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Waaaaay back when I began my blog, we talked about how I was failing miserably at hitting on my husband.  I was struggling to make outright moves on my man to get him into bed.  More recently, I’ve been thinking about the nonverbal signs we send out to our partners.  Beneath the overt moves we make (or attempt to), there is a slightly more nuanced world.  It is a place where nonverbal communication lives: sexual and otherwise.  Marriages are filled with these subtle signs and symbols.

Think about your partner and the secret language you’ve established with each other.  Are you fluent in your partner’s silent sexual language? Do you become better at sending out and reading these signals the longer you’re married?  Or were you more in tune at the start?  There are so many aspects to this complex world and things can become tricky, so let’s start with something easy:

How do you know when your partner wants to do it? (Without her saying, Let’s do it, baby!)

When it comes to whether I’m up for some nookie, sometimes words just aren’t necessary.   Here’s a few from my house and the homes of random unnamed friends.

“He’s brushing his teeth right after the kids go to bed…”

“I wore a thong today…”

“I’m covered head to toe in a blanket with my elastic waist pants on, reading Harry Potter and eating a bowl of ice cream…”  (Okay, that one is not so subtle)

“He’s helping with the dishes…”

“I left on the cute dress I wore to work today instead of changing into my PJs at 5pm…”

“I keep talking about all the hilarious, annoying, cute, frustrating, silly moments of the day with the kids”

“Someone’s taking a shower at 8pm…”

“Antiques Roadshow is on…”

“He came home with chocolate…”

“I’m writing my blog about our sex life…” (that one could go either way, right?)

Some silent signals are completely obvious and span the majority of long-term relationships, but others are unique to certain partnerships or just generally not as easy to ascertain.  Antiques Roadshow might be foreplay…

Letting your partner know whether you’re up for a good old fashioned time is just one piece of the silent secret language puzzle…

What is one way you or your partner silently tells the other if you’re in the mood or not?  Share on Facebook or Twitter @HVParent

C’mon, just do it.  You might blush, but you might like it, too.

 

 

 

Another Mother’s Day has passed.  Another 364 days until our husbands get up with the kids on a Sunday while we laze around in bed…

Oh husbands, now don’t get yourselves in a tiff, I’m just kidding.  You guys do lots of wonderful things for us all the time…we love you.

Moving on…

I am curious about what Mother’s Day means to everybody out there, or more specifically, how you spend it. I’ve heard lots of different stories over the years about how Mamas like to spend their day in the spotlight, and it seems to me that the celebrations fall into two categories: Family Time or Family, Please Leave Me Alone, Time.

One mother I know always goes out to breakfast at her favorite restaurant without any children or men within fifty miles of the place.  She then spends the rest of her day perusing fashion magazines while watching her husband clean the house and wrangle the kids.

A couple years back, my friends and I went out for a few drinks the night before Mother’s Day.  I’ll spare you the embarrassing details, but we ended up on the dance floor at 3am with rum and cokes in our hands chanting, “Mother’s Day Eve! Mother’s Day Eve!”  My, always amazing, husband picked us up at a late night pizza place…me, smashing my pizza onto my tank top as I got into the car.  (Okay I guess I didn’t spare the embarrassment)   Needless to say, it was an epic night, but Mother’s Day itself, was filled with guilt and vomit, so we won’t be doing that again.

There was also the Mother’s Day, that I thought my boyfriend was going to propose.  Yes, we had our first son before we got married…so scandalous.  Anyway…on the big day I opened up a big box, secretly thinking a smaller box was going to be inside.  I was wrong.  Shoes.  Really beautiful white Italian strappy shoes.  But shoes nonetheless.  (Shout out to my man, who proposed a few months later, completely surprising me)

Then came the Mother’s Day when I was only days away from giving birth to my youngest son, my husband dressed our three year old up in a pillowcase toga and proceeded to wow me with a Shakespearean-esque performance of a sonnet, praising the power and beauty of the woman that is mother.

