Yesterday was Mother’s day and it prompted me to think about life as a parent and the challenges we face juggling parenthood, work life, relationship life, and the all-important sex life. “What sex life?!”, I hear some of you sigh. Yeah well, I totally get it … parenting is FULL ON, kids can be demanding, and it’s super common for our sex lives to suffer as a result.
I get it because I’m a Mother, and when my child is being challenging, and parenting is feeling full on, the last thing I feel like doing at the end of the day is enjoying sex with my beloved. Seriously, I know it may sound crazy coming from a ‘sexologist’, but it’s true … sometimes I’m all parent-ed out and I just want to tell everyone to f*ck off and let me sleep, or just sit on the couch and do nothing, all by myself.
So what’s the solution to the all-too-common ‘juggling parenthood and sex life’ challenge? Well, there isn’t one magic solution, but there’s a couple of things you can implement straight away that are sure to create more time for intimacy, both with yourself, and your partner.
# 1 Regular bedtime routine
Create a regular bedtime routine that has structure and that’s consistent. It doesn’t matter if you’re a single parent, a couple, or separated parents co-parenting between two houses, create a strict bedtime routine and stick with it.
Here’s an example of what I do with my 10 year old: Dinner about 6pm, family time 6 - 7.15pm, 7.30pm BEDTIME. I say goodnight, tuck her in, and then she’s allowed to read her book until 8pm when it’s lights out and she listens to a guided kid’s meditation while she drifts off to sleep. This routine has been happening since I can remember, and she loves it.
The reason I suggest a regular bedtime routine is so that you’re guaranteed that every single night you get time to yourself and/or time as a couple. Alone. No kids. Silence. As a couple, this gives you time to be together and connect. If you’re single, this gives you time to yourself to chill the f*ck out.
Some added extras that often make bedtime easier (I personally use all of these): put lavender essential oil on their chest at night, put on a diffuser in their bedroom with lavender (and other oils you love), and put on a kid’s guided meditation for them to fall asleep to.
#2 Schedule in time for yourself
Every single week it’s REALLY important that you are getting time to pursue your own passions and hobbies .. this means you have to schedule in a regular date with YOURSELF. No kids and no partner … just you. If you’re a couple, make sure you are both getting regular time out separately, without the kids. So for example, every Wednesday night one of you gets to go to a Yoga class, and then Thursday night the other person gets to do what they love (could be dinner with friends, pottery class, tennis … something you love doing that takes you away from the kids and your partner).
The reason I encourage this is that there needs to be polarity in a relationship for it to work. All-too-often couples end up doing everything together … pursuing the same hobbies, watching the same TV shows, having the same friends … and boom, there’s no polarity, there’s nothing to talk about aside from the kids and work. Arggggggggg just writing about this makes me feel bored.
So, pursue your own hobbies and interests, take time out with your friends, and support each other to have space by yourself without the kids. Make this a regular time each week and notice how it creates more freedom and joy, hence creating more zest for deeper intimacy and sex with your partner when you reunite.
And for the single parents … either pencil in a babysitter, or someone who can care for your child regularly. Or, if your chid is living between two houses, wait until they are at the other parents house, and make sure you do heaps of stuff for yourself while they are away.
#3 Schedule in time as a couple, no kids allowed
This is REALLY important. Life gets really, really busy and full on when we are juggling careers, parenthood and life itself. Often couples feel like there’s NO time at all to even have sex, let alone want to have it. So, I suggest that couples lock in a regular time EVERY week to have time without the kids. An example could be every Wednesday evening you go out for dinner, or every Monday morning you have coffee together at a coffee shop after school pickup. Get creative with how you can spend quality time together as a couple.
My next suggestion is to get away on a lover’s weekend … often. This is one of my favourite things to do because it gives me an opportunity to enjoy a beautiful hotel room, not to have to worry about the house work, plus chill the f*ck out with my beloved without being in parent mode. I also feel like more sex when I’m on a weekend away.
#4 Set boundaries with your kids
Don’t be afraid to be firm with your children and give them an example of what healthy couples do; healthy couples prioritise quality time together to connect, and prioritise time together to enjoy sex. So, if it’s a Sunday morning, and you feel like making love, tell your children that you are having time to connect and make love, close the door, and go for it! Seriously, if you want to teach your kids about healthy sex and true intimacy, the best way you can do it is to do it yourself and give them a healthy transmission of a couple who prioritise that.