If you’re here, reading this you’re probably wondering how to build intimacy or reclaim it between you and your partner. Well, you’re in luck—because that’s exactly why I wrote these words. You see, my husband and I are the parents whose room became overwhelmed by everything “baby” after our son was born. We had a bedside bassinet attached to our bed—though we eventually transitioned to co-sleeping. We moved our son’s rocking chair into our room. Both sides of our bed were piled with diapers, wipes, empty bottles, wet baby onesies and so much more. 

In all honesty, our room was much more of a nursery than it was our room—even though our son had his own nursery. In those early days of parenting, we found it comfortable and more convenient to keep him in the room with us. But as he grew older, it became harder for us to break out of the habit. (Maybe harder for me than it was for my husband, who always insisted that we get our son accustomed to his bedroom.) 

Related: I never thought I'd co-sleep, but it's what works for my family

Our son was pretty adamant about not sleeping in his crib for long increments of time. I think the longest bout he ever lasted was three hours until one of us had to go in and rock him back to sleep. So for the first year as parents, our bedroom wasn’t our bedroom. It was our entire family’s communal living quarters.

I didn’t realize then that this was hindering the ability for building intimacy between my husband and me. This one space in our entire house that was supposed to be ours was the exact opposite—and we had to figure out how to get it back. 

It wasn't until this realization that I understood that reclaiming intimacy as parents starts with reclaiming your bedroom. And so the quest began for us to take back our space and relearn how to build intimacy.

These are steps we followed to work to reclaim our bedroom and reclaim intimacy after kids:

1. Create a haven for your child

Since birth, our son was used to being in our bedroom so it most likely grew to be a sentiment of safety and comfort for him. As my husband and I began to reclaim our bedroom, we tailored our son’s room to become a space where he felt sheltered and secure. After he turned one, we transitioned him to a floor bed and child-proofed his bedroom so that he could freely roam around without it being a concern for his safety. (Look into creating a "yes" environment for your child.)

He has a corner for his toys, a corner for his books and the ability to play however he wants to (with supervision still). There’s a baby monitor in his room so that we can also watch and hear him during the night as he sleeps just in case one of us needs to go and put him back to bed, but for the most part, he’s started sleeping throughout the night. Occasionally, we still bring him into our room to put him back to bed. But what do they say? Two steps forward, one step back. We're still finding our way.

2. Establish a soothing bedtime routine

Children need order and stability. My son knows that bedtime is nearing once we go on our evening walk because after that comes bath time, a bedtime story, a quick feeding and then turning off all the lights, turning on the white noise machine and rocking him to sleep with a lullaby. Setting this routine in place has made his transition to bedtime a lot easier because he knows that it’s time for rest.

Related: How to tell when your baby should sleep in their own room, according to a sleep expert

3. Remove your child's items from your room

One by one, my husband and I started taking our son’s stuff out of our bedroom and finding a place for it in his room—the rocking chair, the toys, the clothes—you name it. We still keep diapers and wipes on our nightstand just in case he’s in our room and needs a change, but for the most part, our room is starting to look like our room again—and we’re better for it.

4. Create a haven for you and your partner

For me, this is a large key to building intimacy. This is what your bedroom should be—the one place where you begin the day and end the night together. Make this environment feel like it belongs to both of you and allow each other to feel seen in this space. For my husband and me, creating a haven looks like sometimes putting our phones down and having intimate conversations with each other before we fall asleep—or waking up and laying in bed together for a few extra moments (if our son is still asleep) before getting our days started.

Related: Your guide to postpartum intimacy

This surely isn't a one-and-done guide on how to build intimacy with your partner, but these steps have worked wonders for us in reclaiming our space. Maybe you and your partner aren't quite ready to kick your kids out of your room yet—and that's OK. But for the parents who are adamant about building intimacy after kids, these are some simple steps that could make a huge difference. I challenge you to try it out or find some other things that work for you and your partner. Because reclaiming intimacy is important, and having a space for the both of you matters just as much.