Disclaimer: Today on the blog we are talking about sex. If you have children who can read and don’t want to have an awkward conversation, we recommend reading this with some privacy. We’re addressing this issue today because it was a highly requested topic last fall when Cotton Babies customers suggested topics for Real Mom Talk.
Lost That Lovin’ Feeling?
February 9, 2011 6:05 am
Previously, we’ve discussed in Real Mom Talk about some of the physical changes that occur in our bodies post birth. Today, we’re going to discuss a bit about how to deal with the psychological changes.
In those early baby days, you battle sleep deprivation, delivery recovery, trials of breastfeeding and more. Your body may feel like a battleground. You feel pulled in multiple directions, especially if you have more than one child, and we’re not even counting housework.
If you are lucky, after a few weeks you begin to feel as if you might be finding a new routine. Then, out of nowhere, it’s time for the 6 week post-partum doctor’s visit. The doctor gives you the “green light” with a wink and a knowing smile and maybe you groan internally, knowing something else was just added to your to-do list.
Now, I know that’s not the case for everyone, but with the informal research I’ve done, I know it’s fairly common. I also know it’s not something many moms like to talk about. As women, we also want healthy relationships, and we all know that takes work in a lot of different areas.
When my daughter was born, I found myself with four children, three years and under and living in a multi-family, multi-generational household, including my in-laws. Some very wise women gave me some of the best advice regarding my marriage, and I’m going to share it with you as a pre-Valentine’s Day treat.
Simply put, I had to change the way I thought about our sexual relationship. Our family had changed, my body had changed, it only makes sense this aspect of our relationship had changed too.
I had to stop thinking of my husband as yet another person demanding my attention and wanting to touch me. Stop thinking of sex as just a way to have children. Stop thinking it had to be spontaneous like in our newlywed, no baby days. I had to choose to think of sex as the gift only I could give him. He chose me. He asked me to marry him. I said “I do”, and this is an exclusive part of my marriage.
The other thing those wise women shared with me was that when you have young children, you have to plan for sex. As much as your life may feel like a soap opera, this part is not easy like in the soaps. You have to plan, communicate and schedule, if necessary. They even suggested coming up with a “secret code” with your husband so you would know when to expect it and you could adequately prepare. And by prepare, they meant mentally as well as physically. Preparing mentally could mean clearing off your to-do list so you wouldn’t be running lists in your mind when it was your time as a couple, getting rid of anger about the trash not being taken out or reminding yourself of all the “good old days” when you were a newlywed (you know, those things that would make your heart beat faster and your palms sweat). Preparing physically could be taking a shower (we all know what a luxury those are with a newborn), tidying the bedroom, or wearing a nice outfit that makes you feel good about yourself.
What’s a “secret code”, you ask? It’s something between you and your partner that indicates the other is interested in physical affection. It could be a text message with a special phrase. It could be a certain candle that is lit when you come home from work. I’ve even heard of a husband who brings his wife her favorite Starbucks drink as their special signal. You may laugh, but it works and they’ve been married a long time. The idea is that it is a signal you both know and so you both can prepare, mentally and physically, for whatever your agreed upon time and place is.
As ridiculous as all of this may sound, it’s helped a lot of couples get through those rough early years with their babies with their relationship still intact.
Here at Cotton Babies, we assume nothing about our customers. This post is about my (Heather’s) personal experiences. We realize every relationship is different and we respect those differences.
As you think about your Valentine, how do you manage to keep your relationship healthy through the early years of parenthood? Do you have a secret code that you want to share? Tell us your tips for keeping a lasting relationship with your partner (please keep it PG-13).