Keeping Romance Alive Once Baby Arrives

Baby comes first, right? But don't forget how important your relationship is. Here's how to keep it going.

Making Time

Ah, young love. You snuggle together, whispering sweet nothings in his ear. You can't get enough of his smell, his gaze, his sky-blue eyes.

Remember when you felt like that about your husband? If you're like the vast majority of new moms, you're probably directing most of your emotional energy these days toward your newest little love. But between the baby-snuggling, your post-baby body blahs, and the sheer exhaustion of taking care of a newborn, you may start to look at your partner as the nice, platonic friend who just so happens to share your bed. Romance and sex fall way down the list of things to do -- far below "Buy new Diaper Genie inserts" and "Look up recipe for pureed squash."

Happy Marriage = Better Parent

Well, let's turn that list upside down. Even if you think you're not interested in getting some nookie right now, keeping the romance alive in your marriage will not only make you a happier person, it will make you a better parent, says Ellen Kreidman, PhD, a marriage counselor and author of How Can We Light a Fire When the Kids Are Driving Us Crazy? (Villard).

"The happiest, most well-adjusted children come from a home where Mommy and Daddy truly love each other," she points out. And that affection doesn't just sustain itself -- you need to stoke the fires every so often to keep it going.

"You can't just wait for the pleasure fairy to come sprinkle some dust and have all those sensual moments magically return," says Regena Thomashauer, creator of the School of Womanly Arts in New York City and author of Mama Gena's Marriage Manual (Simon & Schuster). "You have to work on it. Pick up your Palm Pilot and schedule in time to take care of your sensual life. If you have time to walk the dog, fold laundry, and cook dinner, you have the time for a real romantic encounter."

And if you need just a little extra incentive to get it on, consider this: "Part of being a parent is teaching your children about relationships and how people love each other," says Michele Weiner-Davis, a marriage therapist and author of The Sex-Starved Marriage (Simon & Schuster). Modeling a happy relationship is one of the best gifts you'll ever bestow.

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