One day when you least expect it, it finally happens. You meet The One. Instantly things are different, and in your heart you just know that this was meant to be. After a whirlwind of courting you get engaged, then married and on your way to contemplating when the two of you should procreate. When you get pregnant the idea of creating a little you and him is the stuff that dreams are made of, fantasizing about your journey ahead and adventure into parenting. Things become different (because life has become different) and the end result is that once children are in the picture you don’t have the relationship freedom that you once use to, or the luxury of intimacy or quality couple time whenever you feel like it. Once it’s not about just the two of you anymore, sometimes you feel like it might be a struggle to keep things right. Here are a few tips to implement so that you can maintain a happy and healthy relationship even once children are in the picture:

1. Make sure that they come first. (Your partner, NOT the children)

Once that adorable baby (or more children) you’ve made comes into the dynamic of your relationship, it can be trying at times to remember that your man comes first. This may be because our children constantly need us, but in a different way than our partner does. Our children need constant care and supervision, and while our partner doesn’t need routine affirmations, he does need to know that he’s still got that No. 1 spot on your roster sheet.

2. Be spontaneous, yes you!

Yes, you’re exhausted from work, and taking care of the kids, and managing the home and everything else that comes with the territory of being a mother. But it’s important to remember one teeny tiny simple thing: everyone likes surprises. Surprises are that special way of letting someone special know that you were thinking of them. They are fun to get, and if given, likely to be reciprocated. It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture as something on a smaller scale could even make your partner feel special. Surprise them with their favorite meal, or bust out some sexy lingerie when he’s least expecting it, even a simple note by their bathroom sink that will put a smile on their face is enough to show that you care. It’s not about what you do, it’s that you are doing something and making that small effort. It goes a long way—especially in the eyes of the man who will feel appreciated that you’re doing something just for them.

3. Go on a routine date night

This doesn’t have to be a weekly thing, but it’s important to make an effort to spend some alone time together away from the house so that the two of you can just be the “two of you” again. Even if it’s once a month, this is fine, because with schedules permitting and life getting in the way this can prove to be a difficult task. If you don’t have a family member or close friend to watch the children, Care.com is a great resource for finding a reliable and trustworthy babysitter for your children. Stop making excuses and do it, because your relationship needs to go back to the simple times every once and a while. If you can’t remember the last time the two of you enjoyed an outing together all alone, then chances are that you are long overdue for some husband and wife time. Simply not an option because of finances, health, etc.? Make a date night at home. After the little kids go to bed watch a rented movie, have dessert together and snuggle up on the couch for some one on one time.

4. Do your best to kick co-sleeping to the curb

Yes, this one is not good and I experience this in my own life on a constant basis. While before we had children we had the ability to do “what we wanted” whenever we wanted, this is simply a thing of the past once children enter our lives. Kids get scared of the dark, or seek the comfort of being close to Mommy and Daddy to wind down at the end of the day, easily falling asleep near their parents. Try laying down in their rooms with them reading stories until they fall asleep, or if they happen to fall asleep with you, get up and put them into their beds so that your bed can be reserved for the heads of the household. It’s a no-brainer that intimacy is clearly out the window if you have yourself a couple of kids sprawled across the bed. We are human, and need to fulfill our desires to be sexual with our partner—even if that means working around the schedules of the little ones by having to getting creative from time to time.

About This Blogger: Modi Palmer

modiModi Palmer resides in Houston, Texas with her family. She loves to write, talk about all things mom/child, watch NFL football, and knows her way around the kitchen. She believes that life is short to be taken too seriously, and she tries to find humor in all situations. Her source of happiness stems from her family, and doing what she loves—writing.