“Being a mother while trying to repair ourselves both mentally and physically is the hardest thing we’ll ever do.”
It’s 9:30 p.m., and the kids have been asleep for an hour. Your house is spotless. Lunch boxes are filled and are lined up in the fridge for tomorrow. You’re all caught up at the office. Your hair looks like you just left the salon, your makeup looks airbrushed, and you’re wearing the silky black nightgown that makes your bod look like Gigi Hadid’s. You gaze lovingly into your partner’s eyes, share a passionate kiss, and instinctively know that you’re about to have amazing, mind-blowing sex.
And, then, you wake up. Fantasy over. Does it have to end, though?
The reality is that the vast majority of women who have young kids are wiped out. While the idea of sex is nice, it’s not exactly number one on the to-do list.
That’s not to say that some women do feel sexier than ever after having kids. Parenting brings them closer to their partners and deepens their sexual connection. Their kids are in bed early, they’re super organized, and they make romance a priority. Other women keep their romance alive, even when the sink is full of dirty dishes, and their youngest just calmed down after a 30-minute meltdown. Research and life experience, tell us that’s not the norm though.
According to a survey conducted by Leesa Sleep Company, 46 percent of men and women said that the quality of their sex got worse after having kids. Sixty-one percent of women experienced a decrease in sexual desire. On average, parents experienced a 47 percent decrease in sexual frequency. (01) For many parents, life after kids isn’t about their own needs or desires anymore.
It’s true that becoming a Mom changes the rules of the game. But, that doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice your sexuality. Or, that everything needs to fall perfectly in place to have fulfilling sex. We all know that it rarely happens once kids are in the picture. Even women with the most satisfying sex lives will tell you that life can be, and usually is, messy.
So, let’s talk about a few things that might be standing between you and your next big O. And, even better, let’s dish on some things you can do to bring the sparkle back into your bedroom (and we’re not talking about your daughter’s fairy wings and matching tutu!).
When You Think This: There’s Never a Good Time
It’s true. The little beings we so joyfully brought into this world can be game-killers. It’s difficult enough to have an adult conversation without being interrupted, let alone have sex. Ever heard of phantom footsteps? They’re a thing! You would be shocked if you knew how many women hear them the minute they start to get busy. Baby in the room? Consider letting him or her sleep in the nursery.
Try This: Schedule Sex
Sure, before kids, you were carefree and could have sex at any time, or place. But, sex doesn’t have to be spontaneous to be rewarding. Surprise your partner with a text to set a date and a time. Or, set your alarm to go off during naptime. Scheduled sex actually happens. Knowing that it will happen, it will be easier to get in the mood. You’ll have something to look forward to, and it will take the pressure off of constantly wondering if your needs and desires are in sync with your partners when it comes to timing.
When You Think This: I’d Rather Sleep
If you’re like most parents, you go non-stop from the minute you wake up until you fall into bed exhausted every night. How are you supposed to rally when all you want to do is catch some zzzzs?
Try This: Make a 10-minute Rule
If you don’t feel like being intimate, give yourself ten minutes. Kissing, cuddling, and touching can make all the difference and help you get in the mood. Finding time when you’re more likely to be rested is also a good idea. Even if you aren’t an early riser, your partner might make your wake-up call worthwhile.
When You Think This: Switching From Mom Mode to Sex Kitten is Hard
It’s 7:30 at night, and you’re sitting on the cold, hard bathroom floor reading Everyone Poops for the zillionth time. Your partner is patiently waiting while you finish up and make your way into the bedroom. When you get there, are you still the mother, or have you transitioned into the lover?
Try This: Give Yourself a Grace Period
Changing it up isn’t always easy, so give yourself a break. Literally. Finish up your day and take an hour to do anything that is unrelated to work, the house, or your kids. Take a hot shower, enjoy a bubble bath, catch up on a book, drink a glass of wine, watch a tv show that isn’t kid-appropriate… it’s up to you. Taking a little me time can ground you and help you transition to adult time.
When You Think This: I Don’t Feel Good About Myself
My stomach is so jiggly. Why do I have so much cellulite on my butt? My spider veins are so gross! If you’re ashamed of your body, you may avoid getting close to your partner. How do you get over the “if only I looked…” so you can get into the moment and live your sex life to its fullest?
Remember this, the more you agonize over how you look naked, the less time you spend enjoying being intimate with your partner. It’s true that your body may not look like it used to. But, now is the time to love yourself and your perfect imperfections (thanks, John Legend). Sure, you may be self-conscious, but the odds are that your partner is thinking, “Woo hoo, I’m about to get some action!” rather than dwelling on how your body has changed since you first met.
There is Sex Life After Kids
Although life seems hectic now, the crazy doesn’t last forever. Kids eventually sleep through the night. You figure out the right time to shower. You’ll find time to be intimate between running to soccer tournaments and cheer competitions. Your sex life isn’t gone, it’s just different. And, for now, that’s okay. The important thing is to make your sex life a priority so that one day when it’s just the two of you again, you’ll remember why you fell in love in the first place.
Just had a baby? We love the tips that our friends @mommysbundle share to help you get in the mood. Be sure to check it out and show your partner. You’ve got this Mama!