Kids & Company Blog

The Slow Death, Revival and Evolution of Romance Post-Kids


Romance does not die a sudden death after a baby. It’s not there one day and poof! gone the next. In fact, mutal love and adoration of a teensy tiny baby that you and our partner created might even generate a new kind of romance as you look at each other in a new, awe-filled light. But sometimes romance does die off slowly after that, in the background of your busy, multi-tasking, many-roles life. There is so much intensity with your first baby and energy wanes for date nights and in-depth answers to “how was your day?” If more children follow, it becomes even harder as your parent to child ratio drops and life shifts into a carefully scheduled race of chauffeuring and activities and education and careers and appointments.

Let me tell you a story of rediscovering romance.

We have had a busy start to the year. I’ve been sick off and on and we’ve both had a lot going on with work. Our boys are unbelievably active (seriously, their activity level is not at all believable) and recently became roommates, reducing their sleep time and increasing their wrestling time drastically. We’ve been ticking along okay but at this phase of our life there isn’t a lot of time, sleep or romance. There are a lot of texts confirming who is picking up the kids and what we need from the grocery store. Nights where we both come home exhausted and move up the boys’ bedtime so we can nod off early too. Rushed mornings making sure more breakfast ends up in tummies than on shirts, everyone has the required outdoor garments and family hugs are had before we have a quick goodbye kiss.

That’s not to say there isn’t any show of love, it’s just not romantic: quickly getting up with the kids and letting the other sleep in; shoveling the walk before the other; agreeing to watch some terrible Netflix show to appease the other. Somewhat gone are the days of surprise trips, candlelit dinners and roses.

But one day I thought to myself, I am really in need of some extra love. Some old-fashioned and romantic love. So I waited a day but as my husband is incapable of reading my mind, I didn’t wait more. I said: “I would really like for you to surprise me. We used to do amazing things for each other and have amazing dates and trips and I miss that, but I don’t want to be in charge of planning anything….I want you to just romantically surprise me.” He is really good at listening. I knew something good was coming. I was VERY surprised when a few days later he said he needed my input for something: could I manage it with work to take a big trip to San Francisco to see my favourite band in person? It was more than I had expected, more than I imagined, and truthfully, it was more than I needed. It was incredibly sweet and wonderful that he had taken my request and gone to such lengths to fulfill it. But I had misled him. What I really wanted wasn’t anything so grand. I just wanted some simple romance.

When we were first dating, I lamented once about how cards always have too much writing in them – too many generic messages that don’t mean anything between the people sending them. That it was hard to just find a simple, beautiful card with the words Happy Birthday or maybe nothing at all; a blank but beautiful canvas to write your own message. And in a romantic gesture that marked something special in our relationship, a box of cupcakes with a hilarious, simple card with a handwritten message inside showed up on my door.

That’s what I want again. A small surprise that takes time and thought and attention. Something to show me that I am on his mind sometimes.

He relented from the big San Francisco trip and surprised me with an overnight trip to Kananaskis. I was really excited. But something even bigger happened.

I got home one day from a particularly challenging day and there was a vase of flowers and a note on looseleaf asking if I was surprised (I was, not to mention delighted). And that night as I pulled back the covers to get into a bed there was my favourite chocolate bar with another note saying ‘so the flowers didn’t surprise you, how about chocolate in bed?’. I laughed and loved it. He admitted he was being cheeky but it didn’t matter. In the morning I got in my car and there was another chocolate and note that said ‘So chocolate in bed didn’t move the needle huh? Well get this…I broke into your car and left chocolate and NOW you’re surprised!’. And I was. I was also incredibly touched. I almost teared up. Which is both really embarrassing and really reflective of how important romance is to me.

So here is what I know about romance after eight years together and two children: it won’t be the same as the early days. Romance evolves. At the end of the day, it’s about showing each other respect, love and desire.

You must ask for what you need. It wasn’t romantic to ask my husband to surprise me and show me he thought about me. But it was the right thing to do because it helped him understand exactly what I needed and it ended with me having my needs met.

Listen to your partner. Sometimes it won’t be as specific as my request. Sometimes your partner asks for something quietly or in more subtle ways. You have to really tune into each other and then act. My husband listened and responded and really delivered on what I needed. And now it’s my turn to do the same.

Melissa lives in Calgary and is the Community Marketing Manager for Kids & Company in Alberta and BC. Her vision of what she would be like as a mom was shattered three years ago when she discovered nothing ever goes as planned for parents, but laughter and community sees you through. You can reach her at msawatzky@kidsandcompany.com.

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