If I had a dollar for every time a woman came (pun not intended) into my clinic and claimed she had lost her libido – I’d be one rich chick!
The busy working parent, is often the most harried and stressed of my clients. Unless the parent is single, I find in my clinical experience, the working mother can be susceptible to feeling obligated to do it all and ending up only feeling EXHAUSTED! These working mothers, the jugglers, are the amazing ones who make it all happen. Pull rabbits out of the bag, make miracles happen. They are everyone’s ‘girl Friday’, the solver of problems, negotiator, washer, head chef – you name it Mum can fix it. Or can she?
The working mothers, are often also quite stressed, fatigued, irritable and have no desire for sex – and yet miss the pleasure of intimate connection with their partner desperately!
Some even feel guilty that they now consider the act of sex just another job they have to do.
This busy state of being, however, always comes at a price – energy levels and connection with spouse, irritability with everyone and everything. Reduced tolerance levels for every day life. The phrase I often hear growled is “I’m a cranky bitch”!
Isn’t it funny how exhausted you are with a newborn? It’s a complete lifestyle change to what you are used to experiencing. And yet, we seem to return to work and still get stuff done. But the carefree, hand bag wielding days or waltzing out the door have changed. There’s an entourage now, of small people who seem to need a myriad of stuff with them everywhere you go.
And as the kids grow, there’s activities, and school and sport and play dates. There’s a never-ending pile of laundry to be washed, hung out, folded and put away – repeat by what feels like a million. There’s meal planning, snack making, food preparation. The list is literally endless!!!!
I’m getting tired just writing about it all! And the result is what? Adrenal Fatigue. Click HERE to read of my ‘What is adrenal fatigue’ blog to address the fatigue?
So adrenal fatigue aside, let’s focus on that neglected relationship with your partner? Here’s a couple of questions I find myself asking clients on a regular basis.
- When you were in cranky bitch mode how excited for sex were you? Or was it just another chore for your list?
- Did you feel pressured or overwhelmed by your partner to have sex and was it enjoyable?
- Was it easy to intimately connect with your lover or did you have to work at it?
- Were you able to easily become emotionally responsive to touch or was your busy head getting in the way?
- Was your body able to physically respond to intimacy, such as lubricated vagina – or were you dry and non-pliable?
- Were you able to achieve climax during penetration?
- Do you simply feign a headache because it’s all just too much?
These aren’t exactly discussion topics that a girl has with her friends are they? These are confronting questions for most of my female ‘working mother’ clients who complain their libido has been hijacked.
In clinic we talk about potential endocrine disruption from over activated adrenals and the impacts to the sensitive vaginal and clitoral tissues. We often laugh about how we’ve ignored our #wombwisdom and the need for self-nurture. And then we talk about the perspective of our male partners, and how their need to feel loved, which is literally to be welcomed inside your body and become connected with you – in the most intimate way.
The harried working mother, is generally at this point in tears during a session. Why? Because it’s at this moment she has the ‘aha’ experience and reconnects with the love for her partner. In clinic we utilise coaching strategies to reformulate reconnection with our lovers.
More often than not the busy working mother wants foreplay outside of the bedroom. She wants to feel valued in her partner’s life, and not just because she is a vagina on legs. She wants to be appreciated. It’s not about the recognition so much as it is the partnership.
A hot tip for all the blokes out there would be this. Ask your missus “what do you need?” Consider when was the last time you did something spontaneous like hug. Did you know when you hug someone for 20 seconds, your bodies make oxytocin? What’s oxytocin – it’s a love hormone! But is also is a hormone which helps us relax, feel safe and calms our fears and anxiety.
A famous quote by psychotherapist Virginia Satir goes, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Whether those exact numbers have been scientifically proven remains to be seen, but there is a great deal of scientific evidence related to the importance of hugs and physical contact.
So ladies, here’s my suggested tips to chase your libido back into your body. And you’d better sit down first because some of these aren’t what you are expecting.
Meet your needs first.
Now before you get on your high horse and tell me that this is impossible given your time table and all the ‘stuff’ that has to get done, let me ask you to consider the following questions.
What do you want to be teaching your children?
Oh that’s a button pusher isn’t it?
Do you want your children to learn that the mother does it all, or relationships are a combination of ‘give and take’, open communication and negotiation to get all the stuff done?
Got your attention now don’t I?
Do you want your children to see you delegate and seek assistance so you can all enjoy family time? Or are you still busy doing the stuff like dishes, making lunches, ironing sheets, whatever?
Learn to say ‘no’ or ‘can I get back to you’ – before saying yes to yet another thing on your busy schedule. Pace yourself ladies. The worst thing you can do for yourself is continuing to accept more jobs, just because you are competent at doing them.
One of the best things you can do is relinquish the need to do absolutely everything. Let’s reframe this another way.
By saying ‘no’ you are allowing someone else the opportunity to say yes, or have a go, or learn new skills, or become part of your dynamic team.
Recognise what you can let go of or negotiate someone else to do for you.
As soon as I got a cleaner, I breathed a sigh of relief. Frankly cleaning is not one of my super powers and my husband does a better job of it anyway. If I take my glasses off I can’t see the dust bunnies – so it’s all good. Right?
Paying someone to come and do a job for you is buying yourself time to be with your family. Think of this as an investment to your health!
You’re also contributing to another family’s income. It’s win win. It’s also something you don’t have to do.
Teach your children independence and responsibility by seeking their support for hanging out and folding washing. I once read that a child who makes their own lunch for school is more likely to become a self-motivated job seeker as a teenager, and unlikely to seek unemployment pension as an adult. They want to work, because the habit has been ingrained – you work for your reward. Therefore, dream big, work hard, receive abundance.
Connect with your partner in new ways, and on a regular basis. Consider stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new ways of connecting with your partner outside of the bedroom.
Why outside of the bedroom? Because foreplay and intimacy shouldn’t be limited to one place in the house. It should be everywhere in your relationship.
If you’ve been stalemated for a while, communication lines may not be clear or even open. Have you tried asking your partner for assistance, and in a loving way?
“It would really help me today if you could do x please” is often a good start to opening up the conduit for reconnection.
“Would you like to share a bath with me tonight?” This provides connection without immediate gratification or inference that sex has to be involved. You can talk and touch in the bath – it’s a brilliant place to debrief without the kids listening.
When was the last time you took a walk together? Did you hold hands? Touch is an incredible way to connect non verbally and our hands are incredibly receptive to both physical, mental and emotional messages.
Wishing you well in reconnecting with both yourself, your needs and your partner. You can choose to change and bloom from within!