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Parenting Advice Article

Relationship Advice for Staying Connected When You Live with Young Children
By Susie and Otto Collins with contribution by Amy Phillips-Gary

Every now and then, we are asked for advice on how a couple can stay connected and keep passion in their relationship if they are raising small (or even not so small) children.
Our belief is that the same ideas will work no matter what your situation but we wanted to give you some ideas that are specifically for this situation.
Since our children are no longer small-- Otto's son is 18 and Susie's daughter has two boys of her own--we called in an expert (Susie's daughter)--who has some great suggestions that she and her husband do to keep their relationship alive and growing.
Here are her suggestions and whether you
have small children or not, we invite you to
try some of them to spice up your relationship...

1. Create Many Mini-Moments
You don't have to spend hours making love every day to keep the connection deep and passionate-- but go for it if you can! 
Instead, you can connect in mini-moments that you create throughout the day.  
A mini-moment might be an appreciative e-mail or text message sent while you are apart.  When you are home together you can lovingly caress your partner even with children running and playing at your feet. 
When you are in the midst of that mini-moment, give connecting with your love your fullest attention.  It might just be a few seconds, but those mini-moments all add up.
2. Engage in Some Non-Kid Stuff
As important as your kids are and as much as you want them to know how much you love them, you don't have to focus on them ALL of the time. 
If you're like me, you want to always be there for your children.  However, neither you and your relationship nor your children will benefit from this. 
No matter how young, your kids are separate beings and really need to have some amount of space to experience life on their terms.
So do you and your partner.
You and your partner could make time every day for a shared activity or discussion that has nothing to do with your children.  This may feel awkward at first but keep trying.
If your children are very young, take care of their needs first, then turn to your love.  Give everyone a clean diaper, lay out a blanket with engaging toys, then talk with your mate about a non-kid topic that
interests you both.
This might be sports, religion, politics, or even philosophy.  If you don't feel like talking, just hold each other, stroking his or her hair and enjoy the deliciousness of touch.
3. Open to Touch
Especially when your children are young, it's quite common for parents-- moms especially-- to get to the end of the day exhausted and feeling "all touched out." 

This can be tricky because while parents of young children may want to connect physically, the same desire and energy may not seem to be there. 

At the same time, touch can be such an important way to keep you and your partner feeling connected. 

It is vital to listen to what each person needs when it comes to touch.  A mom who spent hours nursing an infant, for example, may not feel like sharing sexual touch with her mate right now. 

This doesn't mean that she and her love can't share touch.  She might appreciate receiving a back or foot rub and then giving a massage to her partner.  Even
non-sexual touch can be connecting. And who knows--sensual and sexual touch might just happen too.
4. Show Your Love
Remember that you can share moments of love and care even when your children are in the room.  Some of us were raised with the belief that you just don't show emotions--of any kind. 

Programmed beliefs like this might cause us to wait until we are alone with our mate to show him or her loving attention.  Of course you don't want anyone involved to feel embarrassed or inappropriate, but at the same time show your love!
It can actually teach your children what a healthy loving relationship looks like if you allow your children to see you and your mate hug, hold hands, or kiss. 

Your kids know you love them because you express it to them probably every day.  Openly, do the same for your partner and for yourself!
5. You CAN Have It All
It can be easy to fall into the trap of believing that there's just not time (or energy) to focus on both your kids and your relationship.  In the midst of keeping up with life, it may feel like something's got to fall to the side (at least for a few years) and your relationship is probably what goes. 
Many people assume they'll make time to focus on their relationship once the kids have grown up a bit.

Unfortunately, when a choice like this is made, that day in the future may never come and your relationship could end up literally lifeless.
It may not seem possible but there IS enough time, energy and "you" to be both kid-centered and relationship-centered.

Start by affirming to yourself that there is a way to give attention to your kids and stay connected with your love.
Tune in to how wonderful it feels when you share a game, a cuddle or a warm talk with your children.  Now tune in to how fabulous it feels when you make love, take a walk, or sip coffee and chat with your partner. 

You don't have to choose between these great experiences.  There is room for both!  Once you create space in your mind and beliefs for both, it will be easier to allow them to happen in your life. 
Celebrate when connection happens.  Have fun and remember to laugh!

Amy Phillips-Gary is a free-lance writer aspiring to live a loving-compassionate and mindful life. Partnering with her husband and home-schooling her two sons provide her with opportunities to enjoy such a life!  She is Susie Collins' daughter.



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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins, PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling (614) 568-8282.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email.

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