The Lifestyle Mom, Dana Hilmer, offers tips for parents trying to keep the romance alive after the baby arrives.
Rene: Hi everyone, I'm Rene Siler. Well in honor of Valentine’s Day, we've got some help for all the parents our there who’s relationship has suffered after having a child. Oh, don’t we know how that works. Joining us is the lifestyle mom Dana Hilmar. And Dana brought the book “Blindsided by a diaper day in a high”. I love that title by the way. Dana: Thank you. It explains it, doesn’t it? You're blindsided, you're caught off guard. You know it's a surprise, all things change once you have kids. Rene: Why is that? What happened exactly in the first year after you have a child? Dana: Well you know they say the first year after having a kid is the year that more divorces happen than any other year except for the first year of marriage. And I think a lot of these people aren’t prepared to change their life. They’re not prepared to look at their life for what it is now and change it accordingly. It's like they’re trying to plug their old life into their new one and you need to kind go with the whole new flow. Rene: Now, but does that mean—what if you have a healthy marriage going into it? Dana: I think when you have kids it makes you more what you were to begin with. So, if you have a healthy marriage, healthy communication, you're patient with one another. That will show up more when you have kids. If you don’t have that, that’s also going to show up more. Rene: So, it makes you more who you are. Dana: Yeah, it's like when you a child, it sort of exposes all the sort of— Those babies, they really are—they take so much out of you. You really do have to sort of concentrate on the primary relationship. Rene: You do and I think the big thing is you have to focus on each other. You’ve got more demands on your time but you still need to prioritize each other. In fact one of the essays in blindsided about diaper talks about Susan Tovar’s essay talks about not dropping the ball on your spouse. And that’s a big thing, prioritize each other and don’t drop the ball on each other. Dana: You have something you call the four Cs. Rene: The four Cs. Yeah, let run through those. The first one is what? Dana: The first one is communicate. It's probably the most obvious but probably the most difficult. I think you know when you have young kids especially it's hard to finish a thought, not to mention a sentence. You know and to have an adult conversation but the challenge is and this helps couples tremendously is to sit down for five or 10 minutes at the end of each day, stop what you're doing, look at each other in the eyes and talk about what’s important to you and what your day was, no duelists, no logistics. You got to let that go and just talk with your partner. Rene: You say connect is the second one. Dana: Connect, yeah and you know it's interesting they say that we don’t remember days but we remember moments and that’s really great for parents because we don’t usually have a whole day together. So, moments are key and capture and savor those moments together whether it be learning something new together, just laughing. You know of course if you want to put the kids in front of the TV so you can have a little time by yourself. Rene: Yes, I know what you mean when you're saying that because she does that. Dana: I don’t know what’s appropriate for TV. Rene: Well because you did say at one point, you need to sort of have that connection and intimacy. Dana: The intimacy and also I think a lot of what is so wonderful before you have kids is that spontaneity in your relationship. And you need to bring some spontaneity back. And so, even if it's plan spontaneity you know. Plan that time alone in your room or plan that time that you cans it down and share a cocktail together, but you need to have that. Rene: You also say create and celebrate. Dana: Create is to create some plans that are the plans for your dreams together as a couple. So whether you're dreaming about you know taking sailing lessons together or buying a second home, you need to have dreams that you're working towards together and also creating traditions. So whether that’s the big tradition that you know you want to do every year or more importantly the daily and the weekly traditions that are important to you, whether it be have a cocktail at the end of the day or you have movie night on Wednesday night or you sit down and have diner together after the kids are on bed on Saturday night. It's those little traditions that you look forward to and that’s really key for keeping you together. Rene: And secret that you share together and that it's sort of fuel for the fire of your relationship. Dana: Live in the moment is huge. This time goes so fast and I think like I said in the beginning, a lot of people take their pre-kids life and try to plunk it into their post-kids life and that doesn’t work. Live in the moment, look at what you have. You have this amazing life together. You’ve created an amazing life together. So, I think a lot of it is just appreciating it for all of its lumps and bumps and imperfections. Nothing is perfect but go with it and enjoy it. Rene: There are a lot of lumps and bumps but you're right, you have to enjoy those as well as the little great things. All right Dana, thank you. And to sign up for Dan’s free newsletter, you can go to lifestylemom.com. And make sure you check out my new social networking site, it's called goodenoughmother.ning.com. We’re having a lot of fun over there, come join us.