You’re a new parent. You and your partner are caring for a whole new human (or even more than one). But what does that mean for your relationship with each other? Babies and children bring a host of changes into your life. There’s the obvious physical changes if one of you has given birth; to hormonal changes in everyone when bonding with a new baby; sleep deprivation; lack of free time right down to financial pressure. There are suddenly a range of new stressors on even the most solid relationship. Romance may be low on many parents’ priority list when they have a new baby, and that is pretty normal!
Building time for your relationship into this can be difficult. Firstly there are practical issues of getting time together without the children. Small babies can be hard to leave with other people, especially if they are breastfed; many parents and many families don’t have the luxury of regularly available babysitters. When you can have some time together you need to find an activity that suits you both; and fits your available time and budget.
Romance for parents: 101
What’s romance anyway?
1. a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.
“I had a thirst for romance”
2. a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.Definitions from Oxford Languages
“the romance of the sea”
When talking about romance for new parents it can be helpful to be clear about what we mean. Candlelit dinners for two may be typically romantic, caring and affectionate behaviours; however, that style of romance may not be practical or enjoyable for new parents. Snapping a candid photo of one of those intimate moments between your partner and the baby may not sound romantic. Yet, showing them that photo; telling them how it made your heart burst with love; well, maybe that’s a more achievable form of romance for parents of a young baby. That simple action captures, demonstrates and shares some of the mystery and excitement, and the affection of romance between parents with a new baby.
Note: the definitions don’t talk about sex. Sex is an important part of a romantic relationship for some parents, and we have other articles on sex. (Sex after birth; Co-sleeping and sex) This article aim to help parents find ways capture and express the romantic spark of love and excitement post baby.
Parents share their favourite post-baby romance tips
How can you reclaim some romance? We asked lots of parents what suggestions they had, and here are a just few of them!
Get all the children/babies asleep somewhere, even if that’s with you, and snuggle up together to enjoy a film. You get some quality time together. No babysitters required and cheap too!
Say yes to all offers of babysitting you are comfortable with; family, friends or professional, depending on what you are happy with.
Grab even an hour: short bursts of romance post-baby
If you can grab even an hour, going out for a walk, a bite to eat or a trip to do something you enjoy can be a wonderful way to connect and build in short bursts of post-baby romance. Lunchtime ‘dates’ can be easier to organise and you might be more awake to enjoy the company!
Therapy can be useful in aiding communication whether or not you feel like you are struggling. Whilst it is often considered something you do as a last resort, many techniques can be valuable to everyone.
Communication: key to romance as parents
Keep talking to each other. In the press of the day to day challenges of being parents it can be easy to forget to tell your partner what’s going on with you. Find ways to communicate which work for you! Bottling things up can lead to incredible explosions down the line so honesty and a willingness to listen and move on can be valuable tools.
Ignore things said at 2am! Sleep deprivation can be a huge drain on everyone. And in the midst of the 17th wake up you might feel like the person getting the sleep should bear some of the brunt of this too. Let middle of the night arguments slide in the light of day!
Romance can mean giving each other alone time post baby
Sometimes all people, all parents, need time alone, away from the baby and each other. Communicate that need to your partner. Give each other some space; recognising each others’ deep needs and meeting them is romantic and important for parents whose needs often go unmet. Sometimes this means things like not sleeping together if that helps everyone get more rest, or using time you ‘should’ (still hate the word) be together to do something alone. Find the rhythm which works for you.
Jobs you both hate doing? Can you have a cleaner or other jobs taken care of by someone else? If money is not an issue sometimes this small thing could make a world of difference to keeping a household running smoothly (nothing says romance more than mopping the floor right?!)
Think about what you do appreciate about one another – and tell each other too! Yes it might just be ‘I’m grateful that you washed those clothes’ or ‘I’m grateful you recognised I was about to lose my shit and stepped in’ but it’s still good to hear.
Give yourself time: establishing a new normal
Always remember that relationships are between two people and both parties need to want to be in them. But also that both parties can change, and children can be a huge change. Sometimes relationships come to an end, and that can be right. Sometimes people need some breathing space. Couples, or individuals, may benefit from therapy. Becoming parents is a big life change, therapy can help you to reflect on the relationship, your feelings and behaviours. There is no right answer here.
Relationships take time and effort, and as parents our time and effort are usually being directed at the kids rather than those around us; this is entirely normal. Whatever path your relationship takes, keeping those lines of communication open and honest is likely to be the best way to reclaim the romance. And cut yourselves a bit of slack if your babies are very young things will change, both short and long term. One day they will sleep, probably, and then you may have more energy for some of the couple activities you used to enjoy.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in