For many new parents, getting the chance to really have enough quality time to focus on themselves as individuals, bonding with Baby, and each other can be a huge challenge. If you’re finding it difficult to find enough time in the day for some one-on-one time with your partner, here are a few ideas that might help.
1. Have a separate napping room
If Baby is fussy at night, you might be used to keeping him in your room with you to cut down on walks to the nursery. That’s totally understandable. For naps however, you may want to keep Baby in his own space. Just because you share your bedroom with Baby at night, doesn’t mean that space belongs to him, and naps can make for some prime alone time.
When you set Baby down for a nap, step away and let the central relationship in your world be about the two of you – for 20 minutes or so, at least. Watch a little TV, talk about your day, or cuddle in bed. This bit of time belongs to you.
2. Baby as a house guest
Just because Baby is in the room doesn’t mean he needs to be the center of attention all of the time. That might sound a little harsh, but it’s true. You can love your baby, hold him close, and be attentive to his needs without letting hovering over him take up all of your time.
This realization can help relieve a lot of the stress many new parents feel. Pick a night to give yourself a break from the baby talk and act like a normal adult. Think of Baby as a regular house guest – just one that occasionally poops himself.
Another tactic is to shift focus to your partner is to try and spend an evening giving your partner as much attention as you usually give Baby – and ask them if they’ll do the same for you. Dote on them, snuggle them, pay attention to what they might need or want, just like you do with Baby. You might discover something about how much time and energy you spend on Baby, and might figure out a way to balance that energy throughout your little family.
3. Do something nice for yourselves at home
In the same vein, it can help to occasionally declare that an evening is about the two of you. Cook a nice meal together or do whatever simple thing that the two of you enjoy together, on your own. It’s easy to forget to do this kind of reconnecting, and sometimes you just have to make an event out of it.
4. Brief babysittings
When you think of a babysitter, you might think of a teenager coming to your home and eating all your ice cream for a few hours while you and your partner go to dinner, but it doesn’t need to be that every time. A grandparent or other loved one who has experience with children might be able to watch Baby for an hour or two.
Think about trying to arrange some regular relief like a friend or relative who can stop by once a week for an hour during their lunch break or right after work. If they can keep an eye on Baby, you can take a quick moment for yourself and your partner. It’s a lot easier to get help when you aren’t asking for people to give up an entire evening.
5. Just set Baby down
We’re not asking you to abandon your child! However, putting a fussy baby down for 5 minutes while you go take a quick mental break is absolutely fine. It’s always a great reminder that even though Baby is a huge part of your life, he isn’t in control of it.
Try laying baby down, grabbing your partner’s hand, give your partner a kiss, and tell them a reason you love them. These brief bouts of intimacy can be a lifesaver for your mental health and your relationship.