RECONNECT: It is possible to find time for romance after children - but you need to work at it.
RECONNECT: It is possible to find time for romance after children - but you need to work at it. Geber86

Keeping the love alive after children arrive

A READER writes: "Dear Helen, how do I keep the spark alive after having children?”

I feel the answer to this will be akin to "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” but here goes.

When I was a kid, the couples in The Brady Bunch and The Waltons seemed to have it all going on, despite having a horde of children. These days shows like Modern Family and Parenthood tend to tell it more like it is.

But that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of laughs - and romance. Right?

Yes, it's a complex issue and so I have sought advice from the sister (and brother) hood, those friends who have one, two or even five kids and still seem to have retained a degree of sanity.

Tonia: To be honest, it's really hard. I don't even think about sex any more as there is just so much more on my brain. And there's nothing like a tantruming toddler to kill any mood. My husband and I regularly flirt with each other throughout the day. I think it's key to make time for each other and an environment to relax and switch off so you can focus on each other and reconnect. A nice massage never goes astray.

Monique: Be willing to invest in babysitting ... often. Maintain a social life and individual interests and hobbies. It also helps if you can have fun and a laugh together anywhere.

Samuel: Step one: spend as much time apart as possible, that way it's always a thrill when you see each other. Step two: stay fit and healthy, employ someone to keep you that way if needed. Step three: travel as much as possible together, that way the reality of normal life doesn't become a problem. Step four: be filthy rich, as money (or lack of it) is the biggest problem in relationships. Step five: die young, that way you don't have to put up with each other's annoying habits in old age. Step six: have a sense of humour.

Korina: Connection is key, talking, spending time together when the opportunity arises plus making regular opportunities, as sometimes with family life it won't appear on its own.

Helen Hawkes is a UNIFAM-qualified counsellor and life coach.