I’m convinced all children have a 6th sense!
A sense which allows them to detect even the slightest level of intimacy brewing between their parents.
After much observation (especially recently on Valentine’s Day), I can conclude that if children are within a 10 metre radius of their parents’ displays of affection an internal signal goes off within them and they do whatever is within their power to put an end to it! It’s true … Parent’s beware! The slightest touch, a simple extended stare into each other’s eyes, or a gentle brush across an arm are all enough to get your children ready to halt any expressions of affection! Within seconds they conspire; baby cries, toddler’s suddenly hungry, and seven-year-old needs help scratching his back!!
In all seriousness, it takes no genius to tell you that children transform your entire life; marriage and love life included. Before children, husband and wife were at the centre of each others universe. After children, there’s a significant shift. The children take up the centre position, and parents start to revolve around the children. It’s very easy for mum and dad to lose each other in this new orbit.
On days like Valentine’s Day, parents’ birthdays and anniversaries this becomes very evident.
Here are 12 ways Valentine’s Day is different after children
1. The lead-up
Before: There exists a week-long excitement and anticipation leading up to this romantic day.
After: Valentines Day already?! I only just finished packing away the Christmas tree!
2. Valentine’s Day begins
Before: The day begins with a morning cuddle and kiss in bed. “Happy Valentine’s day, my darling. I love you so much!”
After: The morning kiss and cuddle is reduced to a mere grunt. It is severely hampered by daughter’s foot which has lodged itself in Daddy’s face, and by the fact that Mummy’s body is now immobilised and cramping up due to sleeping huddled on the edge of the bed since 4am!
3. Written expressions of love
Before: Wife writes husband a one-page poem expressing her undying love and commitment to him.
After: Post-it on fridge, “get milk!”.
4. Outfit for dinner
Before: Thorough planning of outfit for dinner. Including shoes, dress, underwear, handbag and all other accessories.
After: Awesome! My favourite black top is clean!
Before: Lots of money spent on expensive lingerie.
After: Lingerie?! Ha! There’s no time for that. Got to jump on that train before it heads to ‘sleepy-town’! Or worse still, before any attempts at lovemaking are quickly derailed by one of the many nocturnal demands of the children.
6. Valentine’s Day hairstyle
Before: Hair washed, coloured, conditioned and styled in a professional hair salon.
After: Hair brushed. At home.
7. Getting ready to go out
Before: Body waxed, showered, exfoliated, tanned, moisturised and perfumed. Nails also manicured and pedicured.
After: Showered, and roll on applied.
8. Perfect make-up
Before: Face is meticulously prepared; starting with toner, moisturiser, concealer (applied with the use of a BRUSH!) foundation, powder, blush, different shades of eye shadow, eye liner, use of eyelash curler, mascara, and lipstick.
After: Concealer, concealer, a bit of lippy, more concealer. All applied and smudged (sorry ‘blended in’) using the tips of fingers.
9. Gift giving
Before: Husband comes home from work with 12 long-stem red roses for his wife. Wife replies, “Oh darling you shouldn’t have! Thank you they’re lovely!”. She is secretly pleased and comforted by this gift. She kisses him passionately for minutes on end.
After: Daddy comes home from work with requested milk. Mummy grabs milk and shoves it in the fridge. He also pulls out a new tub of mummy’s favourite ice cream. Her face lights up. She embraces and passionately kisses him. Within seconds, two curious toddlers have awkwardly wedged themselves between mummy and daddy. Mummy and daddy are forced to end their embrace, and go their separate ways. All three children demand to eat the ice-cream before dinner is served!
10. Romantic dinner
Before: A romantic four-course dinner booked and prepared. Fine wine, candlelight, and good conversation.
After: Roast potatoes flung across the dining room, because they were served on the wrong colour plate (pink not purple!) An orange juice spill quickly followed by a howling three-year-old. Two adult appetites completely lost due to all the chaos!
11. Bubble bath and massage
Before: A planned late-night soak in a warm bubble bath with champagne, followed by a slow sensual massage with essential oils, dim lighting and soft music playing in the background.
After: An unplanned midnight bath for a child who has thrown up over himself and bed. Closest thing to a massage is a sympathetic pat on the back, that wife gives to husband as he scrapes off the still-warm vomit that has somehow projected itself onto the carpet.
14. Simple and precious moments
Before: Snuggling on the couch together with a blanket, watching a great movie and being so very happy and at peace with the world.
After: Snuggling on the couch together, watching a great movie – but with three extra little people tucked in and wriggling under the blanket. Being three times happier and at peace with the world.