How do you make time for your relationship while you’re also busy parents?
Depending upon how long you’ve been a parent, you may hardly remember the carefree days before children arrived. You had responsibilities, but chances are that you and your partner had a great deal more time to foster your relationship than you do now.
Or perhaps you do remember what it was like when you had time and energy to focus on romance. You enjoyed lazy days together, talking and cuddling and exploring new places. Weekends were blissful times of connection. You remember how much these times sustained your relationship, and you miss it.
If having time to keep the romance alive in your relationship seems like a faraway dream now, don’t give up.
Consider the following ideas.
Many couple therapists will tell you that you must be intentional about nurturing romance when you’re busy parents. This does not just mean having good intentions! It means taking concrete steps to make sure time together actually happens.
You can do this by setting boundaries around your time together. While it may sound very unromantic to schedule time to be together, it’s what busy parents need to do. And it is one of the most important appointments you will have. Turn your phones off and be intentional about being emotionally present with your partner.
Also, remember that what we say and how we say it matters. Speaking with kindness shows care and compassion that are important, especially in our most significant relationships.
Once you have kids, it can be a lot harder to go out for a long evening of restaurants, bars, dancing, or whatever your favourite activities are. With the coronavirus pandemic, of course, this has become even more difficult, if not impossible.
But you can switch up your romantic approach. Look for times and places that you would not normally think of to spend time together. Take your kids to the park and while you’re there, hold hands and reconnect with your partner. Or if the kids are in school and you are working from home, get takeout to enjoy a special lunch together.
Perhaps you don’t even want to go out, but just want a quiet evening at home together with zero interruptions from your offspring. If this is the case, consider swapping babysitting duties with friends. You take their kids one night at your house, and they return the favour.
Be a Family
Depending on the work and school routines with your family members, time to be together as a family can be challenging to find. Investing time to be together as a family, can have a positive impact on your couple’s relationship, especially if you use it as an opportunity to appreciate what you have created together.
Creating rituals with family movie nights, game nights or other time to come together as a family can create positive moments for parents and kids alike. My kids, who are now adults, were recently reminiscing about “Survivor Night” – the time we settled in with snacks to watch the famed reality television show together. It was an “event” that had me and my husband on the couch together sharing time with our kids. And although it would not classify as high romance, it was a special time to be together.
Finally, look for ways to help each other out. If your partner is often exhausted from childcare duties all week, make it a point to make sure they have time on their own to recharge. If they dislike doing the dishes, lend a hand. When you show genuine care for each other, your relationship stays healthier. This naturally leads to more romance and interest in each other.
Tending to your romantic relationship creates more health for your entire family unit. So make the effort to do this. If you find yourselves continually stressed and unable to connect, please consider reaching out for couples’ therapy to help you rediscover each other.