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February 14, 2017

Valentine’s Day party of three: Keeping the romance alive when you become a parent

Parenthood Valentine's Day
1Katie_Gagnon_VDay Katie Gagnon /for PhillyVoice

When baby makes three, keeping the romance alive and making time for each other takes a little more effort.

It is an often-parodied cliché that having a baby sucks all the romance out of a couple’s life. Not true! Keeping the romance alive and making time for each other just takes a little more effort when you become a parent. Here are some ideas that I have employed to continue to foster the special relationship with my husband since our son was born.

Never Stop Dating

This is the advice that my mother gives to all newlyweds. As someone who has been happily married for nearly 42 years, I think she qualifies as a relationship expert. Continuing to date once you are married with children is not just about getting out to dinner and the movies; it is a mindset. Dating is flirting and fun. Dating is laughter and romance. There are blissful comfort and stability in being married to your life partner, but there should not be complacency or laziness. If you are blessed with a long marriage, the relationship with your spouse will ultimately be the most important in your life. It exists before you have children and it remains once the nest is empty. So keep dating! It will invigorate your marriage and benefit its health and longevity.

Keep Doing You

When we were expecting our son, my husband and I promised that we would keep doing the things that make us happy – both independently and together – once we became parents. Sure, our time is more limited and having our precious baby boy with us can make things a little more complicated. But where there is a will there is a way. We like going to breweries, so we bring the little guy along with us. We like skiing and snowboarding, so we get a baby sitter while we hit the slopes. My husband loves fly fishing, so I take the baby while he is out on the river. And I love doing yoga, so he is in charge of our son when I am getting my namaste on. Making time to continue to do the things that we love is important for us as individuals and also as a couple. It enhances our romantic relationship and also makes us better parents.

Small, Sweet Gestures

Doing little things for your partner can go a long way, especially when you have children who limit your time and energy. Every night I program the coffee pot, make my husband a breakfast smoothie and prepare the lemon water that he likes to drink as soon as he wakes. This makes his early mornings easier and better. Every weekday morning my husband brings me a cup of coffee in bed and most weekend mornings he takes the baby so I can catch up on some sleep. Occasionally, I buy him a rare bottle of bourbon. Sometimes, he surprises me with flowers. We seek small ways to make each other feel special and loved. These sweet, simple gestures amount to meaningful moments that benefit the romance in our relationship.

Keep Communicating

Maintaining a romantic relationship is impossible without communication. Successful partners never stop talking to each other. Say good morning. Kiss goodnight. Laugh together. Ask about your partner’s day and how he or she is feeling. Share your wishes and expectations. Leave notes – love notes, thank-you notes and notes of encouragement –  for each other. Sometimes the day flies by in a whirlwind of meetings and diapers, appointments and dishes. Make time every day to connect and communicate with your love.

How to do and your partner keep the romance alive while managing parenthood? Share with me in the comments section or tweet me @ThePhillyVoice and @KathleenEGagnon.

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