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Brittany Lynch, RN, BScN, CSC Presents: Stepqueen by The Whole Stepfamily

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How to Keep Your Sex Life Sexy During Summer Holidays (When Your Stepkids are Always Around)

June 26, 2018

Picture this.

You and your husband have a fabulous day at the beach. All day while you are there, you can’t keep your hands off each other. You spend the day kissing, listening to the waves roll in, sharing a picnic together, and soaking in the sunshine.

When you get home, you have only one thing on your mind (wink wink).

You have