Being a new parent comes with unimaginable rewards. Witnessing your baby's first breath, hearing that first laugh, watching them grow - these are the moments you'll cherish for the rest of your life. As author Elizabeth Stone once said, parenthood is the decision to forever "have your heart go walking around outside your body."
Of course, being a new parent also requires a lot of time, energy, and effort. Having a child strains marriages and relationships. According to Fortune, studies show that "parents often become more distant and businesslike with each other as they attend to the details of parenting." With a little creativity and planning, however, even the most exhausted parents can make time for each other. It doesn't require much time, money, or effort.
Here are ways to spend some quality time together as a couple after the baby arrives.
According to Self Magazine, having sex is one of the best ways to strengthen your emotional bond with your partner. That means you should prioritize physical intimacy, if possible.
Before having sex after your baby arrives, check with your medical provider. The Mayo Clinic says mothers typically need to wait up to six weeks before having sex, regardless of whether they had a vaginal birth or Cesarean section. That way, your body has time to heal and you'll be less likely to experience certain infections, hemorrhages, or other injuries. The birth process takes a lot out of new mothers, so be patient and wait until you're physically, mentally, and emotionally ready to move forward. There's no rush.
Once you're comfortable having intimate time together, don't get caught up in thinking about looking perfect or having the perfect evening. A flirty yet comfortable nightgown, some soft music and maybe even candles can help set the mood and allow you to focus on what's most important: each other.
Plan a Date Night
A date night can be the perfect way to rekindle romance after the baby arrives. Making time for each other boosts your communication, appreciation, and sense of connection. If you have a relative watch your children, you can look for free events, take a stroll through the park, or even grab dinner and see a movie. Another option is to find a babysitter by using an online search tool.
Even if you can't find someone to watch the kids, you can still bring them along on activities that help you reconnect as a couple. For ultimate flexibility, plan some date night-style activities that you can do with (or without) children. For instance, complete an arts and crafts project, make dinner together, together or go for a bike ride.
You don't even have to leave home to have a romantic evening. If you have a new baby, try to schedule time with your partner while the baby sleeps. You could order delivery from your favorite restaurant, watch a movie on Netflix, and unplug from phones and computers for a while. (With the exception of your baby monitor, of course.) You might even have a home spa day one night, with relaxing music, massage oils, and soothing tea.
Take a Vacation
Many people feel guilty for taking time off work. However, time away together as a family is one of the best ways to bond.
Family vacations involve more logistics and money than solo travel. However, you can save headaches and dollars by planning ahead. For instance, if you live in the United States, you might take a road trip to some of the nation's breathtaking national parks. Alternatively, you could plan a weekend getaway to a nearby location, or rent a local bed and breakfast for a local staycation. According to Travel and Leisure, you'll save the most money if you travel off-season. Hotel rates will be lower, and sites like Kayak will have even cheaper deals.
Amidst all the excitement and joy of raising your little one, there will also be long, stressful days. Even if it's challenging at times, you must prioritize your self-care and your relationship with your partner. Between the joyful moments and the sleepless nights, make time to reconnect. After all, you're partners not just in life, but in raising a human together. Boosting intimacy doesn't have to cost a fortune. By spending some quality time together, you can increase your happiness, improve your relationship, and raise your level of satisfaction with your life.
In some cases, new parents are so overwhelmed with this new chapter that the stress takes over, leading to resentment, exhaustion and bickering. To help keep your love alive, and to reconnect with your partner, consider couples counseling with Family Coaching. Call today for an appointment! 480-433-2800
Written by Emily Graham
Image via Unsplash