Having a baby changes everything. That’s not news. Your work, your money, your house—your whole life is suddenly upended by this screaming, squirming, pooping, pouting little ball of joy.

And you love every minute of it. Even when you hate it. But you expected this. From the moment you got the news, you’ve been trying to prepare yourself for it. What you might not have been prepared for, though, is how big of an impact this tiny little human would have on your relationship. 

Suddenly, you and your partner have gone from being a couple to being parents, being a family. That’s the upside. However, there’s also a downside. You’re both sleep-deprived. Stressed. Terrified of making irrevocable mistakes in this precious life that’s been entrusted to you.

And, Mama, let’s not forget the churning pool of hormones and all the physical and emotional effects that go along with the long postpartum period. With all this going on, finding time for intimacy and romance can seem like the last thing on your priorities list. 

But taking care of your baby means taking care of each other, and of the relationship you share. Not to mention it’s fun and healthy for you both! All it takes is a little bit of time and a little bit of effort to get back to who the two of you were before you became three!

Save one room for the right atmosphere

It is amazing how a little person who hasn’t even learned to walk or talk yet can consume the whole of your attention and utterly transform your world, from stealing your sleep and your focus to overtaking your living environment.

Your once stylish, meticulously decorated and furnished home is now awash in primary colors, cartoon characters, infant toys making all sorts of ungodly noises at the most unexpected and inconvenient times. Infant care paraphernalia drapes every surface. 

Suddenly, your house looks like some bad acid trip animated by Pixar. But there should be one room, just one room, that’s free of baby gear. You need a room where you and your significant other can go to decompress and reconnect, a room where you can be partners, and not just parents, again. And to do this, you need to set the stage. 

Opt for lush fabrics and soothing tones. Invest in fixtures and furnishings that make you feel calm and relaxed, sensual and romantic. An electric fireplace can be installed in virtually any room and makes for an especially cozy and seductive addition to a bedroom!

In fact, a calming bedroom infused with soft lighting, soothing scents, and no baby clutter is not only going to make you and your partner feel more romantic, but it will also almost surely make you both sleep better, which means you’ll have more energy for intimacy and romance. Win, win!

Spruce up a bit

Okay. We know it’s impossible to be a diva or a stud when you spend your day changing dirty diapers and dodging projectile vomit. It’s tough to put on a full face of makeup or catch up on your manscaping when you can’t even squeeze in time for a shower.

But setting aside just one or two nights a week for the babysitter or grandma and grandpa to take over the baby duties (what else are grandparents for?!) and give you a little time to practice some good old-fashioned self-care.

Getting a hot shower and changing out of those utilitarian mommy and daddy clothes can help you remember that you were a couple even before you were parents. So spend a little time to rediscover the dude in the dad, the mamacita inside the mommy. You’re both still there—we promise.

All it takes is a little searching. And that’s not only going to make you feel better about yourself, but it’s also going to make you feel better about getting out of mommy and daddy mode and reconnecting with your partner.

Give yourself—and your partner—a break

Rediscovering the intimacy between you and your partner doesn’t mean you have to go all Fifty Shades of Gray on each other. Nobody’s expecting anybody to be swinging from any chandeliers. In fact, intimacy doesn’t even have to be about sex—though that’s certainly a nice perk if the time and the mood are right. So give yourself and your partner a break. 

Your lives have forever changed. It’s a big adjustment. But that is precisely why connecting with your partner is so important for you both.

No one knows what you are going through better than your partner.

And no one other than your partner loves your baby like you do. So take this intimate time just to be together, to hold one another, to be quiet together. Reserve time each day that is yours and your partner’s alone, a time to just take a walk, talk about your day (but no baby talk allowed!), or just look at, touch, and be touched by this person you are sharing your life with.

Be present

The reason that baby talk needs to be forbidden from your intimate time with your partner is probably obvious by now. Having a time and a place that belongs to you and your lover alone is all about being present in the moment with your love. It’s about giving your partner your undivided attention and it’s about being the focus of their attention. It’s about loving them for who they are, and about being loved in return. It’s about feeling the physical and the emotional pleasures of cherishing and being cherished.

Yes, family comes first but what does it really mean?

Becoming a parent truly does change everything. It makes life both so much better and so much harder. It gives your life purpose and it gives your life pain. And it changes your relationship with your love.

But becoming parents doesn’t mean you can’t be lovers, too. In fact, protecting your baby’s home and family begins with protecting your relationship. Fortunately, it doesn’t take grand romantic gestures or feats of sexual gymnastics. What it takes are time and focus.

It means making your partner a priority and allowing yourself to be your partner’s priority. It means setting aside a time and a place that is for the two of you alone. You and your love will be stronger, better, healthier, and happy for it—and your relationship, not to mention your little one, will reap the rewards!

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