Here’s something you may not have known about me: I started dating my partner, Frank, when we were fresh faced 16 year olds. Technically, he was 15 at the time, but since it was just days before his birthday, I usually round up.
Our start could have been a scene from any teen rom-com (my fav remains 10 things I hate about you likely because I was SO that girl). It was a typical”meet cute” – I was wearing well-scuffed Doc Martens, he was wearing a well-kept letter jacket. We saw each other from afar and made goofy faces at each other.
There was also a spark. A magnetic pull that has stayed with us ever since.
Before having our daughters, keeping that spark alive was relatively easy. Afterwards, though, we each had to put in concerted efforts to keep it going.
Too often we have been victims of our busy schedules, the demands of work, and the unending needs of our little ones. All of this on top of our collective sheer exhaustion.
In those times, we’d have little time or energy to connect as partners and lovers.
There have been times when the lull would stretch a few days. More often, though, it’d be weeks or months before we’d notice something was amiss. Each time, it’d take weeks to get us back on track.
Connecting as a couple when there’s children in the mix requires a conscious effort on both sides. It also demands heavy doses of patience, kindness and respect.
Here are a few ways you and your partner can keep your love on track after becoming parents:
Set realistic expectations
I, too, have double tapped on a photo of a friend smiling happily with her partner, only to feel a pang of jealousy at their perfect union. In those times, I have to remind myself that Insta is but a fragment of the full story.
Real life isn’t an Insta snap. In fact it’s messy and exhausting. It demands we set realistic expectations of each other and our relationship. It also requires we sit down with our partners to talk about about what we have to do differently to connect now that life is different.
You’ll want to keep the conversation going, too. As parents, you’re now different people than you were before hand. You have different needs. You also have different things pressing on your minds and hearts.
So, be sure to take the time to talk about your worries, wishes, fears, joys and more. As you do, share what each of you needs from the other person and what you may need them to stop doing.
Carve out quality time together
Your time is limited these days, that’s for sure. But, with some good intentions and perhaps a little creativity, you can find new ways to spend time together. An evening watching Netflix can be every bit as romantic as a five-star dining experience (I’d argue it’s more).
You’ll also want to make time to enjoy a proper date outside the home every now and then. It’s not always easy to lineup a babysitter, and like me, you’d prefer to stay in your yoga pants. But, going out like you used to before kids can rekindle that spark that got you here in the first place. So, if it’s a concert or a hike in the woods, find the time to make it happen with just the two of you.
Watch this episode of The Crazy Good Life to learn more about how you can keep your love on track even with kids in tow.
Once you’ve had a chance to watch the video, join us in the comments below and share some tips that have kept you and your partner on the right track even as you battle sleepless nights, tantruming toddlers and whatever else life seems to throw your way.