Having children is the most beautiful process and experience one can embark in their life journey. The newest addition to your freshly formulated family and so much new love to go around.
However, there can be a problem with this situation and that problem is a major one. This major problem so happens to be the fact that parents tend to forget to be a couple while figuring out parenting. Parenting can be so time-consuming and take a stress element on its own, so much, to the point that parents forget what it took to not only create love but also to maintain it in their partnership.
There are countless studies that look into what can happen when couples focus only on parenting and neglect their relationship separate from parenting and the most common and quite saddening number was that one-fifth of relationships end or break up within the first 12 months of bringing a child into the world. This has largely to do with neglect and losing all elements of intimacy. This isn’t intentional and it shouldn’t be the impending doom that it may seem to come across as. Instead, while learning to get used to a new life, with a newborn, life as a parent, just an entirely new shift in general, take time to look at your partner and remember what led you both to this beautiful moment.
Change is inevitable, but then again, isn’t that life in general?
To save you some hassle, I made so many mistakes within my first year of being married I will save you from these simple things I overlooked.
1. You Have to Continue to Spend Time With Each Other
Sometimes new parents take shifts with feeding the baby, changing the baby and anything else that may be a new habit, but the one thing you must keep in your life, is time together. If you can bring the baby to the grandparent’s home for some needed time, maybe once a week of just alone time, I highly recommend this. Even if this alone time is spent at home just appreciating each other’s company, it is important to not allow being a parent to remove being a partner. Post-baby intimacy is even more important this can be overlooked at.
You will not only feel a recharging, reconnective feeling with your partner but also, you will realize there is a heightened release of stress that has been built up when you get to have some alone time and intimacy with your partner.
2. Routine Date Nights
If you do not have relatives that live close to you, you canlook at a babysitter. Take the opportunity and turn it into a date night and make sure you stick to this routinely (with some surprise ones here and there). What my husband (Solo) and I have done is we make it our business to have monthly date. I mean dressing up and putting in effort . I take this opportunity to really remind him of our earlier dating days. We have incorporated some specific date ideas that work for us and you should do the same for your partnership.
It is very important to keep this routine as it gives something to look forward to and offers the notion that you both take each other’s time and presence as a priority. Dinner dates could be done at home, it could be a movie, and some snuggle time( at list once a week with the sofa quality time) just as much as a night on the town. There isn’t any reason to fall completely into someone else’s idea of needed time together. Your relationship is individual and you both know the things you both love. Do not abandon them.
3. Do Something Fun and New
This keeps the spark of the journey together alive. One of the things that tends to happen after couples have a child is they lose spontaneity and creativity towards their relationship. You can do something like bring to your partner flowers or their favourite cheat snack. Especially when they have had a rough day. I learnt this one some Solo, he knows a chocolate cake always puts a fat smile on my face after a rough day. Those simplicities keep romance alive. Sweet and little gestures can keep the romance alive, even though we get caught up into the busyness of parenting. It’ll count for so much and make us feel really good about each other and the relationship.
4. Talk/Communicate Daily
This isn’t one of those things where you just ask howwork was or you share about something cute the baby did.Those things are important but never forget the manner in which you both spoke leading to this moment in the relationship.
If you are already feeling stuck, take a moment to remember the beginning of the love story you share with your partner. These thoughts are often accompanied by feelings of euphoria and can help lead the romance back into your relationship.
Did you both used to write love letters? Write one today. Used to send flirtatious texts and that simmered down? Send one right now. Remind your partner why this relationship is more than a parenting position and take initiative to reintroduce romance to your relationship.
Utilize all your devices as well, cyber flirt, use gifs, use memes, emails, be creative with your words, and even send photos of settings you intend to recreate. Candles, wine, music and anything else you can add that caters to your partners most intimate senses. Having children doesn’t mean subtraction by addition, instead, it is the addition to addition.
Being a new parent can be overwhelming and this stress can make us feel less close to our partners as we can become completely engulfed with being a parent. With all the suggestions you will find here in this article, it’s best to use them as ideas for what tailored situation you find yourself in and work it to fit your situation best.
5. Use Food to Assist
What does this even mean? Well, time becomes scarcer and you have to make the time you have counted so one thing we do is we make sure that we have diner dates at home, and we make sure to cook one another their favourite meals. We give each other breakfast in bed, we make each other tea and these actions aren’t just about the food but the care and concern it takes in making sure our partners are still connected to us. Another couple I know has said that their ritual is to make sure that no matter what, they wake up a little earlier than the kids to have a cup of coffee together to start their day in unison. This reminds them that their family life starts with them two. These daily reminders continue to recharge and keep them connected.
6. Be Playful
As new parents, the sense of security heightens and the overprotective qualities can form but you can’t lose the playful side you both share with each other. Playfighting offers fun and a sexual connection, even with little sporadic acts throughout the day. My husband and I playfight and something like that simple act keeps the connection between us constantly. Make games and silly bets between each other. You can convert playfighting to kisses and take it to higher levels. It is about always touching, talking and connecting.
7. Express Admiration and Appreciation
One thing that should not stop is things like holding hands, expressing appreciation and offering kisses throughout the day. Even if one parent is pushing a stroller, its ok for the other one to place a gentle hand atop the other partners hand. Slight gestures ignite slipping passions.
The thing I want to impress upon couples in this situation the most is that when you tend to lose something because of another thing, you tend to have some form of resentment towards that new thing and I want to make sure you never feel that. You should be able to manage and love having partner time isolated from parenting time. Intimacy (sexual or not) should never be removed from the equation and sexual intimacy should not slow down, take a back seat or be removed from any adventurous things you both once did. It is important for parents to feel as wanted and needed as they did before children.
Now as this article is being read and absorbed, I don’t want you to think of parenting as something so separate that you have to measure it against the relationship, in fact, I want you both to express fondness and acknowledge each other for the wonderful jobs you both do as parents and how you both are able to manage time in isolation and in total. Parenting can’t just flow without acknowledgement. Incorporate compliments alone and in front of the children. This continuous effort of goodness becomes healthy norms that will enhance the alone time because the acknowledgement, appreciation and love will keep you longing one another and looking forward to those special date nights, more so than ever before.
8. Uncompromised Routines
You must establish uncompromisable patterns such as ensuring that the children are in bed on time, feeding schedules or TV time. These routines (and you can pick acts that resonate with your relationship) keeps time available to keep the relationship fluid and in tune throughout the process. It takes an extra concerted effort because parenting can easily shift partners into being parents and as beautiful as that is, it can’t be everything.
I tell new parents, being a great parent isn’t about giving every dying second to your child. You still have an adult relationship to nurture as well. Take time to shower together and enjoy these moments. Appreciate the body that birthed a new love. Cater to one another and do things you love together. Cook together, talk daily, hug daily, kiss daily and make sure you always smile at one another. You’d be surprised at how many couples allow the busyness of parenting to remove these simple acts of love. It is integral to keep them alive. Anticipation for alone time is foreplay in itself. The looking forward to it, the grooming self for it, it is all part of the connection.
In the beginning months, wanting to sleep and being tired as you adjust to this new life is understandable. Even then, throughout the day, there is always time for a kiss, a hug and acknowledgement. There is always time to love your partner.
I will add this, a happier relationship will 100% make you a better parent. The happiest children, the children that best adapt to society and excel come from happy homes with love. This starts with the parent’s expression of love towards one another. Most importantly, in ensuring that your relationship with your partner is a priority, you must not at any point neglect yourself. The trick is you care for self, you can better care for your partner, you better care for your partner and you become a greater parent. Most studies done have proven this pattern to be true and you and your home deserve a continuum of pure happiness.