Making "US" and "ME" time when you have children

This week, we had a great discussion on my "The Couple Wellness Expert" Facebook fan page.  Be sure to "like" it if you haven't already!  In light of the royal baby being born this week, I had posed the question of how couples can manage maintaining closeness in their relationship with a new baby.  It is so important to continue to keep your eyes on each other while raising children, and making that time for each other.  It is so easy to simply focus all your energy and time to the children, and forget about your partner.  Before you know it, wifey is feeling overwhelmed, hubby is feeling left out, the children have left the nest and you and your partner are staring at each other as strangers as opposed to as best friends.  Not only is it important to have "US" time, but it is also important to have "ME" time.  If the parents are connected and relaxed, the children will pick up on that calm and stable energy.  Yes, it is hard to maintain that balance of time with the kids, time for yourself, time with your partner, and time with family/friends, but it is so essential for your relationship and for your own personal wellness.  That alone time is important to maintain your identity outside of work, role of wife/husband and the role of parent.  So, here are some suggestions for maintaining balance that came out of the discussion: 1/ have a regular date night (weekly is preferred), where you do NOT talk about the children.  A date night can be having someone (grandparents, other family/friends) watch the children while you and your partner get a couples massage, see a movie, go for dinner, or even go out for quick coffee together.  Or if your baby is not yet sleeping through the night, a date night can simply be enjoying each other's company cuddling on the couch after the children have gone to bed, or enjoying a refreshment in your backyard together.  Or it can be ordering a quiet dinner in while the kids are out of the house so that you don't have to worry about cooking or the dinner clean up!  Or if you are both so tired you can't even think straight, a date night can even be taking a nice refreshing nap together!  Schedule in the time together so that months don't go by without spending that crucial quality time together. 2/ maintain your personal interests and hobbies, whether it's rollerblading, going to the gym, reading or crafts.  Take turns watching the kids while the other has some individual time. 3/ family time can be spent going for a walk together around the neighbourhood together.  You and your partner can chat while your little one is sleeping in the stroller or playing on the playground. 4/ be forgiving and accepting of each other during the stressful times.  Maintain that communication with each other and let the other person clearly know what you need.  Appreciate those little moments together to let each other know that you still think about the other person, still care about them and love them. Please let me know if you have any other suggestions for maintaining the balance in your lives when you have children.  Thank-you to RL, MJ and ML for our enriching discussion!!