You may have recently seen us post a survey on our social media outlets, asking parents a few simple questions about how they keep the "romance" alive after kids enter the picture. We were so excited that so many of you responded and it gave us a really great perspective on our readership and what issues we all face in regards to getting some important alone time with our partners.
As a new mom myself, I know how difficult it can be to find not only the time, but get in the mind-set of a romantic person and partner. Let's be honest, getting that engine going again can be difficult - even if you have a free hour or two. Because really, we probably all need to catch up on sleep.
I want to share a few results from our survey and then hopefully, this little post will culminate into a list of sorts for how to keep the va va voooom happenin'!
Let's start here:
Overwhelmingly, folks seem to get some one-on-one time with their partners about once a month.
I feel like once a month is a pretty healthy amount of time, as long as that time is spent with some true reconnecting in mind. If all you are doing is running errands, I think you are missing something. Take that one day a month and make it special. Go on a picnic. Go to a museum and chat about art. Go out for a cocktail. Get dressed up. There is nothing that makes me feel more romantic than taking some time to get ready (a glass of wine and a hot shower, mostly) for a night out with my husband -- that doesn't include grocery shopping or picking out new bath towels.
I have to say it, my husband and I lucked out. My family lives close and most of the time they are fighting for some baby love. My mom will even ask every once in a while if we need a date night, just so her and my dad can hang with their only grandchild. I get that this can be a rare thing and I do not take it for granted.
So, for those parents out there aching for some alone time, but have no where to turn for a reliable baby sitter, what then? I have had friends who have had luck with sites like Care.com, but in the end, having a stranger watch your child for an occasional date can feel entirely not worth it.
One resource that I have not yet utilized are my other momma friends. I think most moms gravitate towards each other for mutual understanding and connection (or, they should - no mom shaming people!), so why don't we utilize each other more for baby care? Do we not like to ask for help? Do we know that other moms are as tired as we are, and asking them for a hand might seem like adding to their already full plate? Here's what I think - let's all give each other a break! Need a few hours to reconnect with your partner? Give me a call. I would be more than happy to trade babysitting in exchange for a date night of my own!
Everyone, look at your social media, or even the contacts in your phone. Find those momma friends. Start an alliance! Help each other out. We all make better moms, partners, and friends when we get some alone time with our spouses/partners. ....if you know what I mean....
Friends, I love this! IT DOESN'T MATTER what our "date night" ends up being in the end. Maybe it even could be picking up a few groceries - we just want time with our partners. When kids enter the picture, "alone" is rare. It is rare as a couple and it is rare as a person. But it is so vital to our happiness and our wholeness.
This answer says a lot about how we view our partners and our relationships, I think. Sure, we are exhausted. Yes, we are stressed. We want to be the best parents we can be. But, I think most of us realize that somewhere in the body of those emotions, there is always a deep-seeded longing to feel the romance, the connection, and the one-mindedness that we KNOW still exists with our partners. We want to feel loved and wanted. I know I do. If I don't, I can feel like I am failing at everything.
Sometimes, my husband and I can go a few weeks without a good reconnection point. But, one thing I know for certain is that at any given moment, I am longing to connect with him. At every moment. And when those rare, but wonderful alone times come - I want to do all I can to make sure they are filled with as much romance (AND FUN) and possible. Because if at the end of the day I am disconnected from him, everything can feel like it is falling apart. If we are solid - everything is solid.
NOW - for my favorite question and responses!
We asked you this and got a lot of great ideas from everyone. Thank you!
- The baby goes to bed early, so we still have dinner and tv time alone each night
- Feeling like we're in "it" - parenthood - together. Acknowledging that we're both tired and cranky and being able to laugh about it has been huge
- Couch dates after kids are in bed, dates are a must
- Putting it on the calendar in advance and having family that is willing to help babysit
- Scheduling and spontaneity; in a moment when kids are both sleeping we steal moments and when a week has passed and haven't, we schedule it and send the kids to family for some time
- Romantic dinners at home on a set night has really helped us. We take turns cooking and who ever doesn't cook that night does something small and nice for the other. We also go to bed earlier so we have energy to keep the spark alive
- You have to plan time for each other. Before kids one on one time and intimate times just happened but after kids there seems to never be time for it to just happen. So my husband and I plan "us" time each week. It is mostly at home us time, but it still allows us to focus just on each other at least once a week
- We are very protective about date night. We don't cancel unless we truly have to. We build the anticipation for date night up with text messages, making plans, getting ready together, etc. And we try really hard not to talk about the kids, finances, etc while we are out. In between date nights, I focus on making him feel appreciated so that he can be in the best mood possible come Friday night
- For lack of a better word, quickies when the baby is sleeping!
- Dates are fine and good. However we have found that finding even just 5 minutes every day to touch base, and just talk to each other about non parenting topics is one of the keys to keeping real intimacy in our relationship
- You have to make time for each other. You have to make time for sex. It doesn't have to be elaborate, it just needs to happen
- We just remember to focus on us and communicate, it's easy to let parenthood occupy every single moment, but truly we try to remember we are smart funny sexy people that like to express that with each other, and put parenthood away for a couple of hours
- Our date nights home alone really really help. Also sex. Even if it's just a quickie. When we are at each other's throats, we know it's time to have sex. Just that 5-10 minutes can make a world of difference in our relationship and thus our family
- Not a day goes by that we don't joke, touch, kiss, hug or talk. We make each other a priority
- We just had our second, which makes it much harder, but are goal is to get one date a month in. It's helping
- putting a good lock on the bedroom door. Sometimes you just need that barrier to speak as adults without interruptions. 15 minutes can change the whole outlook of the day!
- We have meaningful projects (work) that we do together. Also, we pray together most nights after the kids are in bed, and talk. This helps us stay connected and on the same page. We snag coffee together when we can in the morning if we get an early enough start before work
- It's nice to get out. Also socializing. We try to be around adults about once a week. It helps keep our social lives intact and it's nice to visit with friends after spending my day with a toddler
- We always talk or text no matter what. Also most of it is flirting or praising each other
Thank you to all the parents who answered our survey! These were just SOME of my favorite answers....and there is so much great advice here.
And here it comes - the list. Pulled together from these great survey responses, as well as my own experiences as a new mom, desperately in love with my partner and a hopeless romantic at heart - here is my summary for you:
Make each other a priority - ALWAYS!
Send lovey text messages. Praise each other. Thank each other.
Even if you have to put it on the calendar a month in advance, put it on the calendar and keep your date. Give yourselves something to look forward to
Sex is an important to part to keeping your connection strong. Sometimes a quick five minutes is all you need to keep that spark alive.
each other. A lot.
with each other. Ask how the other is feeling.
Be the shoulder to cry on. Be the support and the strength for your partner.
Be their rock.
Now, go prepare for the big Valentine's Day. Does it have to be elaborate? Absolutely not - but find some time for you and your partner to connect and regroup. To fall in love all over again. To remember why and how that damn cute kid(s) got here in the first place!
Happy Valentine's Day from Dress Your Kid!