by Emily Graham
Having a new baby is a source of pride and joy for any parent. Taking care of an infant is by no means easy, however. Your little one will need you for every basic need, from diapering to feeding. The attention this requires can leave you with little time and energy for your partner. Research shows that having children can lead to less romance in a relationship. This doesn’t have to be the case for you. Follow the guidelines below to keep your bond strong.
Institute a date night
When you have children, it’s easy to focus all your attention on them. Set aside a weekly date night where you and your spouse can shift that focus exclusively onto each other. By continuing to spend quality time together, you ensure that your bond remains strong. Kindred Bravely offers several date night suggestions, including having dinner at your favorite restaurant, spending time at the beach, or—if you’re too tired to go out—planning a dinner and a movie date at home.
If you are heading out, make sure you can fully enjoy your evening by employing a trusted babysitter like a grandparent. If you don’t have a family member who can step in, make use of your local network. Local Babysitter lets you find qualified sitters by tapping into your community, connecting you with caregivers trusted by other local parents.
Enjoy simple physical touch
New parents are notoriously sleep deprived. Surveys have even shown that they get less than five hours of rest per night on average. This can leave you sapped of energy and less interested in sex. The good news is that even non-sexual touch strengthens the bond between you and your partner and encourages intimacy. Science has further shown that simple actions like holding hands and hugging lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
If you’re too tired for anything else, set aside at least five minutes for cuddling every day. You can simply lie down together when the baby is down for a nap, for example. You can also enhance the experience by taking turns giving and receiving massages. Online how-tos provide suggested techniques and recommend which massage oils to use.
Gift your partner some “me” time
It might seem counter-intuitive, but providing your partner with some private “me” time can actually bring the two of you closer. This is a simple way to show your appreciation and that you value them. Providing them with a window of time that they can devote to their own self-care will also help them relax and make them more resilient to the stressful moments that come with parenthood.
Treat your partner by running them a bubble bath, giving them a gift certificate for a spa day, or simply encouraging them to take an afternoon away to hang out with friends. You will find them coming back to you refreshed and ready to be a better parent and partner. The other benefit is that they will likely reciprocate in kind, allowing you to have an opportunity to recharge as well.
Set aside five minutes for communication
Spend at least five minutes per day simply talking to your significant other. This is an opportunity to check in and ensure you are on the same page. Ensure collaborative communication by taking the time to both speak and listen; this isn’t just about one person’s voice. If there are any budding issues, for instance regarding sharing parenting duties, this is a chance to hash them out before resentment builds and drives you apart.
Parenthood is a source of great happiness for many people, but you don’t want your romantic relationship to suffer as a result. Incorporate the above tips into your day-to-day lives to maintain your spark and create an even happier home for your children to grow up in.
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