Motherhood and Marriage: This Is How I Keep My Relationship Fresh
Sara Riff is a fashion veteran who has launched several major contemporary and denim brands. Currently, she is the global director of entertainment relations for Jimmy Choo, a luxury brand headquartered in London, where she oversees celebrity dressing, product placement, events, and special projects. Riff is also the co-founder and creative director of the popular lifestyle website The Hive, which features a dynamic blend of celebrities, tastemakers, style, and beauty. Actively involved with charitable organisations including the Alliance of Mums, Riff was recently featured in The Hollywood Reporter’s philanthropy issue as one of Hollywood’s Givers. Riff lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.
You hear a lot of clichés about what happens to a marriage after having kids. Look, I am by no means an expert, but I’m here to tell you they are all true! You can swear up and down until you are blue in the face that it will never be the case for you, but I have yet to meet one parent who has it all under control all of the time. Sometimes these little suckers get sick, act out, or just plain take over, and it can throw everything out of whack… including your marriage.
It’s important to give your marriage some love, however, and find ways to keep the spark alive. Without it, everything can come tumbling down around you. Besides, the flame you share together is why you have children in the first place, right? It deserves a little fanning to keep it alive. So here are five things I try to keep in mind with my own marriage as a mother of two.
Plan a Date Night
Sure, it might not be with the same breathless anticipation as your friend who is finally meeting that date she’s been texting with from Raya, but book a babysitter and go on a damn date with your partner. Get out of the house, away from some of the things you guys are bickering about (hello—why am I the only one who ever empties the dishwasher?), and I promise the feeling of being a normal person will return. Add a glass of wine and you might even remember that you really do love each other.
Guys, It's Not Babysitting When They're Your Own Kids
It was the ultimate feminist, Gloria Steinem, who said, “Women are not going to be equal outside the home until men are equal in it.” (She happened to also say Bravo’s Housewives franchise is bad TV, so you may have to exercise selective hearing.) Anyhow, all that is to say that in addition to aforementioned date nights, it’s important that both you and your partner support each other in taking time for yourselves separately, too.
Whether that’s so you can work out, take a meditation class, or go on a boozy MNO that you’ll regret tomorrow, whatever you decided to do, I know for sure that this is integral to feeling like your best self. Ladies, we can often get left with a lot of the childcare responsibilities, but remind your partner that they need to pull their weight in this department too. And no, they can’t tell their friends that they are “babysitting.”
Dress the Part
I may be alone here, but I think activewear can be a slippery slope. Yes, I’m down with the athleisure trend and love me some Lululemon, but there is a time and a place for Calypso music. It’s great to throw on some leggings en route to a workout, for the school run, or to chase after the kids, but I also think it’s important to dress in a way that makes you feel your best from time to time. This isn’t about dressing for your partner (although that is not a crime), but more about feeling like you are more than someone’s frazzled mom (at least sometimes).
Two's a Party, Three's a Crowd
If you’re a family who has chosen co-sleeping as a way of life, more power to you, but for those of us who have a habit of letting our little ones fall asleep in our bed or hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet a few hours after bedtime (me!), stay strong! As delicious as it is to snuggle up to your kids throughout the night, it can often create a wedge, both literally and figuratively, between you and your partner. When possible, walk them back to their beds and let them know that they’re safe and secure so you can have the private time that marriages deserve.
I get it. Everyone is exhausted, and sometimes your former red-hot lover can feel like your colleague at a logistics control center when dealing with kids, schedules, and household nonsense. It has, however, come to my attention that my husband appreciates being appreciated almost as much as I love Anita Ko jewelry. So even when you think things can go by left unsaid, don’t. Say them! Tell your partner you love them, appreciate them, want them… It makes everyone feel good, even the person saying it. Give it a try—I promise it won’t hurt anything.