Parenting is a tough gig, and (as if moms and dads ever doubted their own anecdotal experience) research tells us that one of the most stressful points in a couple’s life is when they start having children. With that high level of stress often comes a loss of connection and intimacy between parents, but Dr. Shefali Tsabary says it’s possible to reclaim those things ― beyond just scheduling the occasional date night.
“The stressors of over-producing your kid’s childhood and racing them from one activity to the next ― because you believe they need to be ‘ahead of the curve’ at the age of 2 ― all that is extra, anxious stuff that you don’t need to have as a couple,” Dr. Shefali says.
As Dr. Shefali has said before, placing young children in various activities is something parents subconsciously do for themselves, not for the kids. Parents think it sets children up for success, but the reality, according to Dr. Shefali, is that it pulls children farther away from their authentic selves.
“For the first five or six years of your child’s life, simplify,” she suggests. “Take out all the over-scheduling. Take out all the over-production. Take out all the gimmicks and the bells and whistles that culture says you ‘need’ to do for your child to ‘enrich’ them.”
If you’re able to remove these stressors and streamline your life, Dr. Shefali continues, you not only take pressure away from your child, but you also remove it for yourself, giving you more capacity to then reconnect with your partner.
“It’s not going to be the same kind of intimacy you had before children, but it will certainly help,” she says.
Another parenting tip from Dr. Shefali: