How to keep the romance alive when you're a parent.
Then the honeymoon ends and reality sets in. You figure out how to cook together, clean together and work together. You figure out how to be more than just a couple: you become a team.
Life may be a little less passionate than it was at first, but you learn how to just be together and connect while living a real, adult life, one that doesn't revolve solely around sex (although there's plenty of that, too). There's time for work, time for fun, time for romance and making love, time for lazy breakfasts on weekends, time to enjoy.
And then... children.
That's when the romance takes a slightly different turn.
I didn't have my own kids, and just skipped directly to having a 6-year-old stepson. I bypassed the less mobile baby stage and went right to the one where they ask lots of questions and have downright malicious timing. I mean, it just seems cruel sometimes.
To be upstairs with my husband, trying to steal a little grownup time, getting kind of into it, and then to hear shouted from the bottom of the stairs, "Amber? Dad? Amber?! Dad?! Could you come down here? I need you!!!!"
The child's need is immediate. His voice is dire. We have to go!
Upon further inspection, we find the crisis is not quite what we imagined.
"Amber, what would we do if zombies were real?"
Wait. What? This was the emergency? For real?
And there went that mood. Love you, honey. Let's try again later. Or tomorrow.
Waiting until he goes to bed is naturally the wisest option, but it sort of takes the spontaneity out of it. It's not like we look at each other and say, "Okay. Tonight, at 8:45, we get it on. Be showered and be ready."
But we do make the effort to devote time to each other in the evening. We put away the laptop, turn off the television and pay full attention to each other, which we might not do if that time wasn't so precious.
Keeping the romance alive with kids in the house is not impossible. As a matter of fact, the hilarity of having a little voice call out, "What are you doing up there?" has made for some of the most memorable moments of our marriage. (Seriously, try thinking of a good answer for that one. And when you find it, let me know.)
You learn to not take yourself too seriously, and to make the most of the little moments you can snatch during the day and night. So maybe there is some spontaneity to it, after all. Maybe being spontaneous is not about getting wild and crazy on the living room sofa in the middle of the afternoon.
Maybe it's about finding ways to flirt, to tease, to build up the excitement throughout the day, making the time alone in the evening that much sweeter.
For us, the best part of our day is crawling in beside each other at night. We have no distractions, no worries, just us. All alone.
Well, it works sometimes. It really does.