Sex & The Attachment Parent

I am a full-on attachment parent, which happened quite by accident (which you can read about HERE). I was just following my intuition and as it would happen, this was what worked best for me, but everything has its downside. While I love the closeness that attachment parenting boasts, there is, well, a lot of closeness between my child and I.

I wear her for her morning nap, we lay down to take afternoon nap together (so she can nurse), and we co-sleep at night. I'm also breastfeeding. So there is a ton of me and baby time. This can leave little time for "hubby and me" time. Recently, my babywearing group on FaceBook was having a talk about this in a thread. How in the world does one (well, two if you count the husband!) find a balance between attachment parenting and, eh-hem, sex? 

It's important to note that part of attachment parenting is finding this balance. I feel this can be a common misconception with many APers. No one, not even attachment parenting, likes a martyr...that shit just ain't cute. Still, for the attachment parent (and especially a mother) losing yourself to parenthood is a reality. So what about sex? How do you carve out time for just you and your husband? 

First, a story: I was once at this party with my daughter and a woman approached me, asking me how my daughter was sleeping at night. I always find this question strange, but I always answer it the same way: very well, we sleep together and I breastfeed, so nights go pretty smoothly. The woman looked at me with a type of incredulity that I have never before witnessed and asked, "She sleeps in the bed with you?!" I got a little confused and answered, "Yes. Where else would she sleep?" The woman straight-up walked away from me without another word. I guess she was uncomfortable. My mom's best guess was that she was thinking of my husband and I getting busy while she god. In. The. Same. Bed.

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with bed sharing and having sex while your child is asleep. They seriously would not know, and in many cultures this is perfectly acceptable. It has not been my experience (yet) that my daughter will sleep in her sidecar co-sleeper, or even without touching me, so I haven't had the chance. I know other parents in this situation as well, and so, a little creativity comes in handy. I certainly don't have all the answers, but I definitely have a system that works for us. Or works well enough for us for right this moment (same thing, right?) 

Right off the bat, I feel it's obligatory to acknowledge that for many women, breastfeeding is a bit of a sex drive thwarter. The blend of hormones that keep women from ovulating are also a bit of repressor in the libido department; so before we are even thinking of getting down to it, I feel that breastfeeding moms are working with a deficit. But I don't like to use lack of drive (real as it may be sometimes) as an excuse. Intimacy is still a cornerstone to marriage, and sometimes it just takes a little extra to get in the mood. 

So that's my first rule: make the decision to get in the mood. Mind over matter. I aim for at least once a week because it's realistic for our lives. And I know that when it's time to go to Funkytown, I'm going to clear my mind of everything else and go to my sexy place. Does it take more work at times? Sure, but there is always a place for it, and there just has to be. 

Secondly, you have to schedule time. Is it necessarily the sexiest thing in the world to schedule time for sex? Hell no. But in parenting sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. I think for the attachment parent, it's especially important to get some time away. My husband and I like to drop our daughter off at her grandparent's house and then come home for the beginning of our date. (They live close so this is pretty easy.) If you can do something similar, this is a great way to get back to being husband and wife. We aim for twice a month on this one. 

Third, be flexible! Parenting, in my experience, is all about bobbing and weaving. My kid just doesn't sleep well unless she's being worn in the baby carrier or next to one of us, so having sex when she's sleeping is damn near impossible. BUT, she does spend about an hour playing in her playpen in the morning when we wake up. This is a golden opportunity for my husband and I to sneak away. She doesn't even notice! Keep the flexibility for the moments when you can sneak away, and then take advantage of them! 

Fourth--and this is really important--be gentle and remember this is just a season. Sometimes the plan doesn't work. Sometimes I am too damn tired or don't feel like it or whatever. There will be those times. Before I had a kid, I was having more sex, and when she was a newborn, it was easier to sneak away. But it's just a season. She'll sleep in her own bed someday. She won't need me or my husband quite as much. And that will be sad and great all at the same time. When I remind myself that this is just a passing phase, it just doesn't seem all that bad. So in the moments where you feel like you are not able to fit the square peg in the round hole, be easy with yourself. 

Are you an attachment parent with some tips about how to carve out intimacy? Share (anonymously if you prefer) in the comments section below!! 

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