as simple as always greeting each other and having a conversation when you get home from work. Ask each other about the day and really listen. If one of you is particularly stressed, make some adjustments to ease their burden. For example, arriving home a little earlier and putting the kids to bed. Or, taking on more of the household chores. Be attentive and observant. The important thing is to keep communicating.
Surprise Each Other
Keep things fresh and interesting by surprising one another. This could be something simple like a small gift or cooking their favourite meal. Breakfast in bed at the weekend always goes down well. Change things a little and keep it exciting.
Dress For One Another
You get up at 6:00 am to sort the kids, arrange the school run and arrive at work on time. You work a full day, barely stopping for lunch and then face the evening commute. You finally arrive home after 6:00 pm and it doesn’t stop there. You still have the tea to prepare, the pots to wash, the kids’ bedtime, etc. So all you feel like doing when you get home is changing into a pair of comfy PJs or lounge pants. Nothing wrong with that. But perhaps once in a while change into something different. Dress up a little for your partner. It doesn’t take too much extra effort, and it will be noticed.
Spend Time Apart
As well as being together it’s also important to spend time apart. I’m not just referring to work here. It’s important for you each to have your own hobbies and interests and meet up with friends. Being together all the time isn’t always healthy. Everyone needs their space and time to themselves. And when you are together, you’ll find you appreciate each other more.
So, is it possible to be lovers as well as parents? Of course! Like any successful relationship, it just takes work and a little planning.
Midlife mum from Cardiff. Wine Imbiber. Likes glitter, fluff and olives. Approaching tweendom with Caitlin (11) and Ieuan (10). The husband is hiding in the loft.
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