It's not as easy as it used to be, so it's time to get creative!
Sometimes it seems like the Rolling Stones were really singing about parents of infants and toddlers in that rock 'n' roll classic "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," right?
It's true, parents of young children face challenges with free time, sleep and intimacy every single day. The problem is even bigger for many single parents who don't have a committed co-parent to help share childcare responsibilities with.
Here are 5 tips to keep your romantic life alive and find that "satisfaction" you're craving … and help you be a better parent at the same time!
1. Recognize that self-love and compassion is the place to start for new parents.
Before you can even think about making time for intimacy and gratification, you must decide that it's worthwhile. Parents of small children need to recognize how important personal satisfaction and intimacy are to promote stability and happiness.
The kind of touch adults enjoy when sharing intimate moments generates powerful hormones that lead to more satisfaction in life.
A parent who invests the time and effort to maintain intimacy and physical connection with a romantic partner is happier, more resilient to the natural upsets of raising little ones and, overall, more effective throughout the day. In addition, children benefit greatly from living with a parent who is stable, happy, and … satisfied.
2. Create a plan for making it happen.
Babies and toddlers invariably want you to hold, rock, feed, sing to or change them at delicate times throughout the night. Sometimes a baby will insist on falling asleep next to you and will settle for nothing less!
Create a plan for making time for personal intimacy during nap and bedtime. List your ideas, gather the supplies, and put them in action one or two at a time; record the results as you go! Keep the winners and change the losers until you have designed the ultimate baby bed or nap time routine.
3. Make baby's bedtime soothing and relaxing to create a habit of easy bedtime.
After dinner, dim the lights, play soothing music and give baby a warm and gentle bath. Then read or sing to your little one and begin to establish a consistent and gentle bedtime.
Avoid loud noises, cell phones, flashing lights of television and other electronic distractions that will wake baby up. When baby sweetly drifts off to sleep, you slip off for your personal time.
4. Make baby's room the ONLY place she wants to be.
Fill the space with nature sounds or sweet soothing tunes throughout the night. Babies are less likely to awake because of noises outside their bedroom, and more likely to go back to sleep if outside noises disturb them.
Natural lavender and vanilla oils work well together to make a soothing and relaxing fragrance that helps babies drift off to sleep. Use an infuser or even create your own natural room freshening spray by placing a few drops of each oil in a small spray bottle filled with water; shake and spray into the air to make the room sleep-ready!
5. Once your baby is asleep, use a monitor to help you keep track of baby while behind a locked door of your own bedroom.
Parents of little ones will have more freedom to focus on romance and intimacy when they know their babies are sleeping safely and soundly in the next room. Turn the monitor up so you are sure to hear if baby needs you even while you focus on more engaging things.
If this plan fails, drop your baby with the in-laws or a trusted friend for a few hours so the two of you can reconnect intimately.
Also try to enjoy short, intimate moments throughout the day. Although long luxurious romps under the sheets are on hold while your children are young, you can learn to embrace the 30-second kiss and the passing-by fondle.