Ten Ways Marriage Changes After Kids
Well, February is here at last so it’s officially time to talk about romance and relationships!
My husband and I have been married for 12 years and we are the mostly proud, sometimes proud-ish, occasionally completely mortified parents of two young boys. A lot has changed since our dating years but some things have stayed the same. We’ve always loved hanging out together and bringing kids into our family hasn’t changed that. We are still the fun loving, care free couple that we once were. I mean, maybe it takes a significantly larger amount of caffeine and Tylenol to achieve that status, but whatevs!
Before we had kids we enjoyed going out on dates, meeting up with friends and spending time discussing everything from pop culture to politics. And, ya know what, we still do most of those things! You can rock your marriage and live a full life after you birth your tiny tyrants. It’s just that the activities you loved pre-kids now look a little, ummmmm, different...
To drive the point home I’ve compiled a list of the top ten ways interacting with your spouse is basically, but not really, the same after you pop out an extra person or two. Here we go:
Number 1. We still like to look good for each other. It’s important to keep that spark alive, right? Sometimes you have to go a little out of your way and show your partner that you’ve still got it!
Before kids: “Hey, babe! I put on this sexy little black dress just for you!”
After kids: “Hunny, look! I put on my “dressy” black leggings just for you! No, seriously. This is, like, my best pair.”
Number 2. Being able to carry on a meaningful conversation about current events with your spouse shows that you still share the same interests. It’s a great way to stimulate each others minds. We definitely have continued to share our deep thoughts:
Before kids: “So, do you think Congress is going to pass that sustainable energy bill? I was watching CNN today and they had a guest on there making some great points...”
After kids: “So, do you think Mickey and Minnie are dating or, like, just friends? I was watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse today and they were giving off this weird vibe. I don’t know what would have went down if Pluto wasn’t there...”
Number 3: We used to stay up until all hours of the night on a regular basis and that is still part of our nightly routine.
Before kids: “It’s 1 am and were still up. Wanna start a movie?”
After kids: “It’s 1 am...WHY IS HE STILL UP! Does he seem like he has a runny nose at all? Cause if so I can slip him some Benedryl guilt free.”
Number 4: We love hanging out with friends. We used to see our friends all the time and we had some amazing nights together. I’m proud to say we still make plans with our friends. Most of them have kids too now so it’s changed our hangouts a little but it’s, like, basically the same:
Before kids: “The Smiths wanna meet us in Boston at that new sushi place at 9. We can eat and have a few drinks there then we can go for a nightcap at the cigar bar you guys love!”
After kids: “The Smiths wanna meet us in their living room for pizza at 4:30. We can eat and have a few drinks there while the kids run around and then be home for a nightcap by 8.”
Number 5: Date nights are an important part of any healthy relationship. Going out for a bite to eat without the distractions of home helps any couple reconnect:
Before kids: “Want to go to this restaurant? Food and Wine magazine did a piece on their chef’s 7 course tasting menu complete with wine pairings and I want to give it a try. We can make a full night of it.”
After kids: “Look! I found a Groupon for that restaurant we wanted to try. Let’s go out to eat tonight. But don’t get fancy and think you’re ordering appetizers. You get free chips and dip. And no dessert either. I told the babysitter we’d be home by 9.”
Number 6: Eating out is great but sometimes there is no substitute for a romantic night in.
Before kids: “Hey there, let’s stay in tonight. I bought us a bottle of champagne and we can play romantic music and dance around the house all night!”
After kids: “Night in? Order Chinese food and fall asleep on the couch while trying to clear the DVR? Sounds good.”
Number 7: We’ve always liked a good party! And we can still rip it up all night like the old days! The next morning, however...
Before kids: “Man that was a good time! Thank god we get to sleep in tomorrow! Movie marathon in bed while we recover?”
After kids: “Wow! What a party! I will detail your car if you get up with the kids tomorrow. NO? What about I buy some new super skimpy undies and model them for you? No? REALLY?!?! Ugh. FINE! Rock, paper, scissors, shoot...”
Number 8: It’s nice when couples show that they are paying attention to their partners physical appearance by noticing any subtle changes in their look:
Before kids: “Your hair looks really nice today! Did you have it done?’
After kids: “Your hair looks like it has peanut butter in it. Want me to get it out?”
Number 9: Keeping the romance alive in a relationship can be a real struggle after you have kids. We like to find creative ways to keep other turned on:
Before kids: “I’m not wearing any underwear under this dress...I wanted to be sexy and spontaneous for you!”
After kids: “S*#!! I don’t have any clean underwear! I did all the kid’s laundry this week and none of mine! Guess I’m going without. Does that turn you on? Ok, cool. Whatever works.”
Number 10: Finding time to just be together and appreciate what you have is a great way to keep your relationship healthy and thriving! We’re all busy so sometimes that takes a little bit of work. But we get there eventually:
Before kids: “I feel like we haven’t spent any real time together lately. Want to go away this weekend? I have a meeting Friday afternoon that I’ll move and we can take off early. We can go for long walks and have picnics and sleep till noon! We can have drawn out meaningful conversations about hopes and dreams and where we see ourselves in 10 years”
After kids: “God! I feel like I haven’t seen you all week! Do you have any time after morning drop off and before work to hug or something? No? Ok, what about I leave a little late for soccer practice and we meet in the front hall for a high five? Then we’ll reconvene on the couch around 9:30 and have short but meaningful conversations about Carter’s science grades and Grant’s art camp he has coming up next month.”
So, see? Marriage often changes over time but building a family doesn’t have to mean giving up your relationship with your significant other. It’ll test you, that’s for sure. But with some creative little tweaks to your schedule, and expectations, you can keep the romance alive and well!