I’m going to put my neck out and write about a tricky subject for this season of love – and that’s how to keep an adult relationship going when you have young children. It can be particularly difficult if you have got used to being just a couple – which was our experience. We were together for over 15 years when we brought our first baby home, that’s a lot of adapting right there!
Being a parent is wonderful and enriching, but it’s also exhausting and unglamorous. After a full day of running around after babies or toddlers, all the preparing and clearing up, nappy changes, being covered in all kinds of substances and then finally getting them into their own beds and asleep – it can be impossible to even hold a conversation let alone be romantic or intimate. And when that goes on for an extended period of time, it can become a ‘thing’ which makes it an even more difficult topic to tackle.
I think the complexity comes from lots of angles, from the exhausted main carer who wants to not be touched for a while – to the frustrated partner who often feels a bit left out or replaced by this new person in the relationship. Motherhood is such a physical process, it changes us in a physical and mental way that is hard to express – but we do need to try. The most important part of this new relationship you need to carve out now there are 3, 4, 5, 6! of you is to keep communication open.
Some ideas that might help:
- Try to push/tidy kids stuff into a corner or another room to make some adult space for the end of the day.
- Make an effort to check in with each other every day a text, photo or chat.
- Arrange a date night at least once a month, this can be at home, but does need to be special in some way e.g. get dressed up or light candles.
- Talk openly about how you are feeling, even if you know it will be difficult. Bottling up these feelings doesn’t make them go away – quite the opposite. You may not be able to make any changes right now, but by being open to allows you to appreciate your partners point of view at least.
- Try to laugh – watch something you find funny, release some tension and be silly. Initmacy isn’t only about sex, it’s about shared experiences and long term love.
- Remember that this phase of parenting will change, and your relationship is changing too. This can be a good thing! Life continues to move forward and you are in for one hell of a ride together.
About the Author
Claire is the mum of 4 kids under 9… as well as running The Frugal Family whose mission is to support families looking to save money while also saving the world! She works out of the garden shed, to avoid the laundry as much as possible… With 24 years together with Mr Frugal – she knows a thing or two about relationships, and has created and taught many courses on the subject.