Ahhhh! How wonderful it is to sniff your baby’s head and watch that innocent and wonderful human being smile back at you. One look into your baby’s eyes and you feel blissful. Remember how you used to look at your spouse that way? Remember how he or she used to be your baby? The center of your universe?
You may have noticed that you spend less time admiring your spouse or yearning to hold his or her hand as often as you did before your child was born. You do less for each other, and more for the baby. You may also have noticed that by the end of the night, you are officially cooked! You have little energy or desire to cuddle, snuggle or be intimate with your spouse. Sex has become another item on your To Do list.
As amazing as it is to have your baby in your arms and to experience that intense, passionate falling in love feeling all over again, parenthood has made you tired and more than a little burdened by the enormous responsibility of caring for another person who literally cannot survive without you. How does that translate to your relationship with your spouse? Less mommy-daddy, husband-wife, couple time that can leave you feeling less connected, sad or even resentful towards your child at times.
So now what? If you can both acknowledge that parenthood is amazing but taking a toll on your relationship, then that’s a great place to start. Now, let’s think about how to build in time for you as a couple because, after all, it was the couple that made the baby.
Set Up A Regularly Scheduled Date Night
Yes, regularly scheduling your date night can take some of the spontaneity out of it, but you can still create spontaneity if you choose your spot on the spur of the moment. Make it monthly or weekly, by yourselves or with another couple…whatever your plan put it on the calendar and don’t cancel it!
Say Thank You
Seems simple enough, right? Remember to thank your spouse for taking out the garbage or bathing the baby. The little things that need to be done to take care of the baby and your home are endless. Each one of you will feel recognized and validated for your efforts if you hear a simple “thanks” every so often. It’s a small but truly powerful gesture.
Everybody gets a turn!
When grandparents or other family members are around, let them each take a turn in caring for your child so you can take a break…with your spouse! Family members feel good about helping out and spending time with your child, so let them. Next time Grandma is around enjoying some cuddle time, go take a walk or run an errand together… just like old times!
Maybe you used to do this before your baby came along, and you will write notes to your little one once he/she has a lunch box! Why not write a little note to your first baby and drop it in his workbag, or post it on her iPhone…or go the traditional route and just tuck a note in with their lunch bag? It won’t take you a minute, but it will make them smile for the rest of the day.
TV Guide It
Set aside time, whether it be 30 minutes or an hour, every night after you put your baby down to bed to watch a show together or talk about your day, your next vacation, or whatever! This little bit of time will help you feel connected to each other’s lives, regardless of how hectic they’ve become.
Starting a family is a life changing event that is simply delightful and exhausting and overwhelming…and so very satisfying. Children will shift the dynamics of your relationship as your life slowly comes to be centered on the kids’ friendships and activities. Don’t ignore the changes – recognize how your relationship has changed, and make efforts to connect with your spouse, one-on-one, on a regular basis. One day, after you have invested everything into your children’s lives, they will go off and pursue life on their own, and you will once again be a couple alone, together. Why not make sure you’ve stayed one all along?