So, how exactly does intimacy work when you're married with an infant? Surely, nothing screams romance like the smell of spit up on the sheets. And any partner would be totally turned on by bags under the eyes and the fact that the same outfit has been worn three days straight, right? When you're the primary source of entertainment, nourishment and general safekeeping for a tiny human, it's easy to let yourself go. Your sexual self becomes like a grade school crush-someone you used to care about, but now can hardly remember. To get in the mood and perhaps rejoin the land of the living, I've created a little how-to guide for new mamas looking to glam up:
1. Leg hair be gone- this is probably the most basic of all grooming steps and can go along way towards making you feel sexy, or at least less hairy. If your legs haven't seen the light of day since sundress season and the hair can be braided at this point, it's time to dust off the razor. Even if you cover them right back up, at least they'll feel smooth and sleek when you run your hands up them or, even better, when someone else does.
2. Wash hair and ditch the ponytail- do not underestimate the amount of food, spit up, drool, snot, etc. that gets into your hair and just stays there. After the lather, rinse, repeat, perhaps you can do the unthinkable and not put it up? If the idea of leaving your hair down for the day is horrifying, it's time to either go get it done or spend a little time with a hairbrush. Styling your hair is one of the easiest ways to change your look, certainly more plausible than dropping the rest of that baby weight by nightfall.
3. Wax on, wax off (not just your eyebrows, ladies!)- much like your legs, grooming your ladyness just helps get you in the mood to show it off. This is the Field of Dreams theory people...
4. Fear not the sex- it's perfectly normal if even the thought of it is less than thrilling. It would probably be strange if you popped out a baby and were ready to go. Although it can seem like you'll never get back to a happy, healthy and satisfying sex life (for a while I thought my husband and I would just be best friends without benefits), it is possible. After all, people have more than one kid somehow. The most important thing to remember is take it slow. Talk with your partner and make sure that you are creating an inviting and sensual atmosphere for your intimate activities, no small feat with a bitty baby. Maybe leave the kids with a sitter for the night? Or take advantage of afternoon naptime? Be sure to forgive yourself if it takes a few weeks or months to get back to feeling like you actually want to have sex, let alone enjoy it. And, as my doctor told me, don't forget the lube!
5. Smile- this is possibly the most important of all. STOP COMPLAINING! No one wants to hear how many times the baby woke up last night and/or vomited all over you. While these factoids may be endlessly entertaining to you, I promise you that no one else cares as much, least of all your significant other who hears it every day. Of course, he wants to know about his spawn, but maybe the color and consistency of the poop talk can be left out for one day. Focus on the positive aspects of parenthood and how it has changed your relationship. Remember why you wanted to create a new life with this person. Also, try not to be so hard on yourself and your body. Your breasts, butt, stomach, thighs and arms may not look the same, but you carried a person for 9+ months. That logic should work for a good ten years. After that, there's always wine.