How to find the time for you and your partner after kids
If you’re a new parent and wonder if you’ll ever get quality time with your partner again, you’re not alone. In fact, in the early months of parenthood, any alone time you have together is probably taken up by grabbing sleep, rather than reconnecting. Weeks can fly by and before you realise it, you haven’t had a conversation that isn’t kid related. In fact, it’s easy as a new parent to go for days without a conversation with another adult! The days of late-night parties and long lie-ins together might be a thing of the past for quite some time. However, making time to be together as a couple should still be on your agenda. When you’ve gotten into the swing of your new normal as a family, here are some ways to make time for each other too. Spending time in each other’s company doesn’t necessarily need to be a date night or even a weekly fixture on the calendar, but it’s time well spent in continuing to build your relationship with each other, as well as co-parenting. Here are a few ways you can find some quality time together as a couple to reconnect, bond and re-energise your relationship after having kids.
1. Make the most of the small moments
Staying connected with your partner can start with the small things. In the ‘busy-ness’ of parenthood when we’re rushing from home to appointments to playdates to nappy changes, take the time to stop and simply ask your partner how they are. How often are you asked how you really are? Or how often do you simply respond with “Fine” and move the conversation along? Asking each other about your day, your health, your feelings and opinions is a great way to open up a new conversation that might not be baby-related. On the other side, if your partner asks you how you are, take the time to stop and give them a considered answer. Perhaps you need a little time out, some extra help or just a little peace for yourself. Your partner may not have realised if you’re struggling, or you may feel they’re missing the mark. Help them, to help yourself and vice versa – encourage them to open up to you too. The little things include small tasks you can do to make each other’s lives easier. Can you make a packed lunch for the partner heading out to work? Or load the dishwasher or washing machine when you see it needs doing? How about surprising your partner with a little gift or a love note to remind them that you’re always thinking about them, even when you’re not together?
2. Enlist support
Date nights are non-negotiables in some relationships, even prior to starting a family. For others, they’re non-existent. If you can enlist the help of a babysitter, family or friend to watch your little one for a while, head out with your partner for the evening, for breakfast or even just for a quick walk around the block. Some date ideas include: Going to the movies Working out together Visiting a winery Going out for dinner Double dating with friends Attending a gig or going to the theatre Learning a new skill together Spending time alone, but still close to each other Finding time to be physically alone together can be few and far between – and possible limited to the time you’re in bed trying to catch up on much-needed sleep. If possible, get out of the house together and away from your usual routine. You might decide to reconnect by doing something together that you did pre-kids like catch a movie, go for a peaceful drive (remember those days?) or work out together. Yes, it’s a little cheesy, but remember who you were as a couple before you had kids will go a long way to bringing back some of the fun and the things that built your strong relationship originally. If one or both of you work, you might take a little time off together when your child is usually with a carer. Do something fun, enjoy being in each other’s company, take the time to reset and recharge.
3. Embrace the new normal
As much as you might occasionally have pangs for how your old relationship played out, why not take this time to allow your relationship to grow to a new, wonderful level? Together, you created an actual human being! As individuals, you’re different to the person you were before. Allow your partnership to be different too. Perhaps the time you spend together might now be undertaking different activities to those you did in your life before kids. You could bond whilst picking up a new skill together, working on your home or garden. You might even take up some parenting classes such as baby massage or yoga and enjoy learning something together that will benefit your little one too. Let’s face it, parenthood can be tiring, busy and sometimes stressful. Making time for ourselves and our relationships isn’t always seen as a priority. However, be inventive with the time together that you can find and put yourselves back on the priority list. As they say, happy parents = happy baby!