Bring sexy back!
Butterflies in your tummy, knowing a secret only the both of you know and spending hours talking about your passions, desires and life plans… when you fall in love, it’s easy to be consumed in yourselves like no one else exists. However, a few years down the line, and a baby making three, these first flushes of love can start to feel like a distant memory.
Suddenly hoping he’ll surprise you with flowers or pounce on you in the bedroom is replaced with desires of him being home on time to help change nappies, do the school run and help with the chores…not so sexy eh?
“It’s a momentous event for a couple when a baby arrives – all the dynamics between you change,” explains Susanna Abse, director of the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships. “Your priorities go from each other to the baby instead. That’s normal and natural in the first weeks and months, but the problem is that it’s then hard to revert back to being a couple. Moving back to that place feels like a withdrawal of energy from the baby, which doesn’t seem fair.”
If you want to bring back to spark into your relationship, follow these easy steps on how to spice up the romance after you’ve become parents...
Work at it
When you were dating, chances are that you put each other first, went on trips and holidays and were a little, well, selfish! There's nothing wrong with doing that, but when the baby comes along, it can throw couples into a state of shock as they see their lifestyle change before their eyes!
It's a familiar pattern many parents (new or experienced) get into, putting your baby and everyday life before romance. "The answer is about seeing the relationship as something that needs to be worked on as much as everything else in life – just like you did when you were dating," says Sue Abse.
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"See the whole scenario like a cake. Each person is a ‘slice’ – you, your partner and the baby. The relationship needs to be a ‘slice’ too. In fact, your children need you to do that. Because at the end of the day, if you and your partner have a relationship that is solid and you feel comfortable, it’s like putting the icing onto the cake of your family."
Physical contact is important
So now you’ve set your mind at being a loved-up couple again – it feels good already, doesn’t it? There’s just one problem – the children are always around. “Children can protest against seeing their mum and dad together as a two,” says Susanna Abse. And that can put you off spending time as a couple – or even having a kiss in front of them.
However, it’s important to reinstate the physical contact on a daily basis, with or without the children around, because it arouses the senses and keeps the romance alive and kicking. Try tactile touchy feely gestures like a spontaneous cuddle, hold hands or even have a cheeky snog, and you’ll notice the difference.
Feel sexy again
We know that among the baby wipes, suspect baby dribble stain on your new leggings and your probably unbrushed/unwashed hair, that it’s hard to think about feeling and looking sexy. So the key is to keep things simple. It’s time to think like a partner not just a mum!
Kate Taylor, relationships expert with Match.com and author of Domestic Sex Goddess, says, “Even if you’re one of the lucky mums who loses her baby weight within weeks of the birth, your body is still very different to how it was before. Your hips are wider, your tummy is softer, and your boobs are either brimming with milk, or slightly ‘dejected’ looking."
“Plus, it seems practical to wear mumsy clothes every day (whether that’s jeans and a jumper, or a dressing gown), as looking after a baby can be a mucky business. With a bad self-image, you won’t see yourself as a desirable woman, and this lack of confidence will cause you to reject any advances your partner makes.”
So invest in some new underwear (nothing too racy, as it’s crucial that you feel comfortable and desirable in it), treat yourself to a manicure or facial, put on a little bit of lippy, perfume, or whatever you fancy, and start feeling sexy again. Because once you get your mojo back, you’ll feel your confidence soar.
Time alone as a couple
Once you’ve got that womanly rather than mumsy feeling again, the next step is finding time for you and your man. The answer to being together without the children is simple.
“Don’t be afraid to book a babysitter,” says relationships expert and dating coach Jo Hemmings.
So whether you sneak off for a blissful child-free weekend away or have a lengthy chat over a candlelight dinner, the time you have alone with your partner will start to reignite the qualities as to why you fell for them in the first place. Plus it's a perfect opportunity to talk about things without having children or babies interrupting you.
Sex, not sleep, sometimes
Being in a long term relationship, it’s easy to slip into the not having to try hard attitude so if you have a free night or window where getting busy between the sheets can occur, it’s all too easy to opt out.
"When you have a baby, spare time and bed time becomes about the ZZZZs, not sex," says Susanna Abse.
However, it’s really important that you make the effort. Fine, you haven’t got to go all out with the seduction, but making your partner know that they are still desirable and keeping the intimacy alive is the key to a healthy and active sex life. It’s a bit like the gym. You feel too tired, but once you’re there you’re glad you went. And the great feeling afterwards – well, you must vaguely remember?
Just foreplay is fine
Stop seeing it as a full-on event, says Jo Hemmings. "Get back to foreplay rather than thinking about just penetrative sex," she says. "Remember how sex was between you, when you couldn’t wait to get each other’s clothes off. Remember that first chemistry."
So crack open that bottle of wine, dim the lights, spark up the candles and treat your partner (or be treated!) to a sensual massage, stroking or just a long kissing session once the children have gone to bed. You’ll no longer just be ‘mummy’ but ‘you’ instead. Be vocal in what you like and vice versa – make it a regular event, mark it in your diary and think up different ideas each time!
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