What could bring parents more joy than their child's graduation?
Being a parent is an amazing, albeit, tough part of some couples' lives. We know that deep down you cherish the time spent scheduling play dates and chauffeuring to sporting events. And we know that the thought of your kids growing up and becoming more and more independent tugs at your heartstrings. But don't be too melancholy.
Most mental-health professionals agree that couples become happier as their kids grow up. Here are some of the reasons why, according to YourTango experts:
1. You can spend quality time together.
It's been a long time since you've had the opportunity to really spend time on prioritizing your relationship rather than running carpools. Now is the time to to get back to date nights and renew your appreciation of each other. (Karen Sherman)
2. You can fight in peace.
As adults, you know that conflicts are part of a normal relationship, but when kids hear you having one it's scary. Now that they're out of the house, you can have your conflicts in private, allowing you to repair them properly so you can get closer. (Karen Sherman)
3. You'll stress less.
The more people there are, the more needs you must attend to. Once the kids are gone, the majority of the time you can focus on each other's needs. (Karen Sherman)
4. There's time to re-ignite the romance.
As kids become more independent, couples have more guilt-free "us" time. When kids are young, meeting their needs often takes a village, and when there is no village available—especially in the form of babysitters, grandparents, or alternative caregivers—both parents must devote almost 100 percent of their energy and time to manage and meet those needs.
When children begin to have independent lives, parents are able to redirect their resources to each other. There is nothing more odd than having a Saturday night completely free because your kids are "doing their own thing." And, when that includes sleeping over at a friend's house, that Saturday night can end up the perfect opportunity to rekindle the romance, passion and love. (Marni Battista)
5. Your activities become more mature.
Family time includes activities that adults actually enjoy versus activities that are mostly child-centered. There is nothing more amazing than taking your kids to Disneyland as a couple and realizing that you didn't even set foot in Toon Town! As your kids grow, you can share new, exciting, adventurous experiences together as a family that will strengthen your relationship like it did when you were first dating.
Whether it's riding the rapids together (and not worrying that your babies are going to drown), staying up until midnight to watch fireworks from the top of the Eiffel Tower (no more worrying about naptime or cranky babies), or going to a hip music festival (wow, you actually can enjoy the same music as your kids), these activities provide opportunities for you to be a couple within a family framework.
No doubt it's pretty romantic to have that passionate Eiffel Tower kiss when your kids aren't looking! (Marni Battista)
6. Less hands-on care means more time for you.
As children develop, they become more self-sufficient and require less hands-on care and eye-to-eye time. As constant dependence lessens over time, parents aren't so tired and "consumed." They have more time for their own self-care, their relationship with each other, and their own friendships. (Wendy Kay)
7. There is more help around the house.
When the kids can help more around the house, couples and their families can do more of the fun stuff—together and with the kids. Many cultures recruit their kids into helping with the household chores at a very young age. (Wendy Kay)
8. You can go places ... without the kids!
Couples can enjoy more date nights and travel when they feel comfortable leaving the kids behind. Whether the kids can take care of themselves or stay with a sitter or another family, a whole renewed freedom is back in their lives. Woo-hoo! (Wendy Kay)
9. You gain more "me" time.
As children grow older, they become more independent and spend much less time with mom or dad. You can actually have private bathroom time! This is a gift that parents long for, as they now have time for themselves. In return, this creates a sense of calmness, emotional peace, and harmony for mom and dad. (Dr. Sue Cornbluth)
10. You can get your "sexy" back.
When you're so tired at the end of the day from running after your young children, the last thing you want to do is have sex. Many couples will say to each other, "I'll take a rain check, honey." Remember, as children get older, mommy and daddy's energy returns and so does "sexy time." (Dr. Sue Cornbluth)
11. ... And your intimacy.
I'm not talking sexy time here, ladies. I'm talking about regaining intimacy with your partner. Time to talk, spend time together and actually having a conversation without your kid saying, "I need to go potty." As kids age, they are usually not sitting on your lap when you are trying to have a serious conversation with your spouse. (Dr. Sue Cornbluth)
12. There's more time to spend alone.
While older children need us there, they don't want to spend so much time with us. In fact, sometimes they don't even want to be seen with us! Once children get older, we can leave them alone more and go out together again, experiencing some of the freedom we had before they came along. (Sarah Newton)
13. It's easier to talk with our children about relationship matters.
While our 7-year-old may find the concept of mommy and daddy time a little perplexing, a 12-year-old will understand it a little more. Explaining to older children why you want to spend time as a couple is much easier and more likely to be understood. And when children understand more, they allow you what you need: time together. (Sarah Newton)
14. Your kids need you less.
When children are small they need you all the time. Most of your time and energy is devoted towards them and it's exhausting, leaving little energy for having a relationship with anyone else. Children grow older and require less of us in all sorts of ways, decreasing our exhaustion and allowing us to put energy into the relationship with our other half again. (Sarah Newton)
15. You are not the center of your child's world anymore.
And when you are not the center of your child's world, you can become the center of someone else's. While love is not infinite, I personally find it very hard to give all my love equally to so many people. So when your child doesn't need you in the same capacity, it allows you to fall in love with your partner all over again, in a different way. (Sarah Newton)