There is no life change that will intensify your relationship quite like a baby.
It’s true and the impact can last well beyond the baby years. Since becoming parents, Frank and I have worked really hard to keep up our Saturday date night. FYI – I use the word “work” here very purposefully. Like everything, making relationships work takes daily efforts.
Not so easy to do when one or both of you are living off three hours of sleep.
Here’s a case in point. After several weeks of stomach flu, strep throat and head colds on top of early morning meetings, traveling for work and late night conference calls, Frank and I forgot our anniversary last week.
It was the first time in 23 years. How sad is that?
I felt crummy and I hope it never happens again. But, life is busy and getting out of the house for a proper date just isn’t always possible. And, let’s be honest, even when it is possible, the very last thing I want to do is get out of my yoga pants and hit the town.
So, I spent a good part of the week thinking back to the things we’ve done before to inject a little more love, kindness and romance into our days. Here are just a few of them:
1. Mean It
In the hustle and bustle of parenting, our brains can sometimes turn on autopilot to make space for more pressing thoughts. Good night kisses, good morning salutations and wishes for a good work day still happen, but they’re automatic. Routine. And not in a good way.
Try to tell your brain to slow it down, and take a few extra seconds to really be present in these moments. Don’t just say good morning because that’s what you say to each other in the morning, say good morning because it really is a good morning. How incredible is it that you get to wake up every day next to this awesome person that you picked to spend your life with? Good morning!
2. Anything can be an adventure
Trips to the grocery store, a stroll to the playground, reorganizing the basement toy bins? All potential dates, as long as you want them to be. There are definitely still times when you’re going to have to motor through tasks just to get your body in bed at a reasonable time, but when you feel like you need a little happiness boost, try reframing your time with your partner as a date, even if it doesn’t come close to resembling what a date night used to look like for you.
3. Small gestures
Move over flowers, jewelry and chocolate, there’s a whole new set of romantic gestures to choose from. I find that some of the moments where I really get it right are based on actively listening to my partner and considering that one little want (not a need) that would take his day to the next level. It can be as simple as setting my alarm for the same time as my husband’s on a day where I could be sleeping in so that we can have a morning together. Or taking note of his most frequently ordered sushi so that on lazy take out days, I can surprise him with a favorite.
Sometimes I find that one of my go-to wines has made it’s way onto the kitchen table, without having made a request when Frank’s made his usual errand running “need anything?” call. Little gestures, and big thank yous. Okay, and maybe a little bit of chocolate.
Every relationship is different, and it’ll change in unexpected ways after your family starts to grow. I’d love to hear about the ways that you keep your relationship rolling when life gets too crazy!