Ah what fun my sister had with her grand kids playing with slime.
Here’s her recipe.
Ah what fun my sister had with her grand kids playing with slime.
Here’s her recipe.
Most couples find intimacy drops after baby arrives. The hormones that flood our brains immediately after baby’s arrival, actually lower our sex drive for a period of time. This gives us the energy to deal with the stresses of a new baby and healing after delivery and while nursing is established. But all too often, couples do not resume a satisfying sex life.
There are proven ways to reignite your sexual desire for your spouse and find a new or even better intimacy than before baby.
As we talked about in the first few lessons in this Child-Ready series, enriching your friendship is vital. It is easy to slip into the habit of just talking about work, chores, and stress. We become exhausted by all that needs to be done in a day and add to that interrupted nights’ sleep and it is a recipe for friction and isolation.
Intimacy is rooted in a good friendship. So make your friendship a priority. Continue learning about your spouse every day. Be sensitive to your spouse’s appeals for connection and respond in loving ways. Affirm your spouse and appreciate all they are doing.
Do little and thoughtful things for each other. These are not hard tasks that take a long time. They are finding ways to let your spouse know you love and appreciate them. It is showing you are aware of what they are facing and what they need. Of course we still need to do the big things, but it is the little extras that you do because you want to do them that makes your spouse feel they are worth your time, attention, and love.
Look for opportunities for non-sexual affection. Enjoy touching each other for the joy it brings. Relax in one another’s arms. Rediscover the pleasure of kissing. There is something powerful in creating the “just us” element in your relationship. Holding hands, hugs, and tender touch are great ways to affirm your love for your partner. Physical affection sets the stage for sexual touch that is focused on pleasure.
Make sex a priority. Schedule it sometimes so you can look forward to it. Anticipation is a great aphrodisiac. Other times grabbing a moment for a “quickie” lets our spouse know we still enjoy their lovemaking.
Discuss your needs, desires, and frustrations
The Masters talk about their needs, desires, and frustrations in love-making. It is awkward to talk about. But here are a few guidelines that will make these discussions helpful and not harmful.
What you go through in the weeks and months after baby’s arrival is common to all parents. What you do to and for each other can make all the difference in coping with the changes. If you practice building your friendship, turning towards instead of away from your spouse, and dealing better with your conflicts; you can navigate the intimacy changes like a Master. Don’t just hope things will get better. Take action and get help if you need it.
Harvard University psychologists studied what parents did who raised good kids. The conclusions they came to are mostly common sense, but often we need reminding. I will be using this study as the basis for Parent Tips from time to time.
Raising Good Kids Tip #1- Spend Quality Time with Your Children
When both parents work outside the home and children spend many of their waking hours with other adults, parents must make a conscious effort to spend quality time, regularly with their children. Just being with them, but not giving them your full attention does NOT count as quality time.
It takes work to develop caring, loving relationships with your kids. When they feel loved, they become attached to you. That attachment makes them more receptive to learning the values that are important to you.
Exercise: Try using the following questions as conversation starters.
During December, we were reminded many times of Jesus’ birth. Although we often focus on Mary and the baby Jesus, I think the unsung hero of the story is Joseph. He was a good and righteous man. He was in tune enough with God that he believed the dreams he had were God’s word to him. He was willing to accept Mary as his wife, though she was pregnant. (Her pregnancy was an act of God, but many people would have doubted that.) After Jesus was born, he uprooted his family twice in obedience to God-given dreams: first to preserve his wife and her child from death by going to Egypt, and then to return to raise his family in Galilee. Joseph worked hard as a carpenter.
And as a good Jewish father, he trained Jesus as a carpenter too. How many admirable qualities do you see in Joseph? Have you ever stopped to consider just what a fine man he was? He had his flaws, no doubt, but the flaws did not cancel out the many characteristics that made him a good man.
I’d like to focus this month on the role of the father. As soon as the woman is aware she is pregnant, changes begin in the home. When, and how, does she tell her husband that he is a father? How will he react? The baby isn’t even born, yet attitudes about this new little human are already forming. It’s such an important time.
If the news of her pregnancy is accompanied by distress and conflict, dad may withdraw from mom. He may resent the baby’s intrusion on their relationship. He may feel he has so many additional responsibilities that he spends more and more time at work. Also, concerns about the additional responsibilities and necessary finances can make these early days of pregnancy challenging.
There are physical stresses now as well. Mom’s hormones are changing dramatically and these affect her mood, energy, and sex drive. It’s a roller coaster ride. The new changes in roles, values, and identity can cause both parents to emotionally withdraw from each other, just when they need each other the most.
