Love comes easy. An intimate relationship with your partner especially after children is hard work. Children are real sex killers which is ironic because that’s the reason they’re here in the first place.
Tips to childproofing your sex life
If this is something you’re struggling with, here are a few tips to get you and your partner back on track:
Book a babysitter! In some families, grandparents/aunties/uncles are an untapped resource. They represent free babysitting and you already know whether they’re trust-worthy or not.
Sure, the kids might be given excessive amounts of lollies, as relatives tend to do but it’s a couple of hours for you and your partner to connect emotionally and physically. Make sure every conceivable thing the kids could ever need is packed and get your partner to drop them off, while you set the scene for some sexy time. You could run a bath and light some candles, put on a sexy dress and some makeup or even just do your hair and shave your legs! Whatever you choose to do, try to make an effort you think your partner would appreciate.
Investing in a relationship takes effort on both sides. If one can see the other is making an effort, the need for connection can become mutual and deeper with both of you feeling wanted by the other.
If hiring a babysitter isn’t possible within the household budget and you haven’t got any family available, try to enforce an early bedtime for the kids. This will take some planning but it can be done. Communicate with your partner and let them know that you are planning a night for you both but you will need their help getting the kids to bed.
Decide on a night, perhaps the weekend would be best, talk about what you both would like to do whether it’s a wine or beer in front of the TV, giving each other massages or sex. Sure it’s not sexy talking about setting aside time for intimacy however when you have kids, planning and coordinating a time for you both is the key to success. Pre-cook dinner the night before and freeze it in advance so that it’s ready to serve when you need it.
If there is laundry and dishes to do, leave them! Tag team with your partner if you have multiple kids, getting them in the bath, in their pj’s and in bed between you both.
So you’ve got the kids in bed and you and your partner are in the zone together feeling like you did before kids, until their noisy footsteps interrupt you both. Unfortunately, this is parenthood and it can’t be avoided. If they are not unwell or in danger and just won’t sleep, put them in front of the TV and put on their favourite cartoon or DVD.
If allowing the kids to watch a cartoon before bedtime gives you and your partner time to invest in your marriage, then it’s worth it. Sure screen time is not ideal however a big part of parenthood is doing the best you can with what you have. To ensure screen time doesn’t become a habitual occurrence, mix it up with unsupervised play dough or art activities.
When you’re cleaning up the mess later, hopefully, it won’t feel like a chore; remember that you and your partner are prioritising your relationship for the good of yourselves, each other and the family unit.
The foundation of the family unit is the relationship between parents. If this foundation is left unattended, there is real potential for you both to grow apart, which more often than not is the core reason marriages break down. It isn’t meant to be easy and it won’t be a priority every day, however, a relationship needs to be paid attention to if it is going to continue to work.
This blog was written by Shara Smith who is a psychotherapist and a counsellor with over 12 years experience in the mental health, life coaching and self-care sector. While she loves her husband and three kids, she also loves watching re-runs of Sex in the City and baking decadent cookies that only she gets to eat.