This year, my husband made breakfast for everybody and afterwards I went to a Pilates class with my bestie and grabbed some coffee.  It was the perfect blend of Family Time and Get Me the Heck Away from My Family Time.

Share your Mother’s Day stories!   The best, the worst, the weirdest…Are you a Family Timer or a Time to Give Mommy Spacer?

 

 

Last week we talked about our tough parenting emotions… the frustration, anger, guilt, and sadness that we all feel at some point while raising our little bundles of joy.  These feelings are never going to disappear.  There will always be hard days, weeks, months, and even years.  So how can we deal with this?  To a parenting outsider, it might sound like all of us are crazy for going down this road.   But we know the truth.  We all know we wouldn’t trade our little monsters for anything…not even for a full night of sleep and a clean house.  Instead, we have to find ways to cope with the challenges.  My advice: sing.

It all started on a camping trip a couple of years ago with a good friend who also has two children.  Inevitably, there were moments of frustration:  “No, we can’t throw the entire bag of marshmallows into the fire at once to watch them explode,”  “No, you can’t pee right outside the opening to our tent no matter how bad you need to go,”  “Your brother cannot be used as bait for any approaching werewolves…”

When we felt like we wanted to throw in the proverbial camping towel and go home, we started to make up silly songs.  Our children thought we were crazy, but we were having a blast.  And guess what?  Frustration, gone.  Tension, released.  We were able to get back to the business of parenting without any residual “bad stuff” hanging on.

After our trip, we began compiling songs for the “Greatest Hits of Parenting” Soundtrack.  When you’re feeling overworked, overwhelmed, tired, or grumpy, give it a try.  Your kids might appreciate it, or they might not (which more often than not is the case in my house)

But YOU will feel better…and this is about YOU!  Sing to your kids, sing aloud to yourself, sing the song in your head, sing it to your partner when you finally get some alone time…whatever helps to let the bad stuff roll off your back.  Do it!

P.S.  If you don’t know a song, please use the handy dandy internet to find it and listen.  You might find a new favorite…

For the times when your child won’t stop asking you for candy in the check out line:  No, No, No” By Destiny’s Child

For the times when your toddler is having a tantrum over dinner or maybe when you’re letting your baby cry it out for the first time:  Simon and Garfunkel’s “I Am A Rock”

When your daughter has gone into a tailspin after a tiring day at child care and you’re not sure what to do: She’s A Maniac” from Flashdance

When their B.F.F.s get I Phones and they… don’t:  You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones

When deciding between orange juice or apple juice turns breakfast into a nightmare:  “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls (Tell me what you want, what you really really want.  I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want…)

And for pretty much any moment of any day:  Respect” by Aretha Franklin  (This is the mother of all parenting soundtrack songs and will get you moving, grooving, and forgetting your troubles.  It might even get your kids to clean up their plates after dinner)  

When the going gets tough…Sing!  What are some of the songs on your parenting soundtrack?

 

 

 

 

When I first became a mother, a friend asked me, “What’s it like?”

All that came out were tears. Many, many tears.

“What’s it like?”  A seemingly innocent question, which in all actuality, is the most overwhelming thing you can ever ask a parent, especially a new mom.

Becoming a parent, and the experience of raising a child, embodies every single feeling you could ever imagine and multiplies it by 100.  Then it adds a million other feelings that you never even knew existed.  And I’m not only talking about the positive feelings. You know the good ones: love, pride, dedication, joy… we all know we love our children more than anything.  We all  love to share the joy of watching our little pack of wild creatures grow.  We love to talk about the pride we feel in relation to our children and their accomplishments…blah blah blah.

But what about the bad stuff?  What about the ugly feelings?

