Starting a family always involves disruption. When there are children around placing considerable demands on your attention, you’ll almost always end up making sacrifices. Among the most galling of these is that you may end up spending less time as a couple. But just because you’ve now got family commitments needn’t mean that you lose out on that all-important one-on-one time. Here’s a few ways we try to strike a balance.
In a modern household, it’s all too easy for the ritual of mealtime to go out of the window. One parent might have a late shift to worry about; one child might be staying late after school for some activity or other. If you want quality time together as a family, there’s no better way than by sitting down with good food and chatting. If you can’t do this over dinner, then get up earlier and do it over breakfast.
When you’re all out on a family holiday, you’ll be spending pretty much every waking moment together. It’s difficult to track down a babysitter when you’re out of the country (and you might not feel comfortable doing so, anyway). Thus, you might want to look for family-friendly kids holidays, which allow you to safely slip away for a few nights.
Spending time collapsed on the sofa, having finally gotten the children to go to sleep, is not what you’d call scintillating human interaction. If this is your only experience of your other half, then the chances are that you’ll begin to associate them with exhaustion and stress. So, make a point of scheduling a regular date night. This needn’t mean going somewhere fancy; it just means that you’ve gotten a friend or relative to watch the kids for the evening.
Build Consensus with Your Partner
All of these steps should be taken together. If one part of the couple feels that the balance is wrong, then they should speak to the other party and agree a way forward. Often, this means making a conscious effort to pitch in with mundane household chores, so that there’s more time for other stuff. When you’re working with one another, rather than against one another, finding time to enjoy as a couple is much easier.
Manage Your Expectations
Finding this elusive balance is notoriously difficult. Some couples, indeed, never manage it entirely. But a partial success is better than no success at all – so be sure that you don’t expect the world, and that you learn to enjoy both the time you have as a couple, and the time you have as a family.