Obviously, if you have children, there’s a more than good chance that romance has played its part in your life together in the past. So why is it so hard to fan it into flame again? Here are seven good reasons why.
When you’re young and in love, bringing a child into the world together seems like a natural next step! What other decision could cement your feelings for each other so completely? It will be a little version of the two of you! Every time you look at the baby you’ll be overwhelmed by feelings of affection, not just for the child, but for your partner whose features you gaze on in miniature form.
Perhaps before children you watched your partner interact with kids and it only cemented those feelings further. But, my friends, there’s a big difference between an Instagrammable moment involving someone else’s children you can give back and your own kids who just seem to keep needing dinner. Every. Single. Night. Because honestly? The arrival of children into my relationship did bring the love. But wow. It also brought some experiences I never saw coming – and they are real romance killers.
They say that all great romance requires an element of mystery, but living, loving and working together in the daily grind that is parenthood can certainly strip a lot of that mystery away!
1. Gastro bugs
Not picky here folks – it doesn’t really matter if the gastro afflicts the kids or you and your partner (and let’s be honest, if one of you gets it, you’re all going to get it).
If the kids catch a tummy bug you can look forward to nights spent washing every piece of linen you own. You’ll be attempting to comfort your child while simultaneously not getting too close to them, because everyone knows gastro spreads like wildfire. If you’re lucky, you’ll get some sleep, but you’ll wake at every noise that might be an indication your child is destroying another set of sheets. Bonus points if more than one child is afflicted at once.
If you have fear of catching gastro, you can pretty much guarantee everyone in the house will attempt to keep everyone else at arm’s length for as long as possible, until the period of contagion expires. And if you do catch it from them, and especially if you need help because you are just so sick, you and your partner are going to get to know each other in a whole new way. But not a nice one.
2. Head lice and other things that crawl
Treating your children for head lice is bad enough – but there’s a special line you cross the first time you have to ask your partner to check YOU for head lice. There’s not much mystery left in a relationship when you’re examining each other like chimps at the zoo. And of course, everyone wants to get up close and personal with another person who they SUSPECT might have lice. This all gives new meaning to the phrase “I’ve got an itch that needs scratching…”
3. Romantic text messages are a thing of the past
Ever worried that your phone will fall into someone’s hands and they’ll come across embarrassing or compromising texts between you and your significant other? Well, worry no more! No more sexting for you – you’re just pexting (parent-texting) now. Once you’re a parent, all your texts are reduced to military-style LOCSTAT requests (“Where are you? When will you be back?”), shopping lists (“Can you get some more milk? Is the chemist open? I can’t find any dummies!”) and requests for sympathy (“The baby has been screaming for two straight hours! I’m losing my mind”) or advice (“Does this dirty nappy look normal to you?”). Sometimes these are accompanied by M-rated photos – but not the good kind.
4. The profusion of bodily fluids
Bodily fluids are a major theme of parenting, and boy, aren’t they a turn-on! Whether it’s a child who puked in your bed, an evening changing sheets after a child wet their own bed (or yours! even worse!), or just the constant feeling that there’s a lingering smell or stain on your clothing that you can’t identify – you’ll never be more au fait with bodily fluids than once you become a parent. It’s enough to make you want to have a long, hot shower. Alone.
5. Constant interruptions and unwanted visitors
Whether it’s never being able to finish a sentence, or never being sure that the kids are finally asleep, constant interruptions make it hard to fan the flame of romance.
You might be in the bedroom or even just trying to watch a movie on the lounge, but wherever you are, you can guarantee that your (non-mobile) babies will need attention and your (walking) children will need a drink, a cuddle, and for you to identify and remove a “funny smell” from their bedroom. No more Netflix and chill for you. You’ll be asleep long before you begin.
6. Late night visits to the shops for emergency supplies
What is it that you need to pick up so urgently from the shops at 11pm? I’ll tell you what it isn’t – contraception and a bottle of champagne! But it might be maternity pads, or worming tablets, or yet another bottle of kids’ paracetamol, because how do they go through it so quickly??
7. Bone-crushing fatigue
Constant overwhelming exhaustion is the biggest romance-killer there is. Tiredness is also one of the factors that makes many couples parent in shifts, meaning chances are low that they’ll ever both be awake and in the same room together anyway. After all, it’s not that you don’t want to go to bed. You want to spend hours, days in bed! Alone and unconscious.