You’ve all heard of the saying “don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater,” and while it figuratively means not throwing out the good with the bad, by the time you’re done giving your kids a bath, sorting out their schoolwork, feeding them a lovingly home cooked meal, and then putting them to bed after a round of bedtime stories and butterfly kisses, it’s no wonder many moms are tempted to throw everything else out the door in favor of some rest and quiet time—yes, even the romance.
 
If you’re a mom, you may find that these days you’re too tired to think about anything other than work, home, or your kids (not necessarily in that order!). Forget the full body massage at the spa or the new pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing. Cancel the dinner with college buddies, and say goodbye to that out-of-town weekend getaway with the hubby. Every mom knows that the best mother is the one who puts her family’s needs before her own. This is especially true in the relationships department when we think we’re doing our partners a favor by being a good mother to their children. Right? Well, not necessarily so.

As caregivers and providers, we need some TLC ourselves. But don’t expect romance to be served to you on a silver platter. As with most relationships, it takes two.

Check out some of the tips below for suggestions on how to keep that fire burning between you and your guy—in spite of the daily go-round of parenthood.


REJUVENATE AND RECONNECT

It’s hard to think romance when you’re drained from a whole day of meetings and emails or laundry and doing the dishes. It pays to make sure you and your partner are in the pink of health. (Of course, this is another opportunity to do things together!) Try taking fitness classes together or a brisk walk around the block after dinner. Enroll in classes for healthy cuisine. Even something as humdrum as going to the dentist or doctor for a routine check-up can be meaningful when your significant other is there to hold your hand, or so to speak. Instead of spending on signature spa treatments, give each other backrubs or footrubs. It’s the personal touch that makes it special.


mommy_romance_date_night.jpgDATE NIGHT

The recent movie starring Tina Fey and Steve Carrell was an open message to all parents out there. Make it a point to designate date nights. Or days. Or afternoons. Or midnights. Just make sure you get to put aside some time to be a couple in love—and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be fancy-schmancy dinners or dancing till the wee hours of the morning. It could be any time of day where you both commit to focusing on each other. It could be sharing lunch every Wednesday or trying a new restaurant every pay day. And don’t rub it into the grind either. Just like the Fosters in Date Night, we’re all looking for something new and special, so make an effort to bring something extra to the table—be it by trying a new dish, sharing a new joke or even wearing trying on a new dress or piece of jewelry.


CHAMPAGNE DINNERS ON A BEER BUDGET

This brings us to our next point: “going out is expensive” or “I’d rather put our date money towards the kids’ immunization or school bus service.” Again, the whole concept of “couple time” is togetherness. Do not feel pressured to spend a lot just so the date will mean something. As long as you are together and are enjoying each other’s company, you could be sharing P20 worth of fish balls and still have the time of your lives. Invest in the more important components of your relationship, like getting the conversation going (and make sure you’re not still talking about the kids or bills or child-related bills!), checking in on each other’s experiences and feelings, and acknowledging each other’s needs.


DIY DATES

mommy_romance_diy_date.jpgStill finding it hard to go out? Turn your home into a romantic getaway, even if it’s only for a couple of hours. Enlist the help of willing relatives who can keep an eye on the little ones or treat them to ice cream or a few games at the arcade. Drop the kids off on their play dates then head back home and enjoy the tranquility of having the place to yourselves (and don’t forget to return the favor so other couples can rekindle the romance as well). Sit around drinking coffee, plop yourselves in front of the TV and catch up on a few episodes of your favorite series, putter around in the garden, work together to prepare a dinner or brunch for two (you can use the good china and silver to make it feel like you're at a hotel)—it’s your call. You’re king and queen for a day (well, for at least as long as Lola’s sanity is still intact!), and your home is your castle!


THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE


Don’t wait till the next night you’re together to let each other know just how madly in love you are. Leave little love notes in unexpected nooks and crannies, send “coded” text messages. If you aren’t the type to send cyber kisses or broadcast your romantic interludes on Facebook or Twitter, do it the traditional way and send each other mushy greeting cards—via snail mail! Even taking 30 seconds to scribble “I love you” on a Post-It and slip it into his briefcase or baon before he heads off to work will bring a smile to his face.


PILLOW TALK

The matrimonial bed may now have become your little ones’ playground or—gasp!—their ticket to dreamland, and while it’s fun to snuggle together with the kids while watching DVDs with a big bowl of popcorn on family movie night, once in a while, it would be nice to not have to wrestle for pillows and blankets. Organize “sleepovers” or “slumber parties” for the little ones over the weekend. Your kids and their cousins can all share a room and sleeping bags on the floor—and you’ll have the bed to yourselves. Ah, bliss! Talk to older children and explain that mommy and daddy need “time out” too. Saturday can be “Ate makes breakfast day,” and while she’s playing Martha Stewart in the kitchen, sneak back into bed together for a few quiet moments of peace and quiet.


SWEET NOTHINGS

When all else fails and you find the two of you just staring each other in the eye, remember that these are the moments that mean the most. When you find yourself dog tired and in bed, sometimes all it takes is a reassuring squeeze, a stolen glance, a shared smile to put things in perspective. You may have been the big boss for eight hours, and mommy for twelve hours more, but for that brief moment, you are the love of someone’s life—and don’t you forget it!


(Poster from Date Night courtesy of 20th Century Fox; photo source for breakfast for two: sxc.hu)

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