More Romance, Please!
Let's face it: It's hard to be wildly romantic once you have kids. It's a question of simple math: only so many hours in the day, only two of you, only two hours left after their bedtime and before yours and only one reliable sitter (if you're lucky).
*Some names have been changed.
Romance Roadblock #1
A new baby means wondering if you'll ever have a love life again.
You're sleep deprived and too busy even to go to the bathroom: Is it any wonder that romance takes a bit of a nosedive when there's a new baby in the house? "It's an intense shift in the relationship because you're moving from a 'we' of two to a 'we' of three," says Carter-Scott. To make sure you two don't get lost in the shuffle, it's crucial to carve out time to be alone together. Ideally, say the marriage gurus, you should try for a weekly date night. And if you're tempted to put it off until little Jake is walking/talking/starting school, consider this: "When it comes to romance, the more time that goes by, the harder it will be to pick up where you left off," says Carter-Scott.
Another tip: If both of you work outside the home, hold date night during the day. That's what Dan and Carolyn Bates of New York have made their love ritual ever since 1-year-old Andrew was just a few months old. "We meet for lunch once or twice a week and eat pasta and talk, the way we used to when we were dating," Carolyn says. "Since we don't have to worry about logistics, it's easier to be spontaneous and focus on each other."
Romance Roadblock #2
Your bedroom has become a playroom.
Have kids taken over your space? It's time to reclaim your bedroom as your private love nest. To get rid of TV-watching kids in your bedroom, simply get rid of the TV. Next "remove anything that reminds you of your obligations as a parent," says Debra Amador, a feng shui expert in San Rafael, California. "Ban parenting books, school forms and even pictures of your kids from your bedroom. This should be your space as a couple, not as parents, in order for romance to thrive."
To leave your intimate imprints on the room, stock it with everything from sexy souvenirs (for instance, photos from excursions you took together or robes from the hotel you stayed at on your honeymoon) to sensual goodies (e.g., fragrant candles or velvet pillows). The goal is to fill your haven with whatever makes you feel sensuous and snaps you back into romance mode. And as hard as it is to stop middle-of-the-night wanderers from crossing the border, it's essential to keep kids out of your bed, says Susan Fletcher, Ph.D., a psychologist in Dallas. "Your bed should be your space," she says. "Not only does having kids in your bed kill any romance, but kids who sleep with their parents are much more likely to have difficulty coping with separation, which means it will be harder for you to leave kids with a sitter when you two want to go out alone."