Yes, I said it. The ‘S’ word! It’s a little 3-letter word yet it tends to be at the top of the list in terms of eyebrow raiser, mouth opener, red tomato face and squirming in your pants uncomfortable kinda word. Let’s be honest, most mommy blogs in general talk about their kids and everything that comes with it, with the exception of love and intimacy, which in my opinion is a hot topic that should be discussed. I’m not talking about a top ten from Cosmopolitan on the subject, nor sugar coating it so much that even Carol Brady from The Brady Bunch would know is way too far fetched. This is simply real mothers giving their perspectives on their daily lives and what they do to keep the flame alive on a topic that at times is so touchy (no pun intended).
As most mothers know, caring for children is physically and emotionally draining. Lack of sleep and privacy, in my opinion, can put a hold on your love life. For this reason, I wanted to know what other moms out there were going through and how they have managed to keep a balanced healthy relationship going with their significant others. This is simply real mothers giving suggestions on this subject. In no way is this intended to be a one size fits all type of informative corner. So with that said, here’s my interview with Martha, a mother of one handsome little boy and Nicole, a mother of two handsome little boys and a gorgeous little lady. Two mamas. Two perspectives. One touchy subject.
Gladys: Hi, can you describe what a typical weekday looks like for you?
Martha: I’m up by 5:30am and out the door by 6:30am. Luckily, my husband goes in to work a little later so he gets to take our 6-year-old first grader to school. We’re usually all home by 5pm…then it’s homework, dinner, shower, and bedtime. I know what must be going through your mind….”Gosh, that sounds like a military schedule!”. Trust me, it doesn’t happen so neatly. There is tons going on in between. My son is on full throttle 24/7 and he will do a gazillion other things that are not part of our daily routine, such as: “terrible-two” tantrums because he can’t play video games on a school night, hiding for as long as 20 minutes outside of the house in between large trash cans to avoid taking a shower, picking up 92 pieces of Legos around his room, bedtime stories and many, many more. And then we have soccer practice twice a week.
Nicole: My typical workday starts at 5:30am (soon to be 5am). After a venti triple shot of coffee, I’m ready to start my workday at 7am. I look forward to my lunch every day. I take an hour and a half lunch to work out at 24 hour fitness which is across the street from my current work location. This is what I like to call my “me time!” Work life ends at 4pm and then it’s time for me to go into mommy mode. I pick up my daughter from my aunts then the boys from the after-school program. Then I start multitasking by preparing/making dinner, keeping my toddler daughter occupied in her bedroom (i.e. watching a movie) and helping my boys with their homework (4 pages a night with each child) which includes spelling tests and reading. After dinner and homework, it’s cleaning time. Washing dishes, doing laundry, preparing clothes for the next day, and taking the kids’ showers and getting them ready for bed. I’m non-stop until 8:00pm. When I’m done wrapping up my daily tasks, my husband comes home from work/gym. I don’t get upset that he goes to the gym after work because I get it — going to the gym for me releases a lot of stress. I see it as he handles the morning shift, I handle the night shift with the kids. At 9pm it’s lights out for the kids. My husband and I start our time together, which is usually in front of the TV because we’re so burned out from the day, then lights out for us around 10-10:30pm. Next day, I start this schedule all over again.
Gladys: It sounds like you have a lot going on. How tough is it for you and your significant other to make time for each other?
Martha: Just like with everything else, some days are easier than others. And there are some days that we find ourselves feeling frustrated because our day is over before we know it and we ended up shoving “our grown-up time” to the bottom of the list. What’s unhealthy about that is that our perspective changes and “our time” begins to lose priority.
Nicole: It can be tough at times. The kids have lights out at 9pm. My husband and I usually are in bed between 10-10:30pm. We usually have a good hour to ourselves in which we find ourselves catching up on our favorite TV shows.
Gladys: Many relationship counselors and doctors agree that having children and a love life can exist. In fact, they also agree that balancing both = better parents and better lovers. I know, it doesn’t take a genius to figure this one out but the tough part is the balancing act. How do you balance? What have you tried that hasn’t worked and what have you tried that has worked in terms of keeping the flame alive?
Martha: Balancing is definitely challenging. What’s worked for us is planning ahead and teamwork. With little ones, having a routine is a must! Because there is so much going on and so much to get done, if there’s not a schedule to follow we’d be up all night. Splitting up a few responsibilities and chores has worked great. For example, on days that our son has soccer practice, instead of both of us going, one will stay to get ahead on a few things at home, giving US extra time at the end of the night. Sometimes even just planning a special night for ourselves a day or two before is enough time to let it linger in our minds to build up the excitement. A more subtle way of letting each other know that we would like some intimate time is by lighting a candle we have in our bedroom. I also like to surprise him with sweet words on a post-it note tucked away in his wallet for him to find when he pays for lunch. For me, its all about the little things that will put a smile on our face, that will ignite a spark and feed our love on a daily basis.
Nicole: With three children it is very challenging. Planning our intimacy doesn’t work for us. As much as we want to be together, something always happens if we plan it. We try to be as spontaneous as we can. Laughter usually triggers our hormones for each other. Funny as it may be sound, our bathroom gets more action than our bedroom. Of course we get knocks on the door; however, when we’re in the bathroom we don’t get as many interruptions as we would from the bedroom. It’s important to us that our children see that their parents love each other. We compliment each other often and we show some affection towards each other in front of the kids. My husband and I want our kids to grown up knowing that being in love and being happy is important.
Gladys: It’s very easy to let obstacles get in the way from having a date night. Can’t find a baby sitter, can’t afford a baby sitter, too tired to go out, there’s no time in your busy life, etc. Do you have any suggestions for overcoming these obstacles?
Martha: Our son really looks forward to hanging out with his cousins or best buddy (since he’s an only child) so we let him have a sleepover as a reward and it works as a date night for us. If you’re not too comfortable with sleepovers, you can also make it a day-date. Especially during warm sunny days, we like to hit a few of our favorite spots we used to go to when we were dating, like a day at the beach, which can be enjoyed so differently without the kiddos. As a mommy that is always on-the-go I find myself feeling exhausted the majority of the time, but the thought of some grown up fun time fuels me up just enough. If we’re feeling too tired to go out, we still do, we just keep it low key and stay local. On days that we’re not feeling romantic, we opt for a double date. I find it that going out with another couple is refreshing and can also strengthen our bond.
Nicole: My husband is a DJ (beside his regular job) and I can attest that this industry can be very difficult to deal with more so with having a family. We’ve been fortunate enough to have my mother-in-law live in our backhouse and she watches the kids when we need time for ourselves. We put the kids to bed and occasionally I’m able to go with my husband to his gigs depending on what the gig is for. This takes us back to the days before we had the kids and it gives us a chance to spend time together and do what we like doing. Listening to music, dancing and having a great time.
Gladys: Thank you so much for your insight on this touchy subject (again, no pun intended). Is there anything else you’d like to mention or suggest?
Martha: Yes, now that I think about it. Bottom line, I think it’s important to continue to spice things up. This doesn’t necessarily mean in the bedroom. Sometimes it’s also about what I wear or don’t wear. Maybe I’ll wear my robe around the house a little longer with a playful piece underneath to surprise him with later or just as a preview.
Nicole: Sexting is also a great tool while we’re away from each other. It keeps the flame alive for us.
Gladys: Wow! Well on that note, thanks so much for your candid responses and for sharing with us how you manage to keep a healthy balanced relationship going. I would love to hear from other mommies regarding their perspectives as it relates to this subject.