Remember that? Romance.
A few weeks ago, my cousin’s wife posted a picture on Facebook of her home; decorated in hearts for Valentine’s Day. All I could think is, ugh….where does she get the energy? She has two girls; two lovely girls, I’m sure. I have four monsters. Everyday chores are more than I can bear. Adding holidays to my list of things to do is just cruel.
So sad. Everything feels like so much work! Where’s the magic? And when it comes to Valentine’s Day, I guess I should ask, where is the romance?
According to The Gottman Institute, “Research shows that within three years after the birth of a baby, approximately 2/3 of couples will experience a significant drop in relationship quality and have a dramatic increase in conflict and hostility.” It is an international social problem; one that I am not immune to. Richard and I are busy…..what romance?
So I have to put my pride aside and say Valentine’s Day is for people like me; people who need that yearly reminder that Romance is important. A reminder of the part of myself that I’ve been ignoring for too long. Before children, LOVE was everything. I engulfed myself in love poetry, held on to sentimental thoughts; danced in love’s energy….life was beautiful.
I’m reminded of the article entitled, “How American Parenting is Killing the American Marriage” on qz.com. Danielle Teller writes, “Nothing in life is allowed to be more important than our children, and we must never speak a disloyal word about our relationships with our offspring. Children always come first. We accept this premise so reflexively today that we forget that it was not always so.”
Another thing to pondor, “In the 21st century, most Americans marry for love. We choose partners who we hope will be our soulmates for life. When children come along, we believe that we can press pause on the soulmate narrative, because parenthood has become our new priority and religion. We raise our children as best we can, and we know that we have succeeded if they leave us, going out into the world to find partners and have children of their own. Once our gods have left us, we try to pick up the pieces of our long neglected marriages and find new purpose. Is it surprising that divorce rates are rising fastest for new empty nesters? Perhaps it is time that we gave the parenthood religion a second thought.”
Sadly, that’s what I sometimes think….parenting is so hard, I want to press pause on my relationship with Richard. But life is an ever-changing organic experience. I can’t press pause. Relationships can’t be frozen, to be played at a better time. While waiting for the right time to come along, things are changing, people are changing, and a relationship that hasn’t been taken care of will fall apart.
And for those of you who still feel that children need to be our number one priority; further research has shown that relationship discord and conflict have a profound negative effect on infants and toddlers (and no doubt, on the development of our adolescent children as well).
I guess it’s very timely I am just starting to offer the Bring Baby Home Program developed by the Gottman’s at The Relationship Research Institute in Seattle. The goal of the program is to improve the quality of life for babies and children by strengthening the parental relationship.
And what about my relationship with Richard? You may ask. I have all the literature and research summaries on how to maintain a solid relationship; and it’s all very helpful. It really is. Just looking through the literature floods me with wonderful memories of our shared love.
How do I get over my “ugh” for Valentine’s Day? William Shakespeare wrote, “Sweet love, renew thy force….do not kill the spirit of love with a perpetual dullness…” I found solace and a renewed energy in those long forgotten love poems I used to read in my youth. I didn’t just brush my ambivalence away or accept my frustration over preparing for “another holiday” as the current state of affairs. What I’m trying to say is I’m making an effort to look for Romance and I’m finding it everywhere. Remember my blog, “Travelling with Children”? I explained that we can look at things in different perspectives and make arguments to prove each perspective right. I’m finding proof that there is Romance everywhere and Valentine’s Day gives us a wonderful moment to celebrate love.
Happy Valentine’s Day!