Recharging your marriage can make you happier — and a better parent.
With so much at stake, parents should take active steps to halt the sexual drought that so often accompanies parenthood. Here are suggestions for changes that you and your spouse can make to remind yourselves why you got married in the first place.
Never talk “business” during lovemaking.
A husband starts making love to his wife and she suddenly jolts upright in bed and asks, “Mark, what was that noise?” No, turns out it’s not a burglar carrying off little Sammy. It’s actually the sound of her imagination carrying off her love life.
Don’t let your mind wander to whether you accidently left the oven on or whether you remembered to sign Emily’s homework assignment. Your brain can be an enemy to your sex life. It gets stuck in the “function mode” — and worries about everything else that’s going on around the house or at the office. But remember, function is not romantic; function reminds us of dysfunction, and that may lead to all sorts of other discouraging ideas.
Honeymoon together at least twice a year.
Start dating again.
The happiest memory of my childhood was when I was 6 years old and my parents went away to Israel together to try to save their marriage. Sure I missed my mother and father. But I realized that they went away for the sake of our family, even if, in the end, they wound up more distant than the Arabs and the Israelis.
Make arrangements for your children to stay with relatives or close friends, then go on vacation and act like newlyweds. Make love, giggle, and have meaningful conversations so you can rediscover that you’re not just a mother of someone with a runny nose, but a woman with a beating heart. If this is something you can’t afford, then try getting the kids out of the house. You can perhaps send them to their grandparents so that you and your spouse have time together at home.
Set aside a regular night for couple time. It’s okay to meet friends, but save at least the first hour or so for just the two of you. Don’t blow the evening on a movie. Get emotionally naked. Discuss your fears, and comfort each other in a way that allows you to really connect. Do everything you can to bring new surprises into your relationship, whether that means sexy lingerie or scented candles to heighten the mood.
Make kid-related conversation off-limits for at least 15 minutes a day. This means a few hours a week when you’re not allowed to discuss the children or their needs. (You’re people, too, and you have your own needs.) Instead, take this time to talk about and to each other. But do make sure to avoid perfunctory topics like finances, work, and domestic affairs.
Get in touch with your physical side.
When you come home from work, hug your spouse. When you wake up, kiss each other. Nothing creates better communication and closeness than experiencing love through touch. The more you feel with your hands, the more you’ll feel with your heart. The same is true with smiling. If you try keeping a happy disposition, eventually you’ll discover that you have many things in your life to feel happy and smile about. This is especially important in these turbulent, anxiety-ridden times.
Declare family time over at 9 p.m.From 6 to 9 every night, have dinner with your family, bathe the children, read them stories, help them with homework, and allow them time to come and talk to you about anything they want. But at 9 p.m., make sure all the young children are in bed with the lights out and that teenagers understand you’re not to be disturbed. This gives you time to unwind, read, cuddle, and maybe even have sex! Oh, and turn the TV off. Stop watching other people make love when you should be doing it yourself. Remember, love, unlike Monday night football, is not a spectator sport.
1. Ask for help
Happy mothers are not afraid to ask for help from family and friends. While morose, martyred moms miss those out-of-town weekends and movie nights with their husband because they can’t find a babysitter or a willing relative, Very Happy Moms just say, “Please.”
2. Leave the house — now
Have you been outside today? Fresh air, sunlight, and nature are believed to be critical mood enhancers for women, and moms can get this little lift while pushing strollers or swings. Look around that playground. Who looks happy? Go talk to her, right now.
3. Plan some big fun
In my research, I’ve found that VHMs work really hard to find time and money for vacations. Take away the alarm clocks, the homework, the deadlines…bring on the sunsets, the sand castles, the card games. Suddenly you remember why you spend so much time doing these people’s laundry.
4. Get your groove on
You call him “honey,” and he calls you “sugar” — but are you giving each other enough sweetness? Happy moms like getting busy. It’ll put a smile on your face. And it’s nice to have a Very Happy Husband hanging around.
5. Eat, sleep, and be merry
Being sleep-deprived may be a badge of honor for those with young babies, but the sooner you can figure out how to get your eight hours back, the more delirious with joy you will be. Follow that well-deserved rest with a bowl of oatmeal and a banana instead of three cups of coffee and the remains of somebody’s Pop-Tart, and see what happens.
6. Have a six-pack
I thought the main habit of Very Happy Moms might be popping Prozac, but I asked around and not a single happy mother mentioned drugs. Not even margaritas. Sigh. What they did mention, in droves, was exercise. And of course they’re right: Just about equal to how good regular exercise makes us feel is how insidiously the gloom creeps in when we weasel out of it. Fortunately, to a mom, exercise can feel almost self-indulgent — after all, you’re doing something for yourself, in the company of other grown-ups. And that’s part of the buzz.
7. One is not the loneliest number
Carving out time away from the kids is crucial, whether it’s poker night with the girls or just a long bath with a magazine.
8. Be nice to thy neighbor
You would think that moms would be tapped out in the giving department. But most happy moms make doing things for others a regular part of their lives, whether it’s baking a lasagna for a family with a new baby or offering a ride to an elderly friend. Remember: Your helpfulness is another deposit in the karma bank.
9. Love the one you’re with
The happiest moms don’t compare and compete. Neither they, nor their kids, nor their cars, nor their houses have to be the smartest, cutest, newest, or neatest. The green-eyed monster has chewed up the happiness of many a mom. Around A.D. 89 the philosopher Epictetus offered advice for Very Happy Moms: To be content is greater than riches, so love what you have.
10. Hang with your gal pals
Very Happy Moms have close mom friends. Knowing that others are in the trenches with you is key. From the super-petty issues to the deadly serious crises.
Posted on Oct 29, 2007 under self development |
There are four steps for strengthening positive experiences:
1.) ACTIVELY LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO FEEL POSITIVE.
Look for good things about yourself, or relieve the kindness and respect of others.
2.) SAVOR THE FEELINGS.
Make them last.
Feel them in your body as a warmth that fills your whole chest.
3.) SENSE THE POSITIVE EXPERIENCES
Sense the positive experiences soaking and sinking into your brain and body, registering deeply in your emotional memory. Imagine them in a treasure chest in you heart.
4.) FEEL THE POSITIVE EXPERIENCES
Feel the positive experiences moving down into old hollows and wounds within you, filling them up. Like current feelings of being cared about and loved replacing old feelings of rejection, abondonment, loneliness. Or a current sense of confidence replacing old feelings of weakness, smallness. These new experiences will gradually replace the negative ones. You will not forget negative experiences, but they will lose their hold on you.
Posted on Oct 29, 2007 under self development |
A fit of giggles doesn’t just boost immunity and cut stress levels, it burns calories too. Researchers from Vanderbilt University of Tennessee locked 90 people in a room to watch comedy clips on TV and found that those who laughed used 20 percent more energy than those who didn’t.
Laugh for 10 to 15 minutes a day and you could burn off 2.2 kilograms a year.
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