Can Romance & Kids Mix?

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If there’s one thing we’ve all learned from the likes of Beyoncé, Jessica Alba and Angelina Jolie, it’s that the concept of ‘I’m not a woman, I’m a mom!’ is yesterday’s news. MILFs used to be rare and storied creatures – no more! The only trouble is, the ‘F’ in MILF can be hard to come by when the kids that made you an ‘M’ in the first place are hanging around putting a damper on romance.  It’s not that you don’t love them, it’s that, you know, you love someone else too. I mean, how do these kids think they got here in the first place?

Avoid the temptation to throw up your arms and settle into a state of I-give-up (usually characterized by jammies, microwave popcorn, a couch and a Glee Box Set). There are ways to keep the romance alive, as well as your kids.  Here are a few tips toward raising the bar from “it’s your turn to check the baby” to “oh, yeah, baby!”

Start Small

His butt – it’s right there within arm’s reach! Pinch it when you’re walking by. Wrap each other in a hug for apparently no reason at a surprising moment. Sticky notes are just begging to be scribbled with suggestive messages. At night, put on lipstick and kiss the mirror so it’s the first thing he sees when he goes to shave the next morning. Send a sexy midday text. Romance doesn’t have to be all about grand gestures. Find romance whenever and wherever you get the chance.

Communicate

“Hi, honey. How was your day?”  Do you ask this question every evening?  And how many times have you actually listened to the answer? Communication, as a rule, entails both talking AND listening. As people tasked with keeping smaller people fed and bathed on a daily basis, things can get very utilitarian and rote very fast. Check and make sure that you and your partner are exchanging words about more than diapers and bills. Dreams for the future, gossip from work, even last night’s MasterChef – anything goes, as long as you’re both really tuned in to what the other is saying.

DATE NIGHT

Did I put that in all caps? Darn right I did. I can’t emphasize the importance of date night enough. This can be a tall order, sitters must be arranged, reservations might be required, planets must align. Still, if you can make it work, it can truly have nearly the effect of a time machine, whisking you back to the days when you sat across from each other at a table and talked and laughed. If date night simply cannot be arranged, plan something specifically romantic for after the kids go to bed. Even just turning the TV off and listening to music by candlelight counts.

Get Creative

If you have a little one, there’s a chance you’re sharing your bedroom with a third party. Logistically speaking, that’s just not a situation ripe for romance. But look on the bright side: here’s your chance to have sex in all those crazy places people do in movies! Laundry rooms aren’t just for laundry anymore. Share a shower in the morning. Move the booster and do it in the backseat of your car like the old days. There is just no excuse to allow yourselves to slip into the land of blah.

Don’t Be Shy

Within reason, you don’t need to hide all the romance from the kids. A former boss of mine whose parents were married for over sixty years used to reminisce about watching her parents dance in the kitchen. Affection between parents makes a happy home and sets a good example for your children’s future relationships. Flirt, laugh, hold hands! Being a happy family is a pretty romantic notion after all. It’s the ‘happily’ in happily ever after.

Having children is doubtlessly one of the most rewarding rollercoaster rides out there. Parenthood certainly changes the landscape of a relationship, but it doesn’t need to turn into the Sahara Desert. The most important rule of thumb is to not let parenthood become an excuse to get lazy about romance. Like all good things, romance takes a little elbow grease. And other lubricants.