February is rolling around again and that means restaurants and brands are starting to offer Valentine’s Day menus, gifts and all things heart-shaped and fuzzy. While every day can be an opportunity to celebrate love, we can’t help but wonder if our first-time parents are doing okay when it comes to romance after baby?
For many parents, bedroom dynamics may definitely change the day they bring baby home and become a party of three. For one thing, where romance lived in the past might now be a crime scene of diapers, burp cloths, spilled breastmilk and other newborn misdemeanours. In fact, Cupid may not cast his shadow on some couples for quite some time, even long after baby is no longer a newborn.
We asked some Mummies on the Hegen Telegram group what they’re plans are and for some, a good night’s sleep seems to be the most desired thing! “I have no plans,” said Phoebe Tan, who thinks that it would be particularly crowded or expensive to go out this year as Valentine’s Day also falls on the Chinese New Year weekend. “I just want to sleep early.” Fellow mum, Estelle Lee agreed laughingly. “Practical, but so true!”
Here’s the thing: there is no right or wrong when it comes to this. There isn’t a textbook definition for a right time for beleaguered mums and dads to resume intimate relations or even be in the mood for love. But if you’re ready and looking for ideas for what could work, then read on!
MAKE TIME ALONE WITH PARTNER
The first step begins with some boundary setting. Again, you’d have to agree on what works for you as a couple. Some parents are happy to co-sleep; others swear by keeping the nursery separate. The difference could be to make sure that in the day time (or perhaps on date night), the bed is made and all of baby’s things are stashed away.
Not everyone has a helper or supportive grandparents who can pitch in and babysit at a moment’s notice. But even with help, it is all too easy to coast along and make baby the central focus of every day even when they shouldn’t be.
And this attitude doesn’t just fall on mummy, but daddy too. While it’s understandable (and quite important) for newbie parents to put baby first, it is just as important that they keep sight of the other roles they play, especially to each other.
Every couple will find their groove differently but the key is intention. Otherwise it would be way too easy to push aside quality time as life partners or overlook the opportunities to show love.
So even in the throes of diaper-changing, breastfeeding or pumping chaos, come up for air and remember to look for possibilities to create some magic.
TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT
If normal has got you into a rut, then shift into a different gear. It could be as simple as setting the table for dinner instead of eating out of takeaway containers or getting out of your pyjamas for a change. Be it on Valentine’s Day or any other day or night, you might get lucky!
“The plan is to get baby into bed as early as possible, so we can have a quiet dinner undisturbed!” said Arlana, one of our Hegen Mums.
Another mummy, Alarize A, said that her husband is planning to cook dinner on Valentine’s Day and they’ve bought gifts for each other, but not bothering to gift wrap. “Baby’s bedtime is 8pm so we’re hoping catch a movie after,” she said. The couple will also do a post-Valentine’s outing together with baby.
Of course, there may be times when not having baby within sight is completely out of the question. It could be due to medical issues or perhaps your household is just not set up for you to have alone time for now.
Within the confines of this, try to be imaginative and do something, anything out of the ordinary to focus on couplehood instead of parenting - at least for a moment. And hey, even the three of you cuddling on the couch with Netflix on (while indulging in V-day chocolates maybe?) increases oxytocin production – great for nursing Mums, right?
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!
PHOTO: Unsplash/Kelly Sikkema