• What Has Changed in the Last 10 Years? The Definition of Romance Especially After Kids

    Here's a #10YearChallenge: take a look then and now at your Valentine's Day.
    by Dedet Reyes Panabi .
  • Mom Unfiltered talks about the realities that moms don't post on social media, or, as we like to say here, these are the thoughts we all have in the bathroom.
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    Everybody’s been sharing their old pics for the #10YearChallenge. It’s nice to see how we’ve changed (and it's flattering when people tell us we haven’t). But you know what’s really changed in the last 10 years, thanks to marriage and kids? Our lifestyles and definitions of romance. Our cute couple pics may still look like we’re still the couple on their first-anniversary date, but the look in our eyes isn’t starry-eyed passion — it’s glassy-eyed exhaustion.

    Let’s look at Valentine’s then and now (also known as Date Night After Kids)

    Romantic Dinner

    THEN: Fancy restaurant with steak, wine, and cheese platter

    NOW: Pizza with wine (Pizza has cheese, right? And hubby’s chances of getting romance increases if I don’t have to cook or wash dishes.)

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    Movie Dates

    THEN: The movie’s really just an excuse to get popcorn and cuddle in a cold theater.

    NOW: You skip the theater and watch at home. The film’s really just an excuse to eat popcorn and fall asleep on the couch.

    Sexy Underwear

    THEN: Lacy lingerie with less fabric than most hair ties

    NOW: Cotton tank and shorts in a stretchy fabric that magically hides our post-baby belly

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    Perfume

    THEN: The smell of a particular perfume draws up naughty memories when you were wearing nothing but the fragrance

    NOW: You share both memories and a bottle of Omega Pain Killer.

    Chocolates

    THEN: A big box of expensive gourmet chocolates

    NOW: On a bad day, I’ll be happy with eating hazelnut spread straight out of the bottle

    Sex

    THEN: Any time, anywhere, let’s go!

    NOW: What?

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    Flirty Text Messages

    THEN: “Hey sexy, I miss you already. Can’t wait to see you later.”

    NOW: “Can you buy eggs on the way home? (Kissy Emoticon).”

    Attraction

    THEN: He looks most sexy in that shirt.

    NOW: He looks most sexy when he changes the baby’s diaper — without being asked!

    It’s difficult for romance to survive the #10YearChallenge, and though we laugh about it, let’s be honest — we miss it. Valentine’s and Date Nights become a desperate attempt to recapture it and become the Couple We Used To Be. Or at least, feel (for one night) that we’re not just a wife, we’re a woman.

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    On the flipside, though, romance may not have disappeared, but it’s just become something else. Ideally, in a good marriage where you feel an emotional and physical connection, you don’t have dates. You have moments. These are often unplanned, but somehow you exchange a look or have an in-depth conversation or anything actually that makes you really happy you ended up with each other.

    Maybe the real #10YearChallenge is to find those moments and create more of them. You don’t need lingerie, perfume, or an expensive dinner. You just have to remember why you fell in love with this person and actually say it out loud.

    In fact, you can say it right now. Tag the guy who still rocks your world even when he’s snoring on the couch and smells of Salonpas. Happy Valentine’s, moms!

    There’s no perfect marriage, situation, or answer, but it helps to know we’re not alone! What's the sweetest thing your husband did for you lately? Share and inspire other moms on the comments below or send them on our Facebook Messenger and smartparenting2013@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you!

    Dedet Reyes Panabi was editor-in-chief of a parenting magazine for seven years, then quit to work from home and spend quality time with family and Netflix. She now works from home as a digital communications and social media manager for a multinational. (Or has her son described it on Career Day, “My mom’s on Facebook the whole day.”)

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