Do any of these sound like you?
If you’re a parent of a young child or even an older kid or teen, you may utter words like these to your partner more often than you’d like. You run around taking care of laundry, cooking, cleaning, soothing boo boo’s (both physical and emotional), helping with homework, heading off conflicts and possibly have a paid job too.
At the end of the day, when there’s an opportunity for you and your partner to connect and get intimate with one another, that’s the LAST thing you want to do. Instead, you want to sleep, be quiet, take a relaxing bath, read a book of your choosing or just be alone.
You and your partner promise to go out for a date night or a weekend away, but it seems impossible to fit in. It feels like there’s no room in your life for passion and the kind of fun you used to have…before kids.
When there seems to be no time (as well as no energy and maybe no money too) for regular one-on-one time for you and your partner it can lead to: emotional distance, resentment, abandonment, dissatisfaction and the death of passion and, eventually, your relationship too.
This dismal progression does not have to be your reality. In fact, the really great news is that there’s a lot you can do to keep passion and spark alive and thriving…even if your kids are still young and even if they’re still living under your roof.
Challenge your “not enoughs.”
A major and positive shift starts when you question your beliefs. Before you try to cram your calendar with something else (like a much-needed date night), take a look at what you believe about parenting, relationships, yourself and your partner.
It’s likely that, like many people, you’ve developed a case of the “not enoughs.”
There seem to be “not enough” hours in the day. It feels like there’s “not enough” of you to go around. You assess your partner’s contribution to child care, home care or finances as “not enough” and believe you have to do it all.
This is a whole lot of lack that can drain you and kill passion in the process.
Recognize your “not enough” thoughts and question them. Notice that you need a nap, nourishing food, time to rejuvenate and then take care of those needs, but don’t rob yourself of a fulfilling relationship with limited thinking.
Ask yourself, “How can I meet my needs and stay open to connecting with my partner too?”
Trust others (especially your kids).
Keeping passion alive and well in your relationship requires you to creatively think beyond your “not enough” impulses. It also requires you to trust.
Trust that you actually DO have more time and energy than you think. Look for evidence of it and you might be surprised at how resourceful and resilient you are.
Strengthen your trust in yourself, your kids, your partner and others. Take a short nap after putting the kids to bed and then get back up to be with your partner. Find someone you can trust to care for your children occasionally so that you and your partner can go out on a date (child care trades help bypass babysitting costs). Trust your kids to be more independent and self-sufficient in age-appropriate ways. This is healthy for them and frees you up for other things…including connecting with your partner.
Re-discover pleasure with your partner.
Remember, relationship passion is about more than just making love. The more regularly you can be present and engaged with your partner– even when you’re talking about everyday topics– the more you nourish passion. The more available you can be in a conversation or a moment you share with your partner, the more passion will thrive.
Take even 5 or 10 minutes alone together to re-discover pleasure. Hold hands, stroke his or her arm, kiss or hug longer than usual and really feel pleasure in a physical way that can be non-sexual or sexual.
Give yourself permission to experience pleasure with your partner like you used to…or even better than before.
Having children most definitely enriches your life and it doesn’t have to mean a break from or the end of passion in your relationship. There’s an abundance of room for both. You can be an amazing parent AND create a close and delicious relationship with your partner too!