by Joanna Zucker
Becoming a mother can be a difficult transition. You go from being a newlywed or at worst a couple with lots of freedom (regarding time and often finances) to having another human being 100% dependant on you for survival. While this transition is done by millions of women each year it is still a tough one. If you are like most women you power through it, ask for advice, read a lot and go about your way. Then you return back to work and manage that transition on top of being a new mom, you are now trying to figure out how to be a working mom. As you are figuring out all these new things and transition, your husband may be wondering “where did my wife go?”
Where did you go? You feel like you have gone on a roller coaster. Your hormones have had so many ups and downs from pre-natal vitamins, to birth and recovery, to breastfeeding if you chose that route. In my case I ran this cycle three times back to back, for four and a half straight years! I don’t think my ovaries knew who they were and what I was doing to them. I almost wished for a monthly cycle and period just so I had an excuse to be moody or at least knew when my bad mood was coming! After Sarah my third was born, I remember my doctor giving me the normal speech at your one week checkup about “and no sex for four weeks” and it took every ounce of strength I had to not laugh out loud. Like that was going to happen with a three year old, eighteen month old and newborn…hah.
But you quickly realize, be it your first, second or third, that you must make time for your husband and sex. His body has not gone through all these changes or fluctuations and well, he is still a man. And no matter how tired you are, or how not in the mood you are, HE IS…OFTEN. So you need to do whatever it takes to not forget about him and his sexual needs as you manage the transition. I remember I would always think to myself, when it the last time we had sex, and if it was around a week ago I would make myself get in the mood. For some reason I felt like going longer than a week was just awful and mean to my husband. I remember a friend of mine saying “we all “take” our Saturday naps, and thank god for them.” That is how she and her husband found their time to be intimate.
The key is to find the time and to foster your relationship, as it is the most important one in the house. Given it is Valentine’s season I thought I would provide some easy tips to get you started. My first tip is to just talk to one another, like you used to when all that mattered in the world was each other. Find a time in the day that is your time as a couple. This will vary based on the schedules of your children, often dictated by their age. But whether it is early morning before they wake up, commuting together, late evenings, or coffee after dinner make sure to catch up and talk as a couple. Always remember that this person is your best friend and partner and having time to talk each day allows them to be both. As you talk to each other don’t forget the simple things like saying ‘thank you’ and tell them what a great dad or mom they are. In the midst of tantrums, bad days at work and mountains of laundry nothing is better than hearing how much you are loved and appreciated.
Even better is if your time to talk is on a date night. There is no right or wrong answer for how frequently to go out on a date; it really depends on what you can afford and what you are comfortable with in terms of leaving your children. The key is to just go out without the kids, even if it to the local coffee shop or bar for a couple of hours. If you choose to do a weekly date night, I recommend getting a sitter “on retainer” for the same evening each week. This will make planning much easier and the kids will be very comfortable with their sitter. If your date night is less frequently, try to think of the dates in advance to get a sitter. I often book my sitters about 4-6 weeks before, when we go over the calendar and choose our nights out. Finally, get the sitter 30 minutes early so you can take the time to look fabulous and not be stressed.
I find Saturdays are better than Fridays. It is really tough go out after a long days work, particularly on a Friday which is after 5 days of work. This also means you may not see your kids, or for only a short period. I think Saturdays are much easier, as you are flexible with when to leave, the kids have spent the day with you and you aren’t as exhausted.
For those of you who read my New Year resolutions , I believe the best way to truly keep the romance with your spouse or partner is to take a vacation without the kids each year. Just get away. If you can’t take a vacation, steal a night or weekend and call in a favor of your family or friends to watch the kids. Nothing brings back intimacy faster than being in hotel with no children in sight.
Lastly, I am a big fan of providing my husband with a gift list. I am sure we have all heard once during our dating years or marriage “I don’t or didn’t know what to get you” from our husband. On the other hand, when they get you a great gift, be it random or for your birthday, your day is made. To ensure all your special days are special, make a list of potential gifts for your husband. From really inexpensive to the ultimate wish (like a 10th anniversary level) make up a list so he never has an excuse and you have a better chance of “being in the mood.”
May your and our Valentine have a very happy Valentine’s day.
Joanna Zucker, Associate Marketing Director at Procter & Gamble and mother of three, has launched her first book Millennium Mom .
Millennium Mom  offers invaluable advice to working mothers on how to manage their busy lives. With more women working than ever before Joanna decided to capture her tips in an effort to help women like her. Millennium Mom  is an authentic and inspiring book written by someone on the front line of a dual career household. Joanna opens the doors of her home to her readers allowing them to imagine how they can lead a less stressed and fulfilled life with their family. For more information about Joanna and Millennium Mom, visit us at www.MillenniumMom.com .