The days and weeks following the birth of your baby are filled with overwhelming emotions for both you and your partner. You each are on an emotional high as you share a euphoric blend of elation, love and pride in each other and your new baby. As the emotions of new co-parents settle into a new family routine, many couples, however, find that romance and their relationship take a back seat to changing diapers and trying to catch up on sleep. Sleep deprivation and isolation from adults often lead to a lack of interest or inability to make time for passion. After a long day spent either at the office or at home with the children, it is easy to unconsciously put your romantic lives on hold. Parents of young children typically find they are immersed in busy lives and struggle to spend time together -- let alone keep the romantic fires from dying out.
The first step is accepting that sleeping in or enjoying a lazy weekend browsing antique shops together might not be in your immediate future. However, just because you're a parent doesn't mean that your relationship has to be void of romance until your baby goes off to college! Incorporate a few creative ideas geared at spending time together, and you'll find yourself back on the way to bliss.
Stick to your plans. If you make a date to go to dinner or a movie, don't back out because you're too tired or too busy. Demonstrating to your co-parent that spending time together is a priority lets them know you're committed to keeping your passion alive.
Get out of the house. You both deserve a chance and opportunity to be out of the house as adults -- not parents. Time spent away from the diapers, feedings and family pets help rejuvenate you mentally and strengthen your bond. If your schedules absolutely won't allow for an evening out, take a walk together or go grocery shopping just the two of you. Schedule a babysitter once a month for the two of you to everyday outings such as running errands and household shopping.
Common interests create sparks. Every couple should have something other than their children to share as a common interest or passion. If you don't agree on movies or music, consider taking a class together, reading the same book or working out together. The ability to explore each other's interests and hobbies will generate romance and possibly a new diversion as well.
Take a nap together while the baby naps. If you need to catch up on some long-lost sleep why not cuddle up together and enjoy a shared nap? The chance to spend physical closeness and the comfort of sleeping together often boosts your romantic mood while you both recharge your batteries.
Embrace the changes in your relationship. While everyone loves roses and breakfast in bed, your lifestyle after the baby transforms into a new shape. Surprise each other by giving each other the chance to soak in the tub, sleep in, or by scheduling a cleaning service to come and help around the house. A more rested and refreshed partner is more receptive to adult conversation and romance.
Ask questions. A breakdown in communication is common among new parents. After a long day spent at the office or home with the baby, it is nice to know that your partner is interested in your opinion. Simple conversation starters such as "How was your day" "What was the best part of today?" "I read in the newspaper..." and "What do you think about..." spark a multitude of responses and opens the door to dialogue with your co-parent.
Realize your expectations. There are many levels of intimacy, romance and fantasy. You may long for poetry, champagne and a magical Hollywood evening while your partner's idea of romance is take out Chinese food. Talk about your romantic expectations for your relationship and the growth you've shared. An understanding of each other's perspective avoids hurt feelings and romantic disappointment.
Lose the guilt. Many new parents feel guilty taking time for themselves and their relationship. They believe they should devote all possible time to nurturing and caring for their new baby. It may be surprising to learn that your baby will benefit from you spending time on your relationship. He won't feel neglected because the two allot time for your relationship. Your baby will thrive being raised in an environment with relaxed and loving parents.
Write each other a letter. Expressing your feelings for your partner by putting pen to paper doesn't have to mean a love poem or an overly sentimental card. It can be heartfelt, honest and explain what you admire in the other person. Share your dreams, goals, and fears for your relationship and your growing family.
Subtle physical contact. Act like you just started dating again. Hold hands as you walk through the mall. Give each other a hug when you leave or return home from work. The immediate benefit is the connection and simplistic intimacy in subtle physical contact. The secondary benefit is that your baby will grow and develop in an environment where he's is comfortable to demonstrate his emotions. If he sees his parents hold hands or give each other a hug hello and goodbye, he'll be comfortable expressing his emotions.
Remember that keeping your love alive after your baby arrives takes as much work as before you had children. Making the effort to ensure your partner feels admired, appreciated and wanted promotes both a healthy and romantic relationship. Some of the simplest gestures are some of the most romantic, and they will help you recognize and foster the sparkle in your love life.