A married couple will often excitedly plan to have a baby together and grow closer during pregnancy. Unfortunately, when a baby or babies arrive, that relationship is frequently strained. This is more likely to be true if there are no family members to offer babysitting or if children become sick. How do two people stay close when faced with the challenges of parenting?
A Different Date Night
Maybe that date night you keep hoping for won’t take place away from home owing to a child’s medical concerns, so bring the date to your house. Decorate a room which lets you listen to your baby (or bring the monitor to this place) and create a festive atmosphere. Put up colored lights. Play romantic music or dance tunes. Order in food you wouldn’t ordinarily eat such as dishes from your favorite restaurant. Put up cheap posters of exotic places and pretend you are somewhere else.
Take a different tack and bring baby to the restaurant. Choose a location where your infant will be welcome. This is much easier when the baby is very small. As they move around more, think about the idea above and get the ball rolling when he or she is in bed for the night, perhaps in time for a decadent dessert or a glass of wine together.
Talking about Important Stuff
Not everything you say and do must revolve around your children. By a few weeks after having a baby, you might catch yourself talking about her all the time. It seems impossible to hold a conversation without bringing up nursing, cute clothes, her sweet gurgling noises, and faces she makes while filling her diaper.
Make the effort to spend time talking to each other about anything else. You aren’t being bad parents if you stop talking about this infant for half an hour or an hour. Both parents are confident of the love they feel for this child, so show it by discussing each other’s interests, dreams, and memories. Ask your partner what he wants for Christmas. Discuss dreams of retirement or home renovations. Share memories from first dates in the early days before kids were born. Remind each other that you aren’t just mommy and daddy: each of you is an individual in his or her own right.
Include the Baby
Sometimes if you want to have fun there’s nothing for it but to take your kids with you. Buy equipment such as a backpack for carrying your baby and go for a hike the way you used to when you were dating. Pack a picnic and lay baby on the blanket while you eat lunch on the beach.
Trust a Babysitter
If you’re lucky, there is someone you can trust to watch your pride and joy. Take the plunge for the sake of your marriage and your child. The sooner a child becomes used to being cared for by other people, the easier she will find being left in the future. Children have to realize they can’t go everywhere with mom and dad: parents need time together once in a while.