The baby has finally gone to sleep after fighting for two hours. It’s been a long day and you fear it will be an even longer night. You know you should at least have a chat to your husband but all you want to do is to fall into bed. You are dressed in pyjamas stained with baby food and you can’t be bothered changing them. Your boobs hurt. Your bones ache with fatigue. A cuddle, let alone something more, is the LAST thing on your mind.
Yet, it is important. Kids will grow up and as they do hopefully you and your partner will grow closer together. But that takes some work.
These are some common barriers to intimacy after children with some suggestions about how to overcome them.
The sight of an empty bed fills with you unbridled excitement about the prospect of some precious shut eye and nothing is getting between you and the sheets. Firstly, try whatever you can to get some sleep. Is there are chance you can rest when your baby rests? (I know, I know). Can your partner look after the children for a morning and let you sleep in? If you are really struggling with your baby’s sleep, consider getting some help from a baby sleep expert – every parent I know that has done this wishes they had done so sooner. Okay, onto the sexy bit. Perhaps move intimacy outside of the bedroom and the night time hours. Schedule in some baby sitting for a lazy weekend afternoon and see where it takes you. Sleep and sex don’t need to be mutually exclusive.
Opportunity would be a fine thing
Somehow the stars have aligned. The kids are in bed. You are feeling a bit minxy and your partner is up for it. That’s when the baby cries or the toddler appears at the foot of the bed. Even if you can somehow find a window of time, kids have amazing timing when it comes to these things.
We schedule so many things in our lives. We arrange baby-sitting and child care in order to exercise, to meet up with girlfriends, for events, date nights and to work. Why not do the same thing specifically for intimacy? It may not seem very sexy and spontaneous, but it’s the kind of thing that if you don’t schedule, it may not happen.
I have lost all my mojo – I am really not feeling it
It can be hard to feel minxy when you are in the early years of motherhood. Your body has changed. Your perceived value to society has changed. Your priorities have shifted.
Spend a bit of a time on yourself. Even if it’s just a quick mani or pedi, a bath or spending half an hour reading something a bit naughty. A set of matching underwear can do wonders. Sometimes you need to put yourself in the mood.
I am completely touched out – I don’t want another person near me
After spending a day breastfeeding, picking up your baby, cuddling them and attending to their every need, you can feel depleted. You can feel like you have nothing left to give. You just want your body back to yourself. You know what? You do need some time to yourself – let your partner know that you just need some space. But don’t view sex as as a one way street in terms of giving. It is an opportunity for you to feel nourished. For you to feel like you are getting something back. And it’s one of those things that the more you do it, the more you feel like doing it.
I feel more like shaking my partner than shagging them
Ah, parenthood – it brings out the best and the worst in all of us. Who should do the dishes, who hasn’t put away the clothes, who gets the most sleep, who should work, who should change that dirty nappy, who got up last to soothe a cry, who will dole out the punishment, who is being too lenient, who has had the harder day. It can be a minefield and it’s easy to go to a place of resentment. I think the key is to talk. Talk about expectations and what you think is fair. If your partner is driving you crazy, don’t let the steam build – talk it out. And a note to Dads: there is nothing sexier than a guy doing housework and phoo-ey to any surveys or studies that suggest something different.
I just don’t enjoy it any more
Have you had a chat to your partner? All relationships are different – and some couples have perfectly happy, sexless marriages. I personally think it’s worth trying to find the enjoyment again. There are some great resources out there that can help. Tracy Cox’s Hot Relationships and Hot Sex are both great books to reintroduce some magic.
I don’t think anyone enjoys the sex of their lives whilst their kids are tiny. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your relationship. These days will pass. I just want to make sure that my relationship with the man I love remains healthy while I am living through them.
What are your ideas for overcoming barriers to intimacy when you have little kids?