Valentine’s Day with a newborn? Seriously? Sounds hideous, right? Chances are one of you will have some kind of baby goop smeared on you, only one of you will have showered in the last day, neither of you have slept properly in weeks (maybe months?), one if you is wearing an industrial-sized bra with not an inch of lace on it, one of you will be thinking, “Will I ever have sex again?” and the other, “Sex? You are joking! I just want to have a pee on my own…”. Surely if you let one Valentine’s Day slip by unnoticed, then this first one with a tiny baby is the one?
We aren’t professing to know everything, but here's why we at Parental Instinct believe the first Valentine’s Day with your newborn, or small baby is the most important.
BC (Before Children, that is) it was just the two of you. Finding time to just be the two of you was easy. In fact, you never had to ‘find the time’, it just happened: a cup of tea together first thing in the morning, those 20 minutes after you get home and before dinner prep start - actually even making dinner was just the two of you, or watching a series. Just the two of you. So even if you weren't making a special effort to connect or be romantic, there were plenty of chances to just hang out and be with each other - the real ‘stuff’ of a relationship.
And now, AC (After Children), all those seemingly ordinary moments have turned into family moments. Some fraught with exhaustion, others filled with overwhelming joy - but with a baby in tow, they are about the three of you. Which means that you now have to ‘find the time’ to just be a couple, and as all those relationship counselors keep reminding us, no relationship can survive without some of this time (and therefore no family either). And whatever your feelings are about Valentine’s Day, the one thing it does do, loud and clear, is remind us to focus at least a little on ‘the two of you’.
OK, we are not talking about an all out dinner-date with red heels, sports jacket, fine-dining, flowers and teddy-bears (although if you manage that, then hats off to you!). You can make Valentine’s Day that little bit more special, despite the third-wheel. The key is to keep it simple but change the routine: it doesn't have to be big, or involve a lot of prep (we know just trying to figure out how to button up the babygrow correctly is taxing enough - although we have made that much easier with our color-coded Snap Snaps) a walk in the garden after you have put the baby to sleep, or night-time dip in the pool together, a quick picnic on the lawn or the sitting room floor, write a love note on your baby’s nappy so when your partner does the next change there it is, you could even try sex (emphasis on try), or maybe just hold hands.
However you chose to celebrate that first Valentine’s Day as parents, taking some time to deepen the intimacy between you is what it’s all about, and will set the tone for making time to ‘just the two of you” for the rest of your family life. And that may make all the difference.