Having kids is one of the greatest experiences you can hope for from life and nothing can quite prepare you for it. The same can equally be true for falling in love: each event is all-consuming and can take up most of your time. Even long-term relationships need time to continue to grow and strengthen, I would say especially so! For those who have children with their partner, this can then pose a problem. How can you divide your time between being a parent and your relationship; how can you find a balance? If you have found yourself wondering this very question, fear not – there is hope!
Busy but happy
If you ask any parent what they would love more than anything, there’s a good chance they might answer something along the lines of ‘more time to myself’. Having children changes your perspective and priorities: any spare second you have becomes dominated by thoughts of all the tasks you ought to be doing. Unfortunately, this can also sometimes mean that you might unwittingly skip spending one-on-one time with your partner. This is a problem that is fairly common among couples with children, especially when the kids are young. There are, however, things you can do and small changes you can make to help the situation.
We normally think of household tasks as being enormous chores (and they are), but they have to be done. So why not make the most of that time and use it to catch up on what’s going on in your partner’s life at work? Folding the laundry, chopping food for dinner, or doing the washing up are all opportunities for you and your partner to work together and have a great chat while you’re at it. Of course, if one of you is busy at work more often than the other, then you can simply collaborate on easier things. Doing a crossword together, for instance, helps you to have a fun reason to work collectively on a non-demanding yet fulfilling task.
Spontaneous gifts and treats
It’s true that gifts don’t need to be expensive or flashy to express feelings, but it is equally true that presents are a way of demonstrating that you care. From picking up a bunch of flowers for your partner on the way home to making them a sweet treat while you are in the kitchen, spontaneous exchanges are a meaningful way of saying ‘I love you’ even when you are stressed and rushing about. That said, for bigger events like Christmas and birthdays, don’t forget that even the most adult of us like to be spoilt every now and then. Whether your other half has a taste for luxury watch brands like Panerai or a taste for high-end dining experiences, such as a night at a Michelin-starred restaurant, saving up and splashing out on a once-a-year treat is a great reminder of how much they mean to you.
We know it’s easier said than done, but after a stressful few months with the kids, there’s nothing better than finding one weekend where you and your partner can just spend some time together. Even if it’s just for one night, breaking out of your ordinary routine and creating some new experiences with your spouse is integral to keeping your sense of romance alive. Drop your kids off with relatives or perhaps one of their school friends and enjoy an activity that you haven’t done together in a while: whether that’s taking a hike, visiting the seaside or even just ordering food and having a night in.
Now this one may seem counter-intuitive, but spending quality moments with both your kids and partner at the same time is one of the best ways to strengthen your relationship. Not only does it ensure that you are both able to be present for those special moments that you can smile and talk about in the future, but it reinforces the bond that having a child together created. Building memories together and fostering the deep connection of being not just a parent but a family is one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences life can offer. Great ways to spend this time together is on holidays, day trips or even just visits to the park after school. Take a look at this previous post for more tips on bonding as a family.