7 Ways Your Relationship is Different Before & After Kids
Long gone are the days of endless TV binges and bottomless mimosas. Here's a look at how your relationship has changed since childcare has taken the front seat. Watch "Brunch: Before & After Kids," in collaboration with Don't Call Me Mommy.
Life after kids is like taking a paintbrush to your blank canvas of life, adding some messy strokes of color, some glitter (okay lots of glitter), then throwing in some abstract plastic junk that just happens to stick. By the end, you wonder if this is the worst thing you've ever seen or a complete work of art. Ah, parenthood…isn't it exciting?
Long gone are the days of endless TV binges and bottomless mimosas. This tiny human requires everything you've got, and suddenly your relationship comes second to the task at hand: SURVIVAL. To help unpack this, we've enlisted the assistance of our husbands and favorite male co-stars. So buckle up, grab your partner, and see where you two shake out on how your relationship has changed after kids.
Nothing beats a cozy morning with your lover, debating which new hot spot you'll wait in line for. We'd have bellinis and lemon ricotta pancakes. It would take up most of the morning, possibly well into the afternoon, with no real end in sight.
Now, brunch outings are all about making sure we have enough gear to get us through the apocalypse. We function like a highly trained military team, running through checklists of the essentials. It's the type of meal where you get the check the moment you sit down and leave a massacre of wipes in your trail.
I'm sorry, what? Oh, those days are done. MAYBE we hit a Denny's… but only on Tuesdays when the kids eat for free.
Oh, date night. It was so sexy. We'd drink, laugh, and take crazy photos that would end up on Facebook the next day. Remember when Facebook used to be used for drunk photos? We'd have romantic dinners just the two of us, driving 45 minutes and crossing the freeway just to try that new "sushi spot" everyone was talking about or the newly reviewed Italian spot downtown. We would see where the night took us; it was so carefree.
Date night now is a well-executed plan. I have a venn diagram outlining it all so nothing goes off course. We have our nanny arrive one hour prior so I can shower, and then I have to know where we are going, how long we'll be there, and what time we'll be home. We swear we won't talk about the kids, but without fail of course we will. And if there are more than two drinks involved, you know we will be crying over their photos in the Uber home.
Before kids? It wasn't even known as 'date night.' It was just 'another night.' It started with some happy hour and ended up at some friend's house making plans for the next day. Now? The sitter is $20/hour, gotta order pizza for the kids, then the food and wine at the restaurant runs you $150—then you park, get some popcorn, and watch a $19 movie and before you know it you just spent $485 to see "Bohemian Rhapsody."
You know what I still dream about on the reg? Those glorious days when you wake up at 11 a.m. and decide you still don't need to put on real pants. We are talking OG Netflix and Chill… without any of the subtext. Where the only effort exerted is negotiating who will get off the couch to get the ice cream from the freezer. These days, long weekends mean family adventures with sandy toes and rosy cheeks. They start at 6 a.m. instead of 11, and as long as we resign ourselves to the fact that the longer the weekend, the deeper the under-eye dark circles—they can be pretty fun.
Back in the day, long weekends meant either a trip out of town, or an extra day to go on a hike, or an added day to be hungover. Now it just means there's nine birthday parties instead of six.
I remember the first trip my husband and I ever took together. I spent a week packing, repacking, and trying on 435 outfits for our Costa Rica getaway. We're talking accessories and purses coordinated with each outfit. I really used to relish in the quiet time of an airplane or car ride. That quality time with my husband where we would slow down and talk about our hopes and dreams, and that it's still not okay I hadn't seen "Star Wars."
Cut to the present: Me, shoving random stuff in a suitcase, missing essentials like underwear and face wash (it happened), hoping I have enough clothes packed to look passable for a few days. The boys have enough clothes to last them double the days we are gone AND enough first aid for a natural disaster. And no matter what, that token "blow out" will happen to you at least once. And maybe, if you're lucky, you'll get poop on both your clothes, breathe a sigh of relief that you packed a change for him, only to realize you don't have a change for yourself. Poop everywhere! Fun for the whole family!
The big drop off for us and travel wasn't after having a kid, it was after having our second kid. Our older child has been to Europe, Hawaii, and Mexico. Our youngest is lucky if he's been to the neighboring town.
WHAT TURNS US ON
Honestly, I've always been turned on by men doing household chores, but it wasn't until children that this went next level. Mostly because there are just so many more mundane chores to be done. Cook the family dinner? Okay, I'm listening. Cook dinner AND bath time? Putty in your hands. Throw in singing him to bed? Anything. You. Want.
My wife and I play a game called "Still Got it"—where we walk into stores and see if anybody stares at us or gives us "the eye." When it happens? We mumble "still got it" to each other, go home, and realize we have no time for sex because the kids have to be picked up in 15 minutes.
WHAT MAKES US CRY
Let's be real, I've always been emotional. It's called being a woman. But even I'll admit it's gotten sappy fast. Yesterday our son brought home his first "art" from preschool and when I showed it to my husband, we both started crying. Like actual tears rolling down our face, based on a piece of paper with Crayon minimal scribbles.
When Google sends you a notification about a new video it made for you, and you bawl over the epic shots of your baby's life set to a groovy tune. A robot made me cry!
WHAT CONNECTS US
I joke a lot about how having kids has basically turned us into two robots who function in the same space but different atmospheres. That may be true, sometimes. But you know what happened the second my first little boy entered the world? I immediately loved a tiny human the same amount as my husband. We now shared this little person, part him, part me. No matter how deep we are in tantrums, poop, and scheduling—we never lose sight of this immense love we both have for our boys, and how much more we love each other for it. I think that is the biggest connection you can ever have with a partner, ever. And I wouldn't trade it for anything, not even bottomless mimosas on a Sunday afternoon.
We connect over the insane and magical realization that we made a human and he has parts of us in him. So cool. Our little alien.
So there you have it!
Featuring Dads: David Smalle, Zach Selwyn, and Bruce Wexler.
Don’t Call Me Mommy is a content creation and digital influencer team comprised of Samantha Gutstadt and Haely White. Together, they’ve created the first scripted series on FabFitFun (Sorta Awesome Mom Hacks), and the hit series, Sh*t No One Told You (Mom.me), in addition to comedic content for brands and social media content. Combining their backgrounds in advertising, production, comedy, and social, Don’t Call Me Mommy is a one-stop shop for content creation. Watch their comedy at www.dcmm.tv.