How to Enjoy Romance After Having Kids

All roads lead back to mom

When you become a mom, you're taking on a bigger task than you might have guessed. You are central to the happiness and well-being of everyone in your family. It is important to them to feel close to you and to feel sure of your interest in them. Look at these relationships as plants that need lots of water and sunlight to grow. Loving your family and telling them so is like that water and sunlight—love and reassurance are the nutrients they need.

Express Yourself

You need the support of your partner. Do not be shy about demanding some time for your relationship with him, if that's what you need. Single moms may have to cope with childcare on their own, but if you've got a partner, it's simply not acceptable for you to have to do without his support in coping with your children and their needs.

When the Support Isn't There for You

If your husband is not willing to connect emotionally with you or refuses to participate in the raising of your children, you may need to get some professional counseling. Don't dismiss the idea out of hand. If you're worried about the cost, you needn't be: Many organizations offer family counseling at an affordable rate. And this is not an area in which to make false economies. It's better to do without a few extras than to let problems in your relationship escalate to unresolvable proportions.

Redefining Your Relationship

Relationships evolve over several distinct stages:

  • The early years, when it's just the two of you
  • The birth of the first child, when you're both learning the parenting ropes
  • The settled years, when you've been together long enough to have created a routine
Mom Alert!

When the dissatisfaction blues strike, don't just ignore them and hope they'll go away on their own. Find a way to structure rewarding things into your life. Otherwise, you risk expressing your resentments in ways that can damage your relationship with the people around you who love you the most.

If you are a person who is used to crises or a lot of excitement, that third stage of a relationship may make you restless and frustrated. You might not know what is actually bothering you, but you know that something seems to be missing from your relationship and your family life. If this is the case, it's time to start an honest reappraisal of your relationship and what you expect from it. Unless you do this you will have trouble overcoming your sense of dissatisfaction, and that could very well strain your relationship.

Appreciating the Comfort of Familiarity

Familiarity and routine are not the most romantic concepts in the world. The media presents such a glamorized vision of life that it's easy to judge our own fairly “normal” existence as being somehow inadequate. But simplicity, familiarity and routine create security. And security is really what most of us want in our lives. We do not need the constant stimulation that crisis mode gives us.

Finding the Rhythm of Your Relationships

We get so used to stress that we often do not know how to sit back and enjoy our lives for exactly what they are. We always seem to want something more that we think the next woman has. Many women sabotage perfectly good relationships because they get caught up in the “is this all there is?” attitude. But the sense of dissatisfaction we feel comes from within us and is not necessarily the fault of our relationship.

It is therefore important to learn to accept your relationships with your family members for what they are, and come to terms with your own needs, instead of blindly expecting your partner or your children to fulfill your needs for you. That means getting to know who you are, and ceasing to define yourself by the roles you play. And it means recognizing the natural flow of your relationships within your family.

Each of us is ultimately responsible for our own happiness. To maximize your satisfaction with your relationships and with your life, you need to find out what you really want out of life and be willing to work at making it happen within the context of your family. After all, your family is a part of that vision—and it can provide the foundation of love and security you need to achieve the rest of your goals.

excerpted from:

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Motherhood © 1999 by Deborah Levine Herman. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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