Everyone knows that having kids changes things. You can’t sleep. You can’t eat without someone hanging onto you, or at least crying in the background. You can’t do anything alone anymore, including using the bathroom. You long for just five minutes. Five minutes to close your eyes…read a book (that isn’t about babies)…to make a phone call to a friend…to do just about anything that doesn’t involve babies, diapers, poo, milk, pumping, or crying...anything that remotely resembles the life that you had BEFORE you had kids. Just five blessed minutes, please.
It’s physically, mentally and emotionally challenging to be a Mom. Seriously. You have to use more mental capabilities than people without kids…how else can you explain the complexities of the PTA system without saying that it was invented by MOTHERS?!?! And by the end of your day, if you still find yourself standing, all you can think of is how quickly you can get horizontal and how long you might get to sleep that night. The last thing on your brain is sex. Seriously. I mean, that’s what got you in “this mess” in the first place, right?
But let me assure you…this phenomenon does NOT happen to your husband. He continues to think about, dream about and eagerly desire you and your more intimate moments as a couple. I mean, he didn’t die, right? Therefore, he’s thinking about sex. When he last had it. When he could maybe get it again. And maybe he’s even wondering if taking the 4am feeding will get him any closer to that next time…I’m just saying…
If you’re lucky (like me) then you’re blessed with a husband who at least gets the concept of how draining it is to be a mom on a mental level. Yes, he’s still a man and his body responds/thinks differently…but on a realistic level he gets that you just might not be interested right now. And if he’s a keeper (also like mine) then he actually understands that it has nothing to do with you being interested or not interested in sex…or with him…it has to do with the fact that there are just limitations on new mothers that he doesn’t have to deal with. You don’t have the energy to think about sex, much less to actually perform the act. And although he might not be 100% okay with it all, he understands. And patiently waits.
If you’re not blessed with a husband like that, then you’ve probably got someone like my ex-husband…who waited impatiently for me to get out of what I like to call “Mom Mode” and back into “Wife Mode.” You might even receive an ultimatum or two along the way...but that’s probably the other end of the extreme. Most guys probably fall somewhere in between those two categories - somewhere closer to understanding what you’re going through and further away from issuing commands. At least that's how they are for the first few months, since they’ve been warned by all of their other “dad” friends to not expect to see you naked more than a handful of times in that first year!
But to be perfectly honest, that’s not what I want. I don’t want to be too tired to be a wife. I enjoy the physical side of my relationship with my husband and have actively missed it during these first few months of our son’s life. Yes, there have been nights (sometimes two nights in a row!) where I possessed an abundance of energy and managed to channel that energy in a way that pleased both of us - I won’t lie. And it’s probably happened more often than average, if I had to guess, although I’ll admit to doing NO research on the subject before making that statement. But that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t like more.
When I had my daughter way back when, this was the hardest transition/lesson for me to learn – how to take off my “Mommy” hat and just be me again. To learn that I had worth without my child. To realize that I could function without her attached to my hip 24/7. To remember that I had a name (that wasn’t “Mom”) and to embrace that side of me. I don’t want that to happen this time around. I love my husband too much to allow that to happen. I miss my husband too much to be okay with that. I will not accept a slow and gradual re-awakening of Sandy this time…
Enter the 30 Day Intimacy Challenge that Pamela over at Road to Joy issued to her friend and other readers. This came with what can only be called perfect timing for me. My newborn is about to turn three months old…things are improving around our house on a daily basis as far as schedules and chores where he’s concerned (although we’re still waking to eat twice a night!) and I’m rediscovering myself and my needs way ahead of the schedule this time around. I remember that I have hobbies. I have interests. There is more to me than Mom.
I miss my husband. I miss having those quiet moments spent with just the two of us, holding hands or cuddling and making plans for the future. Our future. I miss the intimacy of our relationship. As new parents, we’re more like ships passing in the nights of little to no sleep…and that’s ok. That’s what this time in our son’s life is supposed to be like. But I don’t want it to stay that way. I want more out of my marriage. And to get more, it’s going to take work…or at least some effort on our parts. It’s going to take commitment. Good marriages don’t just magically happen…you work at them and continue to try to make them better each day, not being complacent with where you are as a couple, right? That’s what I think anyway.
I don’t know about you, but I’m never more connected with someone than when I’m being wooed. (That’s still a word that people use, right?) I want romance. I want intimacy. I don’t want it to just be about a physical act, even if that physical act is where all the other stuff leads. I want the foreplay back - whether I have the time/energy or not. I need to make the time and find the energy…because it’s important to me. I want a good marriage. I want a strong connection with my partner. I want it all to mean more.
Don’t get me wrong - Brent and I have a great marriage. Sure, there are off times, but more often than not we’re laughing like crazy people and loving on each other. Day in a day out we try not to take the other for granted. We try to do the small things that show the other that they’re appreciated. We communicate. We don’t typically go to bed angry. We say “I love you” and “Thank you” and “I’m sorry” when needed. We also tell it like it is when one of us is being a jerk. We have a strong relationship. And we connect on a purely physical level as married people (and parents) can do. We try to provide a good example for our children, like we have been given and shown by our parents.
That doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be better. Being good doesn’t mean that there’s no room for improvement. There are always things that you can do to make things better. I truly believe that.
With that being said, I accepted the challenge that Pamela and some others threw down. I accept the 30 Day Intimacy Challenge. Well, not just me, but Brent and I accept. We discussed this last night, and we both really liked the concept and can see all of the benefits that could come out of a challenge of this sort. Here’s the plan, according to Pamela:
“The Deets: For the next 30 days, every single day, make time for and engage in some kind of physical intimacy with your sweetie. You may not jump under the sheets every day, but there’s a whole world of fun you can engage in. Hold hands, Eskimo kiss, gaze into each other’s eyes, etcetera. And you can’t keep this plan a secret. You have to ask your partner to participate and commit with you. You’re going to see more posts from me on this, sharing feedback from others that are participating, feedback on how this impacts their relationships. I’d appreciate your comments, or you could email me (email@example.com) and we could keep your input anonymous.”
Now, don’t get scared. I’m not going to share anything more specific than I’ve shared in this post. Like I said earlier, my MOM reads these posts…so there is censorship in place. Plus, I truly believe that’s for me and mine to have and hold dear to our hearts…not for me to broadcast on the www for any and all to read about. That’s sort of what makes it intimate…
But I will write about what we’re doing outside of the bedroom to accomplish this challenge. And you can bet that I’ll be sharing the positive effects that this is sure to have on our relationship. We started the challenge Sunday (Oct 17th) and just committing to it – both stating out loud that we’re going to make the effort to put our relationship back towards the front burner when we know that it won’t be exactly easy with an infant in the house – made each of us feel so good about our relationship and each other. I feel stronger, more capable and more connected than I have in the past few weeks.
I look forward to the upcoming weeks and hope that you enjoying reading about this challenge. I probably won’t update you daily…I don’t want to make you sick with all the lovey-dovey stuff…but I will post regularly about it so that you know I’m still hanging in there. And who knows, maybe this will lead to the original 30 Day Challenge?!?!
Want to know more about that? Read about it here. Or here.
Do you want to join me? I’d love to hear about it if you do!