Keeping the Flame Burning
No doubt about it - children are a wonderful thing. They bring joy, laughter, and a love that conquers all. They also throw a major curve ball to your marriage or relationship. We are living in a society where children dominate and their needs are often put above all others - spouses and partners included. This is a very slippery slope. We must learn to be mindful of this and find time to keep the flame burning. After all, without the "heat", we are just like college roommates...labeling our food in the fridge and complaining about who used the last of the toilet paper.
We all talk about "date night" a lot these days. In fact, it's a very common hashtag that I often use myself. But let's get real (this is a Real MOM Monday post after all...though I am so nervous to write it as I know my mother-in-law and grandmothers are mostly likely going to read) - if that date night is not ending with a little hanky panky, then it may not have served its purpose. Conversation over a lovely meal in a candlelit restaurant is only half of the equation. Assuming you are physically able, making "between the sheets" time is every bit as important (or maybe more in some cases) that catching up on the week's happenings.
Not to suggest that getting in the "mood" is always easy. If you had a long day of kids constantly climbing on you, then the last thing you may want is to have a hand trying to make its way up your skirt. But ask yourself this question:
Have you ever regretted or felt worse after having sex with your husband or partner?
I have to believe that the overall response to that question is NO. It's almost impossible to feel bad after consensual, loving sex just based on the amount of endorphins released immediately alleviating stress in the body. Sex is a wonderful connector. If Brett and I are having an off day or if life becomes to much, a roll in the hay gets us back on track faster than any conversation ever could. Not to say I don't love a good heart to heart, but sometimes a little body to body does the trick.
Most of the above seems pretty obvious, right? How many times can a morning show tell us that sex is a good thing. So let me get to the real issue: How to make time for sex (good sex) as parents!
Here are a few tips and tricks that help keep the flame burning for us:
Find time for kissing.
When Brett and I first started dating, we created a tradition to kiss every time we make a toast and we never stopped. It may seem like overkill, but when life becomes hectic, it's a sweet gesture that reconnects us. Kissing is such an important part of intimacy for me (and most women I believe) and this simple tradition keeps us engaged with each other - even in a room crowded with people.
Quickies are key.
Who says sex has to be long? While it's nice to have those bear skin rug kind of moments, sometimes as parents, we just need to get down to business. This doesn't mean it can't be romantic. In fact, it can actually make it quite exciting. If your child is anything like ours, then you have a solid 5-7 minutes during a new Sofia the First episode to run to the other side of the house and take care of business before he or she calls you for a water (bubble water in our case) or a snack. Don't be afraid to take advantage of those moments. Think about all the loads of laundry you have done while they watch TV. What makes this any different? I mean besides the fact that its way more fun. (Hopefully, it goes without saying that I am not suggesting you leave a child unattended that is too young to handle 5-7 minutes of alone time!)
Keep yourself groomed.
This one main sound sexist. It's not meant to be. I don't think many men actually care about body hair for the most part, but as women, we often do. I shave my legs and underarms every other day so that nothing gets out of control. The last thing you want to worry about when you finally have a little alone time with your mate is that your legs feel like a Sasquatch.
No Tasting Menus
Pre-child, Brett and I were all about the 7-course tasting menus. I actually find it hilarious to think back to a time when I could eat that much and still have the energy to "go all the way". We are too old and too overextended. Date nights have evolved into sharing a few appetizers and a glass or two of champagne - which is A OK for me.
Vacations (or Stay-Cations)
This is crucial. Make time for this. Even if you can only swing it once a year, a multi-night, just the two of you trip, does wonders. I see so many couples make time for girls' trips and golf trips without making time for each other. Being able to sleep in and have a few rounds of morning sex is like a magic potion for marriage. If it's not in the budget to do a fancy trip, then go for a stay cation. Send your kids to grandmother's house or find an affordable B&B or local hotel. Order room service and marathon watch movies. It doesn't really matter where you are - just that you are together for a solid chunk of time with no responsibilities other than being together.
There are obviously many facets to a happy marriage or a romantic relationship and keeping the flame burning is a portion of the formula. But in comparison to who paid the school tuition this month or who remembered to book Little Susie's appointment at the allergist, SEX is way more fun. Don't forget to do "IT"!
Mamas...please do share if you have any great tips for keeping the romance alive. I think parents need all the help we can get!