By Mayim Bialik, Ph.D.
Author of Beyond the Sling
More than almost any other aspect of attachment parenting, I’m asked about my relationship with my husband. Nurturing a relationship with your spouse once you have had kids is challenging any way you cut it, but imagine your kids sleeping in your bed (with no other bed to go to) and breastfeeding on demand every 2 hours for the better part of many months and—if your nursling is anything like mine—the better part of YEARS. All night.
Let’s just get this over with: We don’t have sex when our kids are in the bed. Houses come with many rooms (as do most apartments), so we have to be a little bit creative, which is important anyway in a marriage, wouldn’t you agree?
Once I had kids, I simply had to accept that my husband and I could not do the things together that we used to do the same way. We might be able to do versions of those things, but I realized early on that I had to stop trying to make us feel like a childless couple. We’re simply not and that’s OK! This is a phase of life. It won’t last forever, and the moments you get to share now with your children, you will long for soon enough.
Romance has shifted a lot in our marriage, and it sometimes means allowing my partner the space to be alone, sleep late, or go out with friends while I handle bedtime solo (and vice versa). That’s a far cry from fancy ridiculous lingerie, rose petals in a bathtub (something we actually never did), or a fancy French dinner with a good game of footsie, but what often ignites passion for a spouse is when they show compassion and understanding of our stresses and struggles to stay sane amid chaos. And it turns out that that can be pretty appealing and attractive.
As for carving out time “for us,” as attachment parents, we have chosen to not have weekends away, dates, and a lot of time “for us” right now. It has made us dig very deep in our emotional well and we have come up with buckets full of surprises amidst all of the challenges and doubts. We get to be parents together, which is one of the reasons we chose to get married, and we get to love each other in a whole other way now—with the combinations of our genetic codes and all of our hard work and love cracking us up as they run around the house at full speed (naked) growling like wild boars. Isn’t that what a relationship should look like? Right now, we’re pretty sure the answer is yes.