DUST OFF YOUR LUST
Family & parenting
Puh. So here’s the big one in this entire project. Parenting is HARD! Being a mum is HARD! Raising little humans is HARD!
I always wanted to be a mum. When I was thirteen my niece was born and my goodness I loved her little red-haired pudgy soul. I decided right there, right then, that being a mother was something that would fill my soul.
And it did, and it does.
BUT: No-one told me about all the other things. Our first had a health condition, that didn’t help. Nobody told me without a village it was going to be hard, lonely and exhausting. What about your relationship? After 13 solid years, who would have known a pandemic would exacerbate our already fragile sex life after five years of frustration and lack of intimacy.
Yet every morning I got up with this incredible weight on my shoulder. My heart full of love for these beautiful beings but my mind endlessly filled with parenting tips, guides, worries, anxieties, how to do things better…
Only now do I realize I did so many things because I didn’t know better; I had carried childhood trauma into my parenting. I am distancing myself from that now. I am choosing me before them every now and then. I am teaching the kids that I too am important and my life can not always revolve around them. We are showing them that mummy and daddy are important too, because if we don’t function as a team, we won’t be good mummy’s and daddy’s.
These things might seem self-explanatory to some, but not all. And I know enough families who struggle every day with family dynamics, relationship dynamics, differing parenting approaches, delegation of tasks and emotional outbursts.
So how does improving family dynamics help my libido?
Life with kids can be hard and stressful. The body reacts to stress by releasing adrenaline and cortisol. Chronic stress, in particular, can interfere with your body’s hormone levels, and result in a low libido.
I don’t know about you, but when there’s been shouting of any volume, it drains me emotionally.
So by improving our family dynamics we learn how to deal with each other’s big feelings better and we pay attention to what we need.
Gentle & Attachment Parenting
We follow gentle and attachment parenting (if we had to put a name to it) and acknowledge our children’s emotions in a healthy way with a steady routine (as steady as it can be in a pandemic).
Every family has their ups and downs.
My problem is that I have severe issues with negativity. It triggers me (my childhood related). So whilst I am trying to work past that (for example, by not interfering when I sense an impending argument or disagreement), we gently try to show our children and model a path where they feel safe, secure, attached and know they can share all and every emotion with us.
With all that said, there are areas I would like to see established a little stronger to strengthen our family even more:
Everyone helps in the household!
For a very long time I have been annoyed by the fact it has been mostly me cooking, cleaning, tidying, organizing and more.
So we decided to restructure our household plan. Our oldest can already help with dishes, dusting and of course tidying (although their playroom is theirs to do whatever with; they know when it needs a good tidy!). The youngest helps with the robot vacuum cleaner (very special bond!). They both help with the washing and since a few days, my husband is (with a little coaching) helping with the washing (as I like it hung in a certain way!)
My husband is fantastic in helping, but the past few weeks he’s really shown me how much more he can do. The kitchen is his responsibility.
Cooking is mainly mine (as he works) but we’ve decided to cook together more. And that he would like to cook again.
Whatever works for you. I’ve noticed, however, that doing all of it leaves me stressed, tired and cranky. So, we’re sharing responsibilities a little more now!
Weekly family trips / adventures
We fell into a rut during the pandemic. We had a routine but it became incredibly monotonous. With no nursery the days came and went. Now, with some sense of normality returning, we have noticed how hectic the weekdays are so we are introducing family weekends.
During the weekend, we tend to have high emotions. Everyone has expectations, there are a million and one errands to run and actually we’re all tired from the week.
So Sundays are our fun days. We plan a trip. Whether swimming, forest walks, museums or just a picnic and playground.
This way we have something to look forward to that isn’t at home and we are away from all the responsibilities.
Ten minute miracle
This is something we’ve been practicing on and off and I would like to make it more routine. We watched a fantastic talk by Dr. Gabor Maté about the consequences of stressed parenting and the effect it has on our kids and our attachment to them. (Here’s the link; warning, it’s long!)
The ten minute miracle for parents and kids is 10 minutes of undistracted one-on-one time where nothing else matters except your child.
- No siblings
- No phones / distractions
- Prepare your child so they can plan what they want to do
- They decide what they want to play
- Lots of „yes, and“ and not „no, but“ (this is an old improv thing I learnt, it aids play and exchange / dialogue)
- Regular, scheduled and without excuses time window
- You decide whether it’s once a day or week but daily tends to hit the spot
It’s a wonderful way to bond with your child. You both know it’s a time window set aside especially for you both and that makes it incredibly special!
Your child may want to play, you can also offer to talk. This will help them build their trust with you and allow them to open up.
Read more about this on Biglittlefeelings
There are some wonderful parenting tips / guides out there. Be sure to inform yourself if you’re struggling! Some books I will be looking at more intensely are:
Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gabor Maté and Gordon Neufeld (link here)
How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7 by Joanna Faber (link here)
The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping Our Children Thrive When the World Overwhelms Them by Elaine N. Aron Ph.D. (link here)
The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution: Gentle Ways to Make Good-bye Easy from Six Months to Six Years by Elizabeth Pantley (link here)
It gives me immense strength when we come together as a family. I’m not looking for the Brady bunch but just more energy to love each other on all levels.
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