Early to bed, early to rise

If you’re a parent of young kids and you’re like me (that is an overworked, under-exercised, time-robbed zombie of the new millennium), you’ve been through the ringer and seen it all, so I’ll cut right to the chase: have you and your partner been busy lately? If your answer is ‘no’ or simply ‘not enough,’ then read on, my friend, and find out how you can stack the deck in your favor!

After my partner ‘Edna’s’ pregnancy and then the ineluctable birth of our son, after the years of breastfeeding and co-sleeping, after the hectic life of two working parents and one very busy boy, we finally discovered that something was missing (no, not just the remote): Sex!

It snuck up on us like a pan of water on two proverbial, brain-dead frogs, except the water was cooling down instead of heating up. ‘Suddenly’ there was no more morning sex. No more Sunday sex. No more accidental “Hey, you got your chocolate in my peanut butter” sex.

Perhaps you know of what I speak? Sex gets relegated to a very narrow, ever-closing window between exhausted ablutions and passing out. Who has energy for snatching, Indiana Jones-like, some…well, you know what I’m getting at.

I can’t say I hadn’t been warned. Since the dawn of time, or at least since Twitter, friends have told child-bearing friends that things would get rough before they could get out the rough riders. But I didn’t believe how hard it would be to compete with the insanely cute and much more cuddly suitor who moved into the house with us—our son, Ed, Jr.

Add to Ed, Jr. a beloved dog and two dog-like cats, then the death of the dog, Edna’s burgeoning private psychotherapy practice, the complications of daycare, and things got downright heavy. I realized that we’d gotten sucked into a sexual black hole, our time and space warped by the gravity of our son. To get out of the mess I grabbed a napkin and worked out my own little theory of relativity involving time and space—and gratitude.

Makin’ time

You have to make time to make love, as my Irish Nana used to say.

We all get 24 hours in a day, right? 1,440 minutes to get some action. So how can it be that there’s not enough time for sex—the very thing that got us all into this full catastrophe in the first place?

Here’s the secret: Sex is 99 percent mental. So put in a good word for the good deed early in the day. You know: plant the figurative seed. If there’s a silly slap-and-tickle in the kitchen that in the pre-child past might have turned into more, don’t drop the ball. Use a ridiculous euphemism to suggest that maybe there could be more to come when the kids are conked out. Heck, you might even say something as straightforward and brash as, “Maybe we should, you know, tonight?” (While saying this, be sure to look your partner in the eye so he or she knows you don’t mean staying up too late watching Netflix.)

The hardest part for most of us is getting to bed in time, and this means that if you want to rut you’ll have to avoid old ruts. If the night starts to slip like so many others, getting late before lunches are made and the wash is done (even if it’s ‘his’ or ‘her’ job), then don’t just sit there! Help out, get things done! Who said everything was going to be fair?! Life’s not fair! Over time, everything rebalances and redistributes, so get to work. Early to bed, early to rise, if you know what I mean.

Space: The final frontier

Is your child (dare I say, children?) often sleeping in your bed? If it’s time for the change, then begin transitioning them out. If there’s still some co-sleeping to be done, then you just might need to establish, like some feral animals, a new locale for your trysts. Think old-school couch-time, like back when you started dating. Got a garage? Drop those minivan seats! Why not the laundry room (bonus if the washer is running). Or, heck, turn the tables and sneak back into your kid’s room. Just find that place where you can be private, and concentrate on one another exclusively.

Gratitude is an attitude

Finally, there’s no sex if there’s resentment. That frustration over who cleaned the fridge last has to be cleared up before connection can begin. I’m talking about sharing gratitude—and chores.

Here are a few suggestions (and their likely results) to try on your own:

  • A heartfelt “Thank you, sweetie, I know you worked harder than I did today,” can turn those boots that were made for walkin’, into boots that were made for knockin’.
  • “Let me do that, hey?” can turn into a roll in the hay.
  • Cutting each other some slack can turn into making the beast with two…

…well, I think you’ve got the knack! Good luck gettin’ lucky!

 Sean Toren loves living the full catastrophe in Minneapolis with his wife and son. He can be contacted at [email protected] with thoughts or suggestions.

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