Having a new baby is like having your husband’s old college roommate crash your honeymoon. Babies, while created in moments of intimacy, really manage to put the brakes on any more baby making behaviour. In fact, they are like little black holes that can easily suck up all the love and attention in the house, leaving two exhausted and drained parents who are wondering what they signed up for! It’s a good thing they are cute, and we tend to want to keep them.
Here are some basic guidelines to help you navigate the post baby intimacy waters.
When you have been apart, touch base when you come together
This means that when one of you has been away from the others for a bit, you should all take the time to reconnect. This is a great strategy for a family as well and will help keep your family strong. So, when the person who has been away comes home, they need to ask the person who was at home how they are, what was the best part of their day, what was the worst part? Did they accomplish anything? And yes, doing the laundry counts! Remember, the person who has been away should initiate, because as far as the people at home are concerned, the away person was out there “doing stuff” which has to be better than staying at home and “doing nothing”.
Now the away person gets their chance, make sure that you take the 10 to 15 minutes after being apart to touch base and reconnect with each other. Taking the time to see how your partner is doing counts for a lot. But remember, it’s the asking that is important, not the telling so much. So don’t jump in and tell the other person anything until you have asked and LISTENED.
Touch each other
Yes, new mothers are some of the most touched out people I know, babies have high touch needs and moms tend to provide a lot of that touch. But it’s still important to touch each other. A simple back rub as you walk past your partner, a touch to the shoulder, holding hands. Those small moments of connection help keep the intimacy alive. We only touch those who we feel comfortable with. Also, the working parent should take time to touch their baby, hold them and enjoy them, while the stay at home parent can take a break, go for a walk, have a shower or a bath, do something to help restore their sanity. Touching each other also sends that message that you find the other person desirable, and who doesn’t get turned on by the fact that they turn someone else on?
The work day has to end
Staying at home is not as easy as it seems. Possibly the most overwhelming thing a stay at home parents has to deal with is that the “to do list” never ends, you don’t get to walk out the door and leave it all behind you, leaving it for tomorrow. It took me years to figure it out. Now at 7pm, my work day ends. If I have been home all day, doing household chores, at 7pm I stop. If something hasn’t been done, it doesn’t get done that night, it gets done tomorrow. It’s my time after 7pm, so no laundry, no cleaning the kitchen, no additional work. I spend time with my children, I do things I enjoy doing and I take a break from the “to do list”.
This is probably the biggest change, especially for guys. They are used to thinking candlelit dinner, rose petals, and wine are the ways to get women into the mood. Now, foreplay is cleaning the kitchen, doing the laundry and making dinner. Trust me on this. Women are way more interested in sex when their “to do list” isn’t as long. When you do some of the work in the home they are responsible for, they feel loved and cherished. Being loved and cherished is a pretty powerful aphrodisiac. When you pull out the candles, it just adds another thing on to their list, when you take stuff off their list, you just made some free time, nudge nudge, wink wink!
Some couples love this idea, some hate it. For some couples date night works great if they leave the kids behind and for others it works better if they take the kids with. The basic rule here is have fun, together. If one parent is really unhappy about being separated from the baby, date night will not bring you more intimacy, it will bring you more stress. This is not something a parent needs to get used to. Discuss this with each other and figure out what will work best for you, follow your heart and go forth and have fun. The only rule on date night is there are no rules… no wait, that’s fight club… the only rule is be respectful of each other’s emotional needs.
Best sex invention ever in my opinion. Nothing like sneaking into a broom closet while the kids watch tv to enjoy each other. Sex doesn’t need to be a long delicious but drawn out affair, it can be fast and sweet, as long as you are both in the mood. Sex also does not need to be unplanned and spontaneous. It should be planned on occasion. Not to the extent that on Tuesday nights at 10pm we will have sex, but to the extent that you think about it, you figure out how you will make it work and then you act on the plan. As an example: you are away at work and you start thinking about having sex, in the laundry room, when you get home. Laundry rooms are fun, bathrooms, showers, broom closets… spend some time thinking about it. Then when you get home, after you have touched base and reconnected, while you are helping make dinner, you whisper your idea in your partner’s ear. Touching them at the same time, in that spot that they love to be touched, that helps. Just whisper the idea and then carry on with what you are doing. Focus a little on touching each other here and there as you go about whatever it is that you are doing, and then, when the pasta is on to boil and you have 15 minutes… sneak off to … well, you know. 😉
The truth of the matter
All of these recommendations take work, and not all of them will work for everyone, but the rewards of staying connected despite the craziness of having a baby are huge. A couple that stays connected lasts longer in this fast paced world. Adding a baby can change a whole host of things in your life, and adapting the way that you stay intimate with your partner is likely one of them.