When I say becoming a parent embodies and amplifies every feeling, I mean every feeling:  sadness, anger, worry, frustration, loneliness, powerlessness, rage, guilt.  These feelings sometimes overpower the true happiness that was borne out of becoming a parent, yet we don’t talk about them so much.  We save them for the nights that we lie in bed and cry, or lie in bed and eat a massive Mixed Italian Sub with extra mayo and pickles because we feel so guilty about the way we yelled at our kids that day.  (Yes, I’ve done that.  More than once.  More than 5 times.  Okay, okay, I did it last night.)

Recently, I ran into an old friend from elementary school, who is a new mom to a beautiful little dude.   Silly me, I asked her “How’s it going?”

I know, I know. What the heck was I thinking?

Despite my faux pas, we proceeded to have a refreshingly honest conversation about parenting.   We talked about how amazing it was, of course. But we also talked about how she was lonely at times and how hard it was to be up all night and how it’s a struggle to figure things out.  At the end she apologized for being a “Gloomy Gus.”  The notion that she needed to apologize for being honest about motherhood reminded me that we really need to talk about the bad feelings that come with this job more often.

Maybe if we all talked about the tough stuff, it wouldn’t seem so tough?  Maybe we would remember that we are all human and we all have flaws that we struggle with when it comes to raising other humans. Yes, our kids are humans too, despite my theory that they came from an alien planet inhabited by creatures who only speak in beeps, growls, and fake farting noises.

I’ll start the sharing with one of my many tough parenting times:  I find it incredibly difficult to be nice to my children at their bedtime.  I know it is important to give them a peaceful send off into dreamland, but more often than not, I just can’t do it.  I’m impatient, I yell,  and I don’t laugh at the cute dances they do while putting on their PJs. Overall, I feel frustrated.  Then as soon as they are asleep, I go back in, look at their serene faces and promise myself I’ll do better tomorrow. At this point I typically feel a combination of overwhelming love and guilt.  You know, a typical Friday night in the life of a parent.

What’s your parenting tough stuff?  What are the times that amplify your “bad feelings?”

Next week:  A fun way to help let the trials and tribulations roll off your back…

 

Me: “This week I’m writing about the reasons why we should have sex even though we’re so busy.

Husband: “Because it’s fun. Blog done.”

What else could I say?  The man had a point.  But after our stimulating conversation, I continued to think on it. After all, I had 300 to 500 words to write.

For me, fun isn’t always enough to combat the overwhelming business of life.  What I need is a whole host of whys that I can refer back to when I need motivation to get busy even though I’m busy.

So here goes…

“Why Busy Parents Should Have Sex: A Comprehensive List”

1. Because it’s fun (some of you may be able to stop here)

2. Your partner will be in a better mood.

3. You will be in a better mood.  (this magically makes your children seem easier to take care of and all around more lovable and cute.)

4. It counts as exercise (this is a helpful one if you’re like me and never get up to squeeze in an a.m. workout)

5. Chocolate tastes even better after you’ve done it.

6. You can enjoy G rated snuggle time afterwards (without anyone trying to grab your boobs)

7. Your stress will wash away for at least 5, maybe even 60, minutes.

8. You will be practicing mindfulness (nothing’s better than being in the moment)

9. You will remember your wild side.

10. It gives you a reason to change the sheets (Ew!  Gross, but true)

11.  It gives you a reason to take a shower.

12. You will most likely share a laugh with your partner either before, during, or after.  (What’s better than a laugh?)

13.  You will sleep better.

14. You will catch a glimpse of the couple you used to be, remember how far you’ve come, and you will love each other even more than you thought you ever could.  (Now granted this won’t happen during every little quickie you’re trying to fit in here and there, but it happens when you need it most. Sometimes you can  look into the eyes of the person you love, really look, and you will see the whole life you created together.)

Why do you make time to do it?  Add to my list!

 

 

 

 

 

How do we find the time to do it, Moms? And yes, I mean “Do It,” as in, “Have Sex.”

