"Romance doesn’t need to be grand gestures, it could be putting the kids to bed, packing the kids’ lunches or washing the dishes together." - Do you know someone who needs a reminder?
Australian mums are working longer, commuting more and at the end of each day, more tired than ever. It’s no wonder that when it comes to Valentine’s Day, most of us either scoff at the commercialism or couldn’t be bothered. Other than filling the bedroom with rose petals and giant stuffed bears, there are other more practical and less tacky changes to our relationship that could result in more action in the bedroom.
Why Is Checking In So Important?
Sarah* has two young kids and works full time. She admits that Valentine’s Day passed unnoticed because she was too busy.
“It’s already the first month back at school and it feels like term two, it’s very stressful. It’s just go go go and you can’t stop,” she says. If any intimacy happens, it’s during the weekend.
Sex and relationship expert, Pamela Supple, considers sex an important part of a relationship.
“It really helps partners connect and keep that intimacy together,” she says.
Everyone is time poor, but time should be put aside for intimacy. She doesn’t consider it scheduling, but rather finding the time in the week that suits you both to share a moment together.
It's OK for your teen to be online. Online relationships are part of typical adolescent development. Social media can support teens as they explore and discover more about themselves and their place in the grown-up world. Just be sure your teen is behaving appropriately in both the real and online worlds. Many teens need to be reminded that a platform's privacy settings do not make things actually "private" and that images, thoughts, and behaviors teens share online will instantly become a part of their digital footprint indefinitely. Keep lines of communication open and let them know you're there if they have questions or concerns.
“Making the time and how to do that is a joint effort.”
Make time for intimacy. Image: iStock.
"Bottom of the ‘things to do’ list"
There are many reasons why sex is pushed to the bottom of the ‘things to do’ list. One partner may feel like sex and the other is exhausted. Perhaps a couple’s body clock isn’t in sync or habits change. The kids may be asleep, and one partner wants to go to bed early. The other partner may like staying up to fall asleep in front of the TV or get some work ready for the next day.
How Much Screen Time Is Too Much?
Supple suggests talking about a regular time that is best for both of you.
“Don’t think, ‘oh god, this is something else I have to do. It can create a crack in the relationship. One person says, ‘we haven’t had sex in so long’ and then the other person may feel guilty,” she says.
Having sex because a person feels guilty doesn’t contribute to a relationship and can build resentment.
“Guys can switch on and off anytime, actually, they don’t switch off,” says Sarah, “we require more time and we don’t have it.”
Talk about what it means to be a good person. Start early: When you read bedtime stories, for example, ask your toddler whether characters are being mean or nice and explore why.
Sarah feels she needs time to unwind and can’t turn herself on and off at any time, like her husband.
“Women need more time for romance in whatever form that may take,” she says.
Romance could just be helping out when your hands are full. Image: iStock.
"Romance doesn’t need to be grand gestures"
Supple agrees with spending some time together and seeing where that leads. Romance doesn’t need to be grand gestures, it could be putting the kids to bed, packing the kids’ lunches or washing the dishes together. Sarah’s idea of what needs to be done around the house is different to her husband’s idea. She feels she can’t do it all and the chores need to be shared. Her husband helps out here and there, but she does most of the housework.
Supple suggests leaving household duties to the next day but being mindful of not leaving it to one person, if it was agreed that both people would do it.
“It’s equal share in a relationship. Don’t promise things and then not do it, that fosters resentment. When you say you are going to do something, do it,” says Supple.
Often in the moment, the intention may be good, but then there is no action.
Valentine’s Day may come and go because you’re too busy to notice. So, maybe the following weekend when there’s time to relax, pour a glass of wine and just have a chat, if that leads to some intimacy, then great.
Be the role model your children deserve. Kids learn by watching their parents. Modeling appropriate, respectful, good behavior works much better than telling them what to do.
* Name has been changed to protect privacy.