MomPower Contributor Kelli Lund

Once upon a time, marriage was romantic. There were weekend getaways, nights out dancing, dinner at romantic restaurants, flowers and chocolates “just because,” impromptu midnight picnics so you could look at the stars. It was so easy to remember why you fell in love. Then came baby.

Now weekends are spent trying to catch up on cleaning, nights are spent changing diapers, dinner is usually late and very simple, all your extra spending money now belongs to the never-ending diaper fund, and by the time midnight rolls around you’re so exhausted you want nothing more than to crawl into bed and fall asleep. So how do you keep your romantic love going strong?

As a young mother, I have learned that grand romantic gestures just aren’t as feasible as they used to be. For the most part, you can expect every moment with your husband to include baby as well. That’s why it is so important to make sure the two of you do get some alone time. We try to aim for one date night (or day) a month where we find a babysitter and go out, just the two of us. Getting to know your spouse is a never-ending process, and these special dates ensure that we are constantly renewing our friendship and relationship with each other. We have to make sure we are getting “couple time” in addition to “family time.” But what about all the other days when the monotony of dirty diapers and keeping baby happy threatens to snuff out all hope of romance?

What I have found works for my husband and me is to fill our day with small romantic gestures. Every morning before he leaves, my husband kisses me goodbye. And every evening when he comes home, I greet him with a kiss and a smile, no matter how exhausted or stressed out I may be feeling. I try to say “I love you” at least once a day. Another thing I love to do is flirt with my husband. Nothing over-the-top that would traumatize my children, but a flirty smile across the dinner table, or a quick wink from across the room. And when we finally turn in for the night, I always try to fall asleep cuddling with him (or at least holding his hand if it’s too hot to cuddle). These small gestures take no extra time, and very little effort, but they make such a huge difference in our relationship. They fill our day with tiny instances where it’s just us, expressing our love for each other. Then baby cries out, and we’re back to reality. But at least then we can look at each other, smile, and remember, “Oh yes, even the baby is proof of how much we are in love.”