A child brings a cheer to the family, everyone says. I totally agree to that one. LG has made us smile in the most unexpected moments like 3 a.m. when he is shitting like there was no tomorrow. But that smile n his face puts on our faces too, if you know what I'm talking about. However, what no one ever tells like many other things about Pregnancy and Parenting is the amount of stress a baby puts on one's marriage. Even the strongest relationships witness a steep rise in conflicts not because the spark has died, but because of the everyday challenges we as parents face before our kids grow independent enough to handle themselves.

As a mother to a 18 month old, I crave for those moments when I can be myself doing my stuff even i it's only for half-a-day ever since LG has come into our lives. Call it the bane of a nuclear family, I've not had a single day when I've had the opportunity to leave LG under the care of someone back at home while The Seniol and I have gone for a quiet dinner or a movie or just a walk. AS much as I love LG, I've come to that point in life where I NEED A BREAK - badly. Tired of hanging out with a toddler all day, it's taking its toll on me - physically, emotionally and mentally. Edging on a state of being frustrated and depressed all day, it's time to get some help and a break from the mundane routine where there is no difference between a Sunday and Monday. We wake up at the same time as everyday when LG does and the time between waking up and hitting the bed is filled with the same set of activities - breakfast, cook lunch, give a bath, play a bit, put him for a nap, evening walk, dinner and put him to sleep.

I've had enough and am consciously trying to make some changes and take sometime out for The Seniol and myself. Some of these we've been following for the past few months and that's what has kept us going and brought the much needed sanity:

1. Family walk: Every morning we go out for a walk with LG for 15-30 mins when we get our "our" time.

2. A movie on Saturday night: There's a time for everything and we understand that. Since we can't hit the multiplex as much as we'd like to to catch the latest flick, we rent out /buy the DVD as soon as it's out. We do this every Saturday night after putting LG to bed.

3. Catching up with friends : we are making a conscious effort to meet our friends every Sunday. Our social circle and interaction with anyone outside had become dangerously low after moving to Pune which got worse after LG came along. It's getting better now even if it means some more effort on my part - it's WORTH it. It is rejuvenating!

4. Celebrate important days : If it were not for the birthdays and anniversaries through the year, all the 365 days would be the same. Keeping up with our tradition- we cut a cake, hang balloons, get cards for our birthdays and anniversaries. I have a habit of calling close friends to wish them on their birthdays.

5. Appreciate each other : Appreciate your spouse's help (I know help is not the appropriate word for it is both of your kid) in feeding the baby or changing his diaper in the middle of the night or walking him after work if you are feeling low.

6. Compliment each other and dress well: It's easy to not look good and wear the most ill- fitting clothe and hang around on the couch at the end of a long day. It takes little effort to look well dressed in evenings but it does a lot of wonders - to yourself. I personally feel very good dressed well while stepping out in the evening. It brings back a cheer like nothing else does.

It's no doubt that a marriage requires more nurturing, care and effort after a baby comes along as it is more physically exhausting and doesn't take a lot for tempers to flare. The Seniol often tells me to celebrate the smallest occasions as big occasions are far and few in one's life. It's these little moments that keeps us going!