Once we’ve successfully figured out how to hit on our husbands when are we supposed to do this thing that created our children, the thing that we would actually enjoy if we stopped thinking about the grocery list while we were unzipping our jeans?  (You know you’ve done that at least once)

The most logical time, and possibly the most popular time among us parents, is after the children go to bed.  The kids are down for the count, you’ve got a good two hours before you’re turning in, why not spend it rolling in the hay?

Well, because five minutes in, someone calls for a drink of water, and then a hug, and then you realize you forgot to feed the dog and you can’t concentrate until you do, then since your downstairs anyway, you run to the basement to throw the wet clothes into the dryer so they don’t need to be rewashed, AGAIN, and then by the time you get back to your bedroom your spouse is passed out with one arm in the tee shirt and one arm out… and secretly you’re a little relived because now you can binge watch your favorite Netflix series.

How about the morning?  I know someone who always made time for lovin’ in the a.m. She called it “Set it to Get it.”  She would set her alarm a half an hour early and start her day with a bang. In college this was cool because we didn’t get out of bed until at least 10am, but in the grown-up world, Set it to Get it means 5am sex, maybe even earlier.  This is not for me.  I find it painful to even speak to anyone before coffee.

I watched an interview with a famous mom who was dedicated to co-sleeping.  She insisted that co-sleeping helped her sex life because her and her husband became more adventurous by doing it in strange places around the house.  First of all, she probably had a live-in nanny, so we can ignore any of her parenting and/or marriage advice.  But in the interest of being fair,  if you are a mom who chooses to co-sleep, please tell me she was lying.  If not, I’ll have to consider starting a new trend; I can see the headline now. “Co-Sleeping with your Middle Years Children Will Improve Your Sex Life.”

Let’s face it Mamas, we’re tired and constantly surrounded by people under four feet tall, so the when is always going to be tricky.  I think the key is to focus on the why.  Why is getting busy, even when we’re so busy, important?

Tune in next week.

 

Every night after story time, I lean in to give my three year old a kiss; every night I suffer the same rejection, “No kisses!” he states.  So I just stand there, like a puppy near the dinner table, hoping he’ll toss a scrap of affection my way.  I’ve resigned myself to being satisfied with pressing my cheek up against his head.

Sometimes I imagine playing hard to get: throwing out a reserved, Downton Abbey-style, “Good Night, then,” from across the room as I flick off the lights and walk briskly out the door without looking back.  “That’ll show him,” I say aloud to no one in particular.  “A few weeks of that and he’ll be begging for a kiss.  He’ll love me soon enough.”  (Cue the evil laugh)  That’s the moment when my husband tells me I’m coo coo, and my slightly Oedipus-like revenge fantasy goes out the window.

My oldest, on the other hand, can’t get enough hugs and kisses.  Every night he calls me in when he is done reading,(his brother having already fallen into what I can only imagine is a peaceful, yet emotionless sleep.)  He pretends we forgot to say good night so he can get one more squeeze and one last smooch.  I can see in his eyes that this last show of affection releases his worries, and he is finally able to drift off to sleep.  I know how important this moment is for him, yet there are still many nights when I begrudgingly return to his room because he called for his final hug right when I sat down with a piece of chocolate (or 5) and a glass of wine (or 2).

We spend our entire lives balancing different needs:  our needs, the needs of friends, parents, co-workers, spouses…the list goes on and on.  It is a challenging task, whether you are a parent or not.  But it is parents, in particular, that live in this tricky world of balancing the emotional needs of themselves and their children.  And in that extremely difficult task, there are blurred lines (No, not the Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus kind)  The kind of complex emotional situations that make you ask yourself, “Am I doing this for me or my child?”  “Whose need is this, anyway? And “Whose need should take precedence?”  The answers aren’t always clear, the questions come up on a daily basis, and as they grow, things get murkier.

When it comes to kisses, I give my boys what they need for now, holding on to the hope that when sorting through all these needs, I am doing the best job I can at the hardest job there is.

