Wrap up: Sexy Talk

A healthy sexual relationship is one in which the individuals involved are physically and psychologically CONTENT with the frequency and nature of the sexual encounters.

In terms of the types and frequency of sexual engagement, however, there is no recipe for a healthy sexual relationship. Peoples’ sexual desires, perspectives and histories vary considerably. What is positive and healthy in one relationship may have negative health impacts in another (Healthy Sexual Relationships – virtual medical centre)

HOW OFTEN?

According to General Social Survey, newlyweds have sex about twice a week, and frequency drops 10% per decade.

Forget surveys.. Frequency is completely dependent on the people in the relationship. So if once a day is what floats your boat (good on yah) the rest of us will be happy with 0-4 time a week and special occasion sex.

Frequency of sexual arousal and behavior can be influenced by any number of factors, including:

  • Age
  • Life circumstances
  • Physical and emotional health
  • Medications
  • Having children at home
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Recent losses and grief
  • Substance use and abuse
  • Workload and stress
  • Relationship status
  • A history of previous trauma or abuse
  • Diminished physical attraction and a corresponding lack of intimacy
    • After babies we all have issues with our new bodies
  • Secrets and lack of relationship trust
  • Dealing with baggage

HOW CAN SEX STRENGTHEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP?

A healthy sexual relationship requires vulnerability, effort, creativity.
Ultimately, for emotional intimacy to grow, each partner must be willing to meet the other’s deepest needs and protect the other’s greatest vulnerability. This produces an environment of trust, allowing each other to feel safe to share more. (Focus on the family)

Write it on your Honey Do List
Eat, sleep, exercise, finances, intimacy
Think of sex like exercise, you dread it, you do, then think “Wow, this is great, I should do this more often”

SO JUST DO IT!

WHAT KIND OF INTIMACY?

  • Holding hands
  • Kissing
  • Talking with candles
  • Making out (like teenagers), with no end game as a goal (maybe inform your partner first, you know mixed messages and all)
  • Try something new in the bedroom
  • Send the kids off for a sleepover and get a hotel room
  • Do it to prove you can and that you’re good at it
  • Great sex doesn’t just happen, keep doing it
  • Uninspired sex is sometimes good enough

There is light at the end of the tunnel. When you were first married you could/would do it any time, anywhere. Having kids makes the logistics of having sex complicated and limited. Then once your peeps are grown up and out of the house you can have sex anytime, anywhere.

Talk about it.
1) what did you like?
2) What didn’t you like?
3) what would you like more of?
4) what would you like to try next time?

Annemarie’s Awesome Links

Some stuff to read to brighten up another cold weekend. Put on Neflix for the kids, make yourself a coffee and pretend you’re hanging out at MOMs.

When you feel like you don’t make a difference, read this.

Can you not invite February? (I think that anthropomorphizing things and then texting with them is hilarious.)

Perfectly accurate video shows why moms get nothing done. This baby reminds me of Clara like whoa.

From our Facebook group, but good enough for a repost: Sex is tricky.

Tablets aren’t rotting kids’ brains.

What to say to your friend who is infertile.

Being thin didn’t make me happy, but being fat does. This one got me thinking. Here is the article it came out of.

Why feminist ads don’t actually help the feminist cause.

Mindfulness in the empty moments.

Kids go through phases.

And finally, beauty is everywhere.

Wrap up: Motherhood and Loneliness

Yesterdays session was raw and to the point. Motherhood and Loneliness. Motherhood and loneliness. They fit so perfectly together and yet are polar opposites. Some of it is our own doing, some of it is weather related, some of it is social and economical.

We are all lonely in our own way, some are deeper and darker than your neighbours but we are all lonely.

Before I get into the wrap up, Ladies you are all wonderful People, your exceptional Mom’s, incredible Wives and courageous to come yesterday and participate. Opening up isn’t easier and being vulnerable is even harder, especially on a topic that hits so close to home for so many.

To the ladies who left today in rougher shape than they entered please, PLEASE find someone to talk to. Be it a Committee Member, a trusted friend , family member, or a professional some of us did not leave ok and we want you to be.

So what makes us lonely?

