Valentine's Day is just around the corner. But if this is your first Valentine's Day since becoming parents it might feel a lot different from past ones. You may not even notice or care that it's February 14th.
And that's because keeping the romance alive with a new baby is hard. But it's not impossible.
You may be struggling to find time for even the most basic things - like showering - right now. But trust us, it's important to still find time for your partner. That's because a baby is tough on a marriage.
You are discovering yourself as a mother or a father or a parent for the first time and also discovering that taking care of a new baby is not easy. You may be overwhelmed, frustrated, and sleep-deprived and all of this can lead to arguments and resentment with your partner.
But remember, you've just embarked on one of the biggest journeys yet with this person - parenthood. So it's always worth the investment of time to keep that foundation solid.
Let's stay realistic here, though. We know you can't spontaneously jet off to the Caribbean for a week of sun and cocktails. No, if you can get even an afternoon away from diapers and bottles, you're doing great.
So what can you do to keep the romance alive during this first year with a new baby?
Make time - even the smallest amount of time - to reconnect with one another each day. Try to dedicate as little as 15 minutes to some adult conversations where you talk about anything but the baby. Find out how things are going at work with your partner. Ask if they've read any interesting articles or blogs recently. Discuss the things that you used to spend hours talking about before you became parents. Those people still exist, remember.
Be kind to one another.
This can be a time in your relationship where even the slightest annoyance can really set you off. And that's normal - you probably haven't slept more than 3 hours straight for months. But instead of totally losing your sh*t when you discover that your partner forgot to restock the diaper bag, try to take a few deep breaths and think about something amazing that they have done recently. And then tell them about it. A few nice words and kind actions can really go a long way to making your partner feel special and helping you remember why you had a child with this person in the first place.
I know, I know. Scheduling romance sounds like the least romantic thing possible. But when you're in survival mode - and that first year with a new baby is exactly that - you just do what you have to do. And scheduling dedicated time to do something nice with your partner is something you need to do. Ask the grandparents to spend some time with baby one afternoon or hire a sitter for a night out. And if you can't do that, then have a date night at home after the baby has gone to sleep. But you have to do something. Otherwise, months will pass and you'll look at your partner and not even remember the last time you did something romantic together.
So, this Valentine's Day there may not be any grand sweeping gestures of love and that's okay. You are in survival mode, remember. But don't forget to do a little something to keep the romance alive with your partner - write a sappy love note, tell your partner what a great job they're doing, or eat leftovers by candlelight.
Just remember why you fell in love with this person in the first place.