More Romance, Please!
Romance Roadblock #6
Your kids' schedules are eating your weekends alive.
Do you need a cruise director to keep track of all your kids' weekend activities? To ensure that your coupledom doesn't take a backseat to tae kwon do, you need to be somewhat crafty. First rule: If you have more than one child, make sure their lessons overlap. That way you and your husband can have uninterrupted time, even if it's spent just grabbing a bagel and coffee together.
In fact, it can be a major parenting mistake to let the kids' activities rule your life. So before signing them up, you and your mate should scope out your own schedule and plan your children's activities around that, says William Doherty, Ph.D., author of Take Back Your Marriage. If Saturday is the only day you two can spend together, sign your kids up for a soccer league that plays on Sunday instead.
Romance Roadblock #7
Every vacation's a family vacation.
You once cruised hand in hand down a canal in Venice; now you're taking turns waiting on three-hour lines at Disney. But even if your lifestyle has changed since your pre-baby days, you can still sneak in an adults-only getaway, says Carter-Scott. Recruit relatives to baby-sit so you can spend an amazing night or two at a local bed-and-breakfast. "To keep your marriage as hot as possible, sometimes you need an uninterrupted span of time when nobody's calling out for Mommy," she says. If a B&B is not in the budget right now, send your kids off to a fun-filled weekend at their grandparents' house and turn your own place into a cozy love cottage. During the day let your errands slide and play tourist in your hometown or the nearest city. At night collapse in bed (or on the kitchen floor) and make all the noise you want, knowing that the kids are loving life -- and out of earshot -- at Grandma's house.
There are even sneaky ways to make family vacations more romantic. Take a tip from Sonia Rogers, 32, of Brooklyn, who has found that outdoorsy vacations at the beach all but guarantee her and her man plenty of couple time at night. "When my kids are active in the sun all day," she says, "they get so exhausted that they fall asleep right after dinner, leaving my husband and me time to be alone."
And then there are those moments when you just have to be creative, as Julie Taylor, 30, of Los Angeles discovered. "When our son, Holden, was 7 months old, my husband and I decided to take a trip to Las Vegas: It's where we got married, so we thought it would be fun to bring our son there," she recalls. "We noticed right away that the room had a huge bathroom with French doors. When it was time for Holden to go to sleep, we put his portable crib next to our bed: big mistake. Every time we moved, he'd wake up screaming. So then we got the idea to move his bassinet into the bathroom and close the doors (still able to see him). He snoozed in peace while we watched pay-per-views, ordered room service and made love. I never thought I'd let my son sleep in a bathroom -- but, hey, whatever works!"