Q: During the summer, my husband’s schedule is relatively the same. Mine? Twice as busy! With camp drop-offs, swim team workouts, late evenings of tired, hungry, whiny children, vacation packing, unpacking, not to mention scaling Mount McLaundry afterward, sex is the last thing on my mind. He’s interested but how can I get in the mood when there isn’t a moment to relax?
A: Summertime for kids is long, lazy and hot. But by mid-July, all my clients with children are complaining that indeed summer is long, but for them, busier than ever and anything but hot in the bedroom. Fortunately, we can anticipate the common disconnects and come up with a few simple solutions:
1. Stop over-committing. Accept that summer is actually a demanding season. Let the families with older children host the Fourth of July party or chair the swim team board. Summer should be “maintenance only.” Don’t redo the kitchen, don’t paint the bedrooms and don’t re-landscape. Do keep your regular date night.
2. Consider a staycation. Save the stress of packing and the expense of “learning experience” trips until the kiddos can appreciate it. Take days off and spend them together while the kids are still at camp or at the pool. Your relaxed happiness is the best gift you can give the children. A truly lazy week will be a boost to the bedroom.
3. Short and suite. When children are little, keep vacations to a long weekend. And definitely get the hotel suite with a closed-door bedroom.
4. Surrender the house temporarily. Junior high all-nighter computer game marathons or slumber party high jinks mean parents have to stay up all night. Counter-propose that you host in exchange for early room-time the next weekend. Better yet, switch chaperone duty with your kid’s friends’ parents. Home alone is a rare treat!
5. Dance the salsa! More frequently than any other fantasy, my female patients say they wished they had married a man who could dance. If you don’t know how, summer is the time to take lessons on date night. Need some motivation, guys? Think loud pounding music, a hot night, cold margaritas and her shimmering in a sleeveless dress. Smooth moves on the dance floor set her mind on sexy moves in bed.
Laurie Watson, licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist, is the author of “ Wanting Sex Again” (Penguin, 2012). She is the clinical director of Awakenings Center for Intimacy and Sexuality in Raleigh.