A Day in the Life of Mom is Pleased to host Savannah Esposito. She is the CEO and founder of The Modern Mr. and Mrs. and writes about parenting, relationships, and marriage, with a psychological twist to help teach her readers about ways to be aware and improve their lives.
4 Shockingly Easy Ways to Keep the Intimacy Alive After Babies Arrive
Being a new parent can be overwhelming no matter the age. If you’re in a serious relationship or married, having a kid can really challenge your commitment to your relationship. You are constantly being pulled in two different directions. Spend time with your little one or your spouse, give attention to your little one or your partner. Who do you choose?
It’s important to try to maintain a balance between family life and relationship life. Being a parent means a huge shift in focus and energy, and oftentimes we mean well by giving the child all our love and attention. We might think that our partner understands that the child is first. And in the first weeks postpartum, it’s true, the infant should have the attention and love until things settle into a more stabilized routine. But that routine doesn’t mean ignoring your spouse, or not making the time for them. That is the quickest way to disconnection and feelings of resentment. So how can you and your partner make sure you stay connected and intimate?
Daily Check-Ins and TFE
My husband and I do TFE (Thoughts, Feelings, Emotions – which we created) and daily check-ins as a way to keep connected. There is not always enough time in the day to truly have an hour conversation to connect, so when your partner gets home simply asking how they are may not be sufficient.
TFE is a great way to actually get connection out of your conversation.For example, when you ask your partner, “How was your day?” and they respond, “it was good,” that would warrant a TFE. If that was their answer you could reply with, “TFE?” They would then go further into their inner world and would respond with something like, “Well, in all honesty my day was stressful. I was feeling really confident when I got to work because my boss gave me a new responsibility at work. I felt acknowledged by him. It was like my hard work was finally paying off at work. But then, one of my coworkers, John, completely was being defiant and wouldn’t listen to me when I told him to do a job. He did it in front of our boss too, so I suddenly felt anxious that my boss would take my new responsibility away.”That type of answer leaves the door open for connection. You could ask further questions about the new responsibility, what did the coworker defy, if the team member responded to your spouse like that all the time. Then your spouse can ask you a “TFE” and you can answer. By the end of the conversation probably 15-20 minutes will have passed and there will be genuine connection with your conversations.
Now, postpartum women can be very sensitive about their body image and they are experiencing a lot of hormones racing through them making their sex drive plummet (so they don’t get pregnant too soon, it’s a survival thing).
Postpartum you can’t have sex for at least six weeks. Why is that? Because it takes your uterus six weeks to shrink back to normal size, and until it’s back in place sex can cause issues like getting infections. Once your doctor clears you for sex, you can resume your normal sexual life. In the meantime, you can always cuddle together, make out, and watch a movie or your favorite TV show, or shower together.
Couples with kids are often crunched for time, so one way that you can keep the intimacy alive is by showering together in the morning. Making sure you shower together can be a really fun and intimate experience whether it’s shampooing each other’s hair, making out, or more.
This one will require more planning, but it’s so important. Psychologists say that date nights should be a minimum of twice a month as one of the factors of a connected marriage. I’m not suggesting both of those date nights have to be out. If you can’t find a sitter or a family member to watch your child(ren) then you can always have a date night in. Seriously, it can be super romantic. There can be flowers, candles, home cooked meal that you cook together, and music and dancing if that’s what you like. Or you could put on a movie after dinner, dim the lights, make pop-corn and have a home movie. Be creative and romantic. And during your date, try actually connecting with conversation. Talk about passions, goals, projects you’re working on, etc. Don’t have the focus be on bills, the kids, chores, etc.
Spending time together is important. It’s just that simple. If you never see each other or talk to each other, how are you supposed to connect? So, whether you’re spending time together by playing with your child, doing chores, or cooking, the goal is to have fun. Some couples out there might already do chores together, and that’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone – get things done and connect. You can easily have a quick conversation while one washes and the other dries, or one rinses and the other loads the dish washer.
Think about what you and your partner love to do. Is it going to a coffee shop together and reading a book? Is it spending time with a common hobby like bowling? Make a list of things you both love to do, then see what overlaps. Then make it a goal to spend quality time together at least once a week. Set aside one or two hours a week, maybe when your baby is napping, is the perfect time to hang out.
Maybe you’ve heard of the dreaded disconnection after having a baby . But it really doesn’t have to come to that. If you make a daily effort to stay connected with your partner it will pay off. If you hear of couples who lost their connection after kids, or worse, had affairs, they probably were not talking daily, checking in, or giving each other the amount of time they deserve.
I always say that a relationship is a 24/7 job, and it’s true. Your marriage should be a priority in your life, even after kids enter the picture. Think about it. When they are eighteen and out of the house, who are you left with? Your spouse. When you look at your spouse in eighteen years, do you want to feel like you don’t know them or do you want to feel connected and excited to continue being a strong couple?