We may have brought some attitudes or beliefs into our marriage that make dad fulfilling his most important roles in the family difficult or impossible. Here are some stumbling blocks:
These don’t have to be fatal to the relationship. How can you overcome these stumbling blocks? Ask for help. Be willing to help. Share your dreams. Share your fears (most new parents have some.) Pray for your baby before he or she is born. Pray for each other. And appreciate each other.
Good news! With good relationship skills before the pregnancy and practicing good conflict resolution during pregnancy and during baby’s first year, the marriage can be even stronger, and baby can have a solid family to develop in.
For now, here is one key thought: both mom and dad need to be involved in the baby’s care and development, and that starts before the baby is born. Each has specific roles to fill. Together, both parents have a wonderful, God-given potential to nurture our babies, teach them about trust and love, and model how to relate to others.
We will continue in the next few months to provide you with tools to help you communicate well with each other and continue to build your friendship and love so you can be the best mom and dad for your child.
I have written other articles for YourChildsJourney.com on How Important is Dad? and Bonding and Brain Chemicals. Do take a few minutes to read these articles as they add other aspects of Dad’s role and how to fulfill it.
One dark and stormy night (oh, yes, I know that first line is overused), Jane (only an alias because none of us want to think we could be like this), lost it.
It had been an exceptionally trying day with her toddler, Terror (not his real name, but definitely the right name for that day). Everything he had touched got broken, spilled, or lost. Everything he had said all day was at maximum volume and with such urgency it couldn’t be ignored.
Jane, on the other hand, had tried every good parenting technique she had ever read about. When they all failed, she fell back on screaming back at him, trying to ignore his antics, and crying.
Jane had finally gotten Terror to bed and was just sitting down to a soothing cup of chamomile tea, when Terror called, “Mommy,” in a sweet, soft voice. Touched by the change in tone and volume, she decided to go see what he wanted. Surely, this would just take a moment.
“Mommy, I want some water.”
“OK, Honey, just a minute.” Off Jane trotted to the sink to get a glass of water.
Back by his bedside, “Here you are.”
Terror looked up and said, “I don’t want any water.”
Jane shrugged, she tucked Terror under his cover and said, “Good night. See you in the morning.”
She just picked up her cup of tea when she heard, “Mommy, I want some water.”
Annoyed, she got a glass of water and told Terror to drink up. He announced that he didn’t need any water.
She said, “Are you sure? I don’t want to hear you ask for water again.”
“No, I don’t want water,” he said firmly.
She went back to her now lukewarm chamomile; she collapsed on her sofa.
Not one minute later, “Mommy, I really do need water!”
She carried the water to the room. Looked at that smug little Terror. Held the glass over his head and baptized him!
When the screaming stopped, she didn’t even really mind remaking his bed and changing his clothes. She had had the last word!
When she got back to the living room, she began to weep, “I’m the most awful mother in the world!” Fortunately, her husband was there and on his best form. “You are the best mommy Teddy (his real name) could have! You have just had one of the worst days ever with him and you both survived! Tomorrow will be better. I love you. I love the mother you are to Teddy, and I’ll pray for you. God will give you the wisdom and the grace you need to be the best possible mommy for Teddy.”
What a guy! Sometimes a good husband is better than a whole pot of chamomile tea. And the next day was better.
Here are some things to think about:
Some days are just horrible days. Everything seems to go wrong. That’s life and everyone faces days like this sometimes.
Most children have bad days sometimes. Some have more than the average, but they are still normal.
Consider the cause:
Some ways to deal with your ‘Terror’:
One mother knew she was getting too angry at her misbehaving son. She needed a time out. She took him to his room (knowing he was safe there) and told him he must stay there until they both calmed down. This was not rejection or punishment; it was a wise way to prevent a punishment explosion.
One time a teething baby cried so much and nothing had worked. To get a break from the screaming, his mom put him in his crib, closed the door and turned up the music. After a while she was able to go back and try again to cuddle and console her hurting baby. Again, knowing her limits, she took care of herself too.
Some experts suggest that you should never let a child cry like that; others say that letting them cry, if there is no other serious problem causing their discomfort, can be the only thing you can do. In this mom’s case she made a decision that helped her and her baby.
Take advantage of times when someone else can watch your child for a while. Don’t use those times for chores. Do what will really rest and refresh you.
Having a confidante, prayer partner, or friend that you can confide your anger and frustration to can make all the difference.
Pay attention to what your husband says about the situation. Sometimes he can see a solution that you can’t because you are too close to the problem.
Be ready to encourage another mom you meet that is having a horrible, no good, awful day with her child. It will make you both feel better. Midnight baptisms do give way to sunny mornings.