Holidays, nights out, drinks and dinners with friends, regular office work, coming home and spending quality time with each other – life was more or less a party for software engineer Neha and her entrepreneur husband Sharad Saxena during the first four years of their marriage. It was a perfect, couldn’t care less, romantic time, till of course, they decided to have a baby. With their little daughter now, life has definitely became more beautiful but somewhere they miss the carefreeness of it all. And what they miss more is the time they spent with just each other."Every spare minute out of office is spent with our baby. While it is great fun, we don’t seem to have any life of our own," rues Neha. "Even the conversations we have are only those related to the baby. From diapers to baby food to more serious ones about investments. Our old endless chats don’t seem important anymore. Rather there are ‘other important things’ to be discussed now," laughs Sharad.
The Saxenas are not the only ones facing the problem of ‘no alone time’, say experts. More and more couples, especially those who live without family support, find themselves in a classic case of ‘a distanced relationship’,” explains marriage counsellor Ratna Bhatt. She adds, “While most couples manage their baby well, what they fail to manage is their own relationship after the baby.
In being available to the baby at all times, they lose out on each other.
Here’s how not to fall into this trap:
1. Make your marriage a priority – Don’t make your child an excuse to neglect your partner. “Manage your baby but manage your marriage first,” explains Bhatt.
2. Pamper and indulge your wife – Your child’s mother is your first priority. Be attentive to her needs. Cater to her whims – remember she has gone through hormonal havoc.
3. Don’t be a nag – Not all men can be hands-on. But they really try. So don’t nag them about it. Be appreciative even if all your hubby does is stand behind you trying to calm the baby while you do all the cleaning and changing. At least he is standing there. He can’t do more, knows it, is helpless and still trying to help. So smile.
4. Get a life – Having a baby doesn’t mean you can’t do anything else. Go out for a movie, dinner or brunch. “Even if you take the baby along, do it. It’ll just freshen you up and make you feel normal,” says psychologist Ruhi Garg.
5. Get back in shape – Come on, making a baby isn’t the last thing in your married life. Get back in shape, do it for your husband and see the possibilities of making another baby soar! The romance and oodles of love are a bonus.
6. Dress up – And this is for both of you. Look good for your partner. Wear the colours or dress or shirt of their choice. Make them feel their opinion matters.
7. Tell the baby – Tell your little one that they have the best mum or that they should be like their dad. “This serves two purposes. It makes the child respect the parent and makes the partner feel
appreciated,” says Garg.
8. Touch, feel, love – After years of being together, you don’t need to swear undying desire or make love every day to your partner. But do keep up that loving touch, a simple hug or kiss and a random ‘I love you’ to keep that spark burning.
9. Just say it – Talk to each other. Whatever it may be about. “Random conversations also make a difference. And once in a way, tell your partner how important he/she is. And how your life and your baby’s is incomplete without them,” advises Bhatt.
New-found love:‘while mandira caters to the baby, i concentrate on her’
Their relationship is at a never-before high, say actor/TV host Mandira Bedi and director-producer Raj Kaushal. Though the couple’s world revolves around their seven-month-old son Vir, the way they perceive love and romance has also changed
Her story | Mandira Bedi
It’s true that there is no ‘alone time’ any more between Raj and me. The spontaneity and adventure in our lives has gone down by nearly 80 per cent as well. I will think twice before bungee jumping or may be even making a plan for dinner. And on holidays, like a recent one to the USA, we slept in separate rooms and in shifts because our baby took time to acclimatise himself to the new conditions. But, does all that matter so much any more? No!
I can also say that most of the time that Raj is home, he spends it with Vir, our little baby. And I am crabby and irritable on days when I don’t get sleep at night because Vir has been restless. But the romance has doubled for us. So what if the conversations are mostly around Vir and his needs? From diapers to the latest thing he did, the definitions of romance have changed. Raj and I now bond at a different level.
The fact that he says ‘thank you’ to me every single day for giving him Vir is so romantic. That he doesn’t snap back every time I lose my nerve brings me closer to him, and though he may not be a hands-on dad, the fact that he steps up wonderfully every time he senses that Vir or I need his attention has made me fall in love with him all over again. The fact that Vir looks 99 per cent like Raj and one per cent like me adds to Raj’s charm now!
His story | Raj Kaushal
I think I wanted to be a father from the word go. So yes, this is the most wonderful space that I am in. But I also realise that it is the toughest thing to be. The sense of responsibility towards your child and partner simply doubles.
After Vir, I realised it is far more important for me to take care of my partner. How can you ever ignore the mother of your child? I knew that if Mandira was in a happy space, our baby and I will automatically be happier. So, while Mandira caters to the baby, I concentrate on her.
I make sure that once in a way, Mandira disconnects. It could be a small dinner out or just time out for herself. It is very important that your own life doesn’t stop. The mother post delivery has to get her hormones back in order and the father has to be around to help.
I am not a hands-on father. In fact in India, we are blessed to find help around. But I spend a lot of time with Vir. In fact, Mandira and I spend a lot of time together and have our conversations while we are with Vir. I can give her a complete lowdown of my day while singing a lullaby to him.
Mandira has always been working and that makes her happy. I ensured she got back to it by the time Vir was three months old, so that I could be happy!
From HT Brunch, March 18
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