How on earth could you expect anyone to feel remotely amorous when Peppa Pig’s theme tune has become the soundtrack to their life? While there’s no doubt that making the switch from mother to lover and back again can be extremely tricky, it’s still important to make time for a little passion away from the chaos and clutter of family life. And what better excuse than a date night or a naughty weekend break? “Setting aside ‘parents-only’ time is well worth the effort and a great way to get out of ‘mummy mode’,” says Cathy O’Neill, co-author of Baby-Proofing Your Marriage: How to laugh more, argue less and communicate better as your family grows
The early days of parenthood can be blissful, challenging, and of course, tiring so it’s easy to see how not making time for your partner and putting your relationship on the back burner happens. According to O’Neill, it’s not just your sex life that can suffer when a baby arrives. “Both men and women told us they missed the small gestures of intimacy, such as hugging and kissing,” she says. Therefore, do try to juggle your new routines and carve out time for each other to be affectionate and loving every day – preferably in front of your children – as this will leave the whole family feeling secure, loved and emotionally connected. If making come-hither eyes other over a pile of discarded Lego bricks doesn’t float your boat, aim to designate one night each week to spend together without any distractions.
Date nights were important pre-parenthood and are equally as important post-parenthood too. Date night or, spending some quality time together promotes communication, increases feelings of intimacy, decreases the chances of taking each other for granted, limits stress, and builds stronger bonds and attachments. If you can get a babysitter and go out for the evening alone then all the better to reconnect but even a date night at home can make all the difference. It can simply be sharing a bottle of wine on the sofa and watching a boxset, a candle-lit supper at a set table or, sharing a bath and some couples massage when the children are all in bed. Don’t think it has to be extravagant every time – making it accessible, relaxed and achievable rather than a stressful extra to your daily to-do it means it mores like to be a weekly ‘date’ rather than a ‘once-whenever-you-remember’ occasion.
BUT, please don’t forget to talk!
And, we mean to actually talk. Not about whose turn it is to sterilise the bottles, buy the nappies or pick up the children from nursery, but about life beyond your baby. “Try to have conversations about something other than your child,” says O’Neill. “It’s vital for parents to pay adequate attention to their relationship, no matter how strong the pull of parenthood,”
Give yourself ample time to get in the mood. Feed, bathe and get the kids into bed a little earlier, replace Peppa with Prince (or, whatever romantic music gets you in the mood), light a few candles, change out of your lounge pants and banish all talk of children…even if it is just for one evening!