  • Winter
  • The expectations we place on ourselves, Thanks Pinterest!
  • Our perception of other people,
  • The Internet & Social Media
    Which ironically isolates us when it’s intended purpose was to connect us. No one likes to admit when life sucks, let alone admit it on Facebook, so we have this picture that it’s all gum drops and rainbows. It allows you to judge and be judged, and it allows you to connect with out going to deeply.
  • Evenings
    Evening is a big one. Your a slave to the bedtime routine. It’s not as easy as it use to be before kids . We all grieve the loss of our self before kids. Where your friends are out gallivanting or your partner is out for the evening you’re home watching the kids. Even if the opportunity arises you still need to find someone to watch the kids, then make the house presentable, have supper on the table by a certain time, get everything ready for the sitter, and ourselves as well. Sometimes it’s just easier to stay home.
    As many mom’s commented they missed the old them, life has been put on hold. While having children has changed their partners lives the change seems much less drastic in comparison.
  • The loss of community
    They say it Takes a Village to Raise a Child, but there has been a cultural shift. The village is dwindling. Where 50 years ago Mom’s stayed home, kids played outside together, and the multi generational home was still commonplace. Now children grow up and  move hundred’s of miles away from home.
    Where someone (neighbour, grandparent, friend)  watched out for you and your child guiding them when they misbehaved,  now a majority of Mom’s are in the workforce and the people who are staying home (not all but there are enough articles to make this concerning) would rather call CFS than chastise your child because it’s not their place. Our culture has shifted, our mentality has shifted. We judge our peers. We long to be them because they have their crap together.

Insideoutside.jpg

Not surprisingly 2/3 s of marriages take a nose dive during the preschool years. What is surprising is that, that number isn’t higher. Raising little people is hard and isolating.

Friends without kids don’t get it or don’t understand and for that, tend to fade out of our lives and we grieve that loss because our circle of friends has just gotten smaller.

As if being female wasn’t hard enough, being a woman with kids is even tougher. When that baby turns 1 a huge decision has to be made. Do I stay home and raise our child or do I return to the work force? It’s a damned if you do and a damned if you don’t scenario, and whatever you feel works best FOR YOUR FAMILY you will be judged upon that decision  and it’s isolating.

Mom is the Loneliest Number sums everything up beautifully.

I love my kids more than molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. But it’s amazing how lonely motherhood can be. I also have a relatively small social appetite (I like dinner parties and movie nights and having a few girlfriends over to watch bad TV), so you’d think I wouldn’t mind all the alone time. But being alone and feeling alone are two fundamentally different things.

I have two kids under the age of three and a husband who spends roughly four months of the year on the road for his job. I have a couple of babysitters in my iPhone rolodex who apparently have a much more lively social calendar than I, which all adds up to me spending A LOT of time at home with our children. I suppose there are those moms who would say, “I’m with my kids all the time so I could never be lonely!” Those moms are either crazy or lying. Because as exciting and amazing and fulfilling as motherhood can be, it’s also one of the most isolating choices a woman can make.

To be honest, the feeling of separate-ness starts creeping up during pregnancy. Women are advised not to tell a bunch of people until about the 12-week mark because the chances of something terrible happening are highest during the first trimester. This sets us up for that weird feeling that comes with keeping a secret – it can be the teeny tiny crack in the bond of friendship that, later on down the road, becomes a canyon between you and the people you used to rely on.

This can be especially true in the workplace, where you usually have those few trusted compatriots who cover for you when you’re hungover or feeling blue. I remember very well the bummed out feeling I had when I lied to those favorite co-workers during my first few weeks of pregnancy. I was so ridiculously tired I could barely think straight and their genuine inquiries into my well-being were met with my disingenuous response: “Nothing. Just tired. Not sure why…”

Some friends (probably from the never-been-pregnant category) fall away over the course of a wee one’s incubation – perhaps annoyed with the constant mood swings, unable to understand the claims of true fatigue or just due to irritation that you’re not drinking. (It should be noted here that these people were never really your friends. Still, their disappearance from your life does not feel good.)

And then the baby arrives! Cards! Gifts! Three hundred and eight posts on your Facebook wall! All followed by the most intensely intense six weeks of your life, during which you survive only by some miracle of biology that’s designed to support the other miracle of biology that you just brought forth unto the Earth. Even if you had the desire at this point to interact with your friends, it’s unlikely that you’d have the energy.

That was exactly the case just a few days after our daughter was born. Our best friends were having a party and there was very little discussion as to whether I’d be going or not. My husband, of course, was ready to get out of the house and away from babyville for a few hours. So there I sat with a tiny baby on my boob, knowing that all of my closest friends were just a few blocks away, but feeling thousands of miles apart.

Fast-forward several months. Things between your baby and you are pretty well sorted out. Routines are in place and every little bit of independence gained by this tiny human translates to the same for you. But you still can’t dart away for an afternoon yoga class, you can’t say “yes” to girls’ night until you find a sitter and you can’t even really talk to your husband about it because you’re feeling further and further away from him, too.

Which leads me to what may be at the root of this profound sense of isolation; the sad fact that you’re not even feeling connected to your partner anymore. In the beginning, maternal preoccupation is necessary for your baby’s survival. Unfortunately, it also has a tendency to make your husband or partner feel left out and less important. These feelings are likely unconscious but nonetheless can easily lead to resentment. So you find yourself feeling cut-off from your friends, disconnected from the person you thought would always “get” you and ultimately unsure if you even know who YOU are anymore. It’s a real shit storm of loneliness.