Anyone?

Dads, you can join in too if you’re wearing…no judgement here.

I am not wearing a thong today.  Surprise, surprise.  The thought of pulling on a thong while I’m rushing to get dressed because my three-year old is calling from the bathroom saying, “I need someone to wipe me!” just seems absurd.

Although, I’m not a complete stranger to floss as undergarments.  There was a time during my early 20’s when the thong was living a full and well-traveled life.  Red, black, lace, hot pink, under a skirt, under pants, under my PJs…anywhere, anytime could be thong time.

Sadly, (or not so sadly, depends on whom you ask) my trusty bar hopping companions now rest in darkness, stuffed willy nilly into the farthest reaches of my underwear drawer, sitting like forgotten childhood stuffed animals, only trashier.  I mean, god forbid one of the kids finds them!  How does one explain their purpose to a seven-year old boy?  I still remember my oldest, at four, pulling a butterfly shaped number over his head saying, “Look at my mask!”

He ran around the house for the next hour, like some kind of harlot superhero, protecting moms around the world from the call of the granny pantie.

Is there a place for the thong in a mom’s life besides the back of the dresser?

True, there are the occasional times when they are actually functional: the fitted dress you want to wear to a friend’s wedding or the white, poorly-lined work pants that hug your tushie right where it meets your thigh.

But what about the thong as a tool for attraction?  Has our over-sexualized, male dominated media turned me into a thong zombie who only feels hot in one because they told me so?  Or is there a universal and primal attraction to a piece of string in between our unmentionables?  I’m pretty sure if I had showcased a thong when I was attempting to intrigue my husband last week, he wouldn’t have been laughing so hard. (Read my last blog if you have no idea what I’m talking about.)

Whether or not Victoria’s Secret tricked me into thinking thongs are sexy for us girls and not just our spouses, I think it’s time to dust one off and give it a try.  Not in the bedroom, not for my man. (Sorry dude) Let’s just say…to the grocery store.  Knowing I’m sporting a cheetah print G-string while I’m searching the shelves for the cheapest diapers might make me laugh a little more that day.  In the lives of mothers, a little extra laughter is sometimes all we need.

Have a thong day and let me know how it goes…

Why, after seven years of marriage, do I find it incredibly hard to hit on my husband?

My latest line to get him in the sack was, “You’ve got some work to do tonight, baby.”  My gumption was drained as my husband laughed so hard at this feeble attempt at sexiness, that his microbrew almost came out of his nose.  On a separate occasion, I tried a few intriguing dance moves that left me looking like Elaine from Seinfeld and my husband in tears.

I used to have it.  I used to exude sexual confidence.  Now…mmmmmm…not so much.

To be clear, this is all my awkward doing.  My husband would gladly, and with fervor, do the dirty any night (or morning for that matter) of the week.  I’m the one trying to bring my sexy back, and damn it’s tough!  My husband has seen two humans come out of my lady parts, and he has watched my perky breasts turn into milk-making machines. More recently, he has picked me up from the bathroom floor after an all night pukefest when the nastiest stomach bug this side of the Hudson hit our home.  He has dried my tears when the pressures of motherhood have crippled me.

For me, these moments have committed a kind of “sexual robbery,” hijacking my confidence in the bedroom.  Ironically, those same moments have actually made me sexier and more beautiful in his eyes.  Through my husband’s eyes, watching me give birth transformed me into the most powerful superhero.  While breastfeeding, I was a tireless caregiver, on the clock twenty-four hours a day.  Supporting me during times of sickness and hardship allows him to step into the role of caregiver, reminding him of how much work mothers do each day.

Strength, commitment, dedication…these qualities are added to the definition of sexy in a marriage.

But why can’t I see what he sees?

Tonight, I’m going to hug my man, use his gaze as a mirror, and silently sing, “I’m Too Sexy” in my head.

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