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Throwing Romance Out With The Bath Water

“Gosh can you believe it, P is upset with me because I don’t want to go for a movie. He actually called me a psycho. How does he expect me to spend three hours on a Sunday watching a movie when I’d rather spend it at home with baby? I work all day and see baby only in the evenings.

Husband Or Baby? - Throwing Romance Out With The Bath Water

Plus I often have to work on a Sunday so the one Sunday that I am free why would I want to spend it in some weird theatre seeing a weird movie???” and the rant went on and on as my daughter complained that her husband was being unreasonable with his demand of going for a movie and how he didn’t think it important enough to spend their Sunday with the baby. How different her reaction was from their days of courtship or even when they were newly married when they saw almost every movie in town just to be together!

Having a baby changes your life: making it topsy-turvy in ways you never imagined. With baby making demands on your time and energy you find yourself strapped for everything – money, time and romance. You literally throw out romance with the bath water and everything in your life is baby centric – your purchases, your conversations and your activities. Initially it is quite understandable for one hardly feels anything remotely romantic when you are grappling with caring for the baby – especially if you are first time parents. Everything is new and quite unlike what you expected or what anyone ever told you and both of you are equally overwhelmed.

Luckily fathers these days are quite supportive and often help their wives through this difficult phase actually participating in basic care like changing nappies, bathing babies and even rocking them to sleep on some nights. But men have their limits and very often the baby begins to hold its head, their patience begins to wear thin and they begin to bite at the bit. They feel stifled and claustrophobic and actually miss those moments of unplanned activity like going for a walk, grabbing an ice cream or just staring out at the sunset. Babies re-set all your clocks and priorities making baby care the paramount activity in a mother’s life. With everything revolving around baby related schedules – the baby’s bath time, the baby’s nap time, the baby’s feed time , the baby’s blah blah and blah, it is no wonder that new mothers let new fathers slip to the bottom of the priority list albeit unknowingly.

However, there is no need for this. Even if child rearing is tough, one shouldn’t forget that husbands too need attention. Similarly, husbands too should realize that new mothers do get tired and are trying to cope with so much – baby, hormones, advice, job and heaven alone knows what. So both father and mother have to make time for themselves to be themselves and leave baby out of their equation – at least for an evening.

This was the best advice my daughter was given by a cousin of mine who dropped by this afternoon. Having successfully managed a career and motherhood , she shared the secret of her equally successful marriage – making a date night with your husband – at least once a month. Get your in-laws to help with the baby sitting, she advised; not only will they welcome the idea of having their grandchild to themselves all of one evening, but will also love the fact that you are going out with their son!

I completely agree with her. So you mothers and fathers both young and old mothers who have somehow forgotten romance :

  • pick one evening or day in the month where you spend time together exclusively in the company of each other.
  • make it special by dressing up or at least dressing carefully,
  • go to some place where you are unlikely to meet friends and relatives and
  • above all don’t mention the baby

This simple activity will not only make your love stronger but will actually de-stress you. For once your baby is not the centre of your attention- you are. And the added advantage of course will be the grandparents bonding with their grandchild. While I am not a great fan of Valentine’s Day, you could well start off with February 14th to set Operation Date Night in motion. Incidentally, new grandparents too can take heed for often times new grannies like me tend to get so engrossed in taking care of grandchild that they slowly begin to forget grandpa who is really getting the short end of the stick with this shift in parenthood.

As a mother of two thirty-year old daughters and a grandmother of a nineteen week old grandson, Sunita Rajwade has been there and done that. A hands on mom, she has seen two girls grow successfully through baby hood, toddler hood, adolescence and adult hood; solving their maths problems and contributing to their angst of growing up with a mom “who doesn’t understand”. But now as a grandmother, she’s being appreciated for her “wisdom” and “understanding” and would like to share my experiences of this wonderful journey from motherhood to grandmotherhood