As I said at the beginning of this tale, I love my children madly. But they are not capable of being my best friends. Playdates are helpful, though I often spend more time chasing after my kids than I do getting down to the nitty gritty with my mommy pals. Date nights can certainly help you stay in touch with your partner, but I only know two or three couples who are able to stick to their “couple time” with any regularity. Of course, things will change – in the blink of an eye, as they say. Until they do, it’s a daily struggle between the many true joys of motherhood (there are a million) and the sense that I’m the only person in the world who knows how I feel.

At this point we did an exercise. Here are the results. Reflect on it. There is A LOT of honesty, vulnerability and truths here.

DO NOT COMMENT about the next 4 pictures in the comments for you may unintentionally be passing judgment and hurt feelings and for that all comments will be monitored and possibly deleted. I have also revamped them to ensure everyone stays anonymous (incase you want to show your significant other) If you really want to set the mood listen to Hallelujah, Shrek version.

#1 I feel loneliest when…

#1.jpg#2 When I feel lonely I also feel…

#2.jpg

#3 When I feel lonely, what I do is…

#3

#4 One thing I fear in being more connected with others is…

#4.jpg

You are not alone

For some, they where validated,  for others? Utter sadness and despair, and some it opened up deeper wounds hidden under carefully placed armor. We need to have Grace for one another.

A relavent read CARRY ON, WARRIOR:  The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life – Glennon Doyle Melton owner of Momastery

Have a wonderful weekend

~D~

 

Desiree’s Devotional

“When you find yourself in the position to help someone, be happy and feel blessed, because god is answering that persons prayer through you. Remember that our purpose on earth is not to get lost in the dark, but to be a light to others so that they may find a way through us”.

God calls us to be the light that leads others to find their way! He answers their prayers through us! Yikes that’s seems overwhelming and scary but yet amazing at the same time.

As a mom I often find myself so busy (sometimes stuck in a dark place) that I don’t even have time to think let alone hear what god has to say to me. How am I suppose to be the light that shines for others to see and to help them find their way?

I always assume that prayers need to be large and full of really important things and sometimes they are but i also think people pray little things too and that those little things are just as important.

Like maybe a senior, let’s say a grandmother looks around her at the grocery store and all she sees is hustle and bustle and people pushing her around without even realizing that they’re doing it. Maybe her prayer the night before was that she would go to the grocery store and a nice polite young person would hold the door for her or help her get a cart and wish her a wonderful day.

Maybe a supper that was made for a family at church who is dealing with illness or loss was also an answered prayer.

A smile in the right direction, a hug for a person who looked like they really just needed it, a genuine compliment to a coworker or fellow mama that makes her feel beautiful, because they have been suffering in silence feeling poorly about the way they look since having a baby.

I think all these little things are the light that god calls us to shine! There are bigger and more complicated things as well; situations that will push us out of our comfort zones and we need to be prepared to answer those calls as well.

But as a mom I believe that Gods call for me to be his hands and feet is much less overwhelming when I look at more of the little things.

It may be as little as modeling how to be a good person to my children showing them kindness and how to be kind to others. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s what God asks of us. When I live life with joy and love it helps me to know that God is right there beside me.

So for now I will be content on keeping my focus on the smaller things and find joy in the fact that I can be someone else’s light, but most importantly remember that I am only that light because I have God there asking me to be! And this makes me happy.

Annemarie’s Awesome Links

I missed last week, so bonus extra links this week!

Here’s a laugh: famous paintings photobombed by a cat.

Why preschool shouldn’t be like school.

Looking for more mindfulness? Try this 30-day minimalism challenge.

A letter to brand new moms: it doesn’t get easier, but you get better at it.

You have plenty of time to love them later – I loved this one.

If you want kids, don’t get a pet. (Too late for me, but wow does this ever resonate.)

There is no science behind homeopathy. Save your money on those cold remedies for tiny ones.

14 babies who just had their minds blown. (Gif post, so it’ll be a little weird on mobile browsers.)

Simplicity doesn’t happen overnight.

If you’re crafty, this link is going to trigger a shut-up-and-take-my-money response.

Seriously, stop using your smartphone in bed.

Why you should tell your children how much you make.

Have we turned social media into this century’s whipping post?

If you want to follow your dreams, you have to say no to the alternatives.

And finally, this is possibly a repost, but I’m going to link to the poem at the bottom of this post in full because it’s beautiful and resonated with me today.

 

Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
–Mary Oliver, Dream Work

Have a lovely long weekend, friends.

Wrap Up: “The TALK”

The conversation the other day was great! And when the time(s) come(s) to leap on the opportunity to talk about sex to my children, I hope I can talk appropriately with knowledge, and mostly a straight face. And I figure any kind of discussion is better than no discussion at all.

