You’re knee-deep in laundry. It’s 10 p.m. and you forgot your preschooler needs to take snacks tomorrow. Your second grader wants home lunch and you haven’t gotten groceries in a week. A work project is sucking the life out of you and your husband is gone on a business trip.
That’s a long way from the early years of flirty date nights, happy hours, sleeping in and romantic gestures. So, does your love life change after kids? Yes.
It’s more practical
If my husband left a trail of flower petals in our house that ended at a dozen roses and a new piece of jewelry, I’d be annoyed. Somebody would have to clean up all the petals (me) and I’d rather have a new oven. But, that’s not a bad thing. We’re just in the phase of our life where practical things mean more than grandiose gestures. A movie, good bottle of red wine, and a pizza fresh out of that new oven would be my idea of a pretty awesome gift.
The little things matter
Stepping in and doing the little things for your partner is key to maintaining your love life after kids. My husband always takes out the trash. When he’s having a busy week, I try to do it. He kicks me out of the house when he’s been working late all week so I can go be somewhere (like Target) without kids pestering me. The little day-to-day things go a long way when your days are filled with raising tiny humans.
Change the conversation
It’s easy to get totally consumed with the tiny human you created. Pretty soon, all your conversations start revolving around diapers, feeding, weaning and all the cute things they do. That doesn’t change when they’re older. You’ll be talking about schedules, school projects, and signing up for the next activity.
In fact, we ruined our last anniversary dinner attempting to schedule out a busy stretch we had coming up and ended the night completely annoyed with each other. Happy 12th anniversary to us! It’s a mistake we won’t make again. When you pay a babysitter and put on lipstick, make a hard rule that you’ll only talk about kids and schedules for 10 minutes and then switch to something else. You know, like the random stuff you talked about before kids consumed your time.
Leave your kids
Before kids, it was easy to grab coffee, hit up happy hour, or leave town for the weekend. After kids, things like that take scheduling. Even if it’s not possible or you’re not comfortable leaving your kids overnight, try to snag an hour or two of solo time with your spouse once in awhile so they don’t start to feel like a roommate! Or, make a point to hang out together after the kids go to bed rather than do chores or get lost in the endless scroll of your phones.
Your love life
But, does your love life change after kids? Yes and no. The spark is (hopefully!) still there but the kids are, too. So, you might need to make some adjustments.
Your definition of sexy will probably change. Sure, my husband looks awesome with a freshly-shaved beard in dark jeans and a button-down shirt, maybe with a little cologne. But, he’s a heck of a lot sexier unloading the dishwasher, playing catch with our sons, or building an epic snow fort.
Up all night with a baby? Sleep is probably going to outweigh anything else you want to do at night so make time for sex during a different part of the day. It sounds crazy before you have kids but you might even need to schedule it from time to time.
And my last piece of advice in this area? Put a lock on your bedroom door and use it. Kids have a way of creepily wandering around at night and locks prevent unfortunate situations for everyone!