So here are the concepts taken straight from Gabrielle’s paper.

The basic principles are that a child WILL learn about sex regardless of how “sheltered” you try to keep them. The avenues are endless and it is a unique opportunity as caregivers to try to bestow the information first, or at least start a healthy ongoing conversation that is accurate and a wholelistic view of sex and sexuality.

Starting young is key.
The ongoing conversation is opened before the awkwardness of puberty. Preschoolers accept the facts as you present them (My friend Johnny has two Mummies. No biggie! Babies grow in Mommy’s tummy) and it fosters a lifelong conversation. Need a laugh read How to Talk to Your Grocer About Sex.

Be accurate! Use the anatomical terms, and answer questions as accurately as possible.

Scary Fact#1: If your child starts calling their privates something other than what you’ve taught them (ex. cupcake) be concerned. Taken from “Tricky People” are the New Stranger

“The TALK.”
The standard one conversation we should have had at puberty is awkward and ineffective. Information presented in one shot is overwhelming and does not cover the complexity of sex, and at that age it is too late. Friends (super funny), peers, media and the school system have filled your child in and not all of it is accurate or healthy. A Conversation is a continuous discussion to impart relevant knowledge and answer questions accurately and appropriately.

Scary Fact#2: Kids ARE having sex by the time they hit puberty. Also the average male teen looses his virginity at 16, female 17.

Question Period.
Children are curious. They will ask. When they do, answer their question(s). Ask them if that was enough information? Ask them if they want to know more? Ask them if you answered their question sufficiently? Allow them to process their new-found knowledge and then check in and continue the discussion as need be.

Interesting Fact: Youth who have open conversations about sex with their parents start having sex at an  older age in comparison to their peers who aren’t taught. All the more incentive to have an open and healthy conversations.

“Shameful behaviour”.
Sex and our bodies are not shameful. We have been brain washed by media, porn, the church, and generations before us. Sex is a healthy component to life and relationships. Our bodies are incredibly beautiful works of art, shaped and molded by genetics and surroundings. There is nothing shameful about jiggly bits and tiger stripes, or a dainty frame, it was how things are meant to be right now. Touching is natural, experimenting with what feels good is part of the discovery process. Our children already know this, it is us who teach them otherwise.

Body autonomy begins young.
Armed with this knowledge, and the knowledge of ones self you can instill ownership over their own body and start teaching the need for consent and what is appropriate in what scenario. This is also the opportunity to teach your child about respecting other people’s wishes. No mean No, not Maybe! And if you can see the other person doesn’t like what is going than needing to stop.

Having a Unified Front.
As partners in parenting it is best to be on the same page. Both parents need to be willing to have these conversations, and talk to one another about what your hope is for your child, and what you want instilled in them.

Carpe minatum.
Seize the moment. Take  every opportunity in our over sexualized world to point out advertisements using sex as their marketing gimmick, it’s usually a stones throw away. The busty billboard model, the scantily clad girl selling X, Y, & Z, the lyrics to a song. Talk about it because that is what your child will look at and assume is “normal”
A great article about raising children in this modern world comes from Huffington Post Parent: Why I want my sons to see me naked 

Be the safe place!
When we think of a ‘home’ in this psychological sense we associate it with a sense of rest where there is room to be just as you are, a place of retreat from chaos into the arms of someone who makes you feel safe. When we are lost it is home that we seek”. There is No Place Like Home – The Nuefeld Institute

Lastly, you’re going to screw this one up, and that is ok. Any conversation is better than none at all and even the smallest bit of knowledge is powerful.

Other great resources:

Sex Education: What Children Should Learn When – aboutkidshealth.ca

Canadian Centre for Child Protection: The program called Kids in the Know is this entire blog summed up in point form so you can paste it to the fridge.

Fourth Trimester Body Project – a realistic and healthy perspective on the female body and you can follow them on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter

Before I was Born by Carolyn Nystorm

Before You Were Born by Margaret Sheffield

What’s the Big Secret? Talking about Sex with Girls and Boys by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown (the same people of Dinosaurs Divorce and Arthur.)

 ~ D ~

Wrap Up: Zumba with Karla

The Lovely (and incredibly energetic) Karla from Zumba with Karla graced us with yet another fantastic imageZumba session.  Now if only my knee would have let me participate…

Any way if you loved this session or missed it and want to find out what it is really all about you can drop in to classes at the Archwood Community Centre – 565 Guilbault St.

Classes run:
Mondays 6 – 7,
Tuesdays 5:30 – 6:15,
Thursdays 7:30 – 8:30, and
Saturdays 10 – 11

drop in is $12, and newbies get 10 classes for $50

To find out more you can check out her website or join her group on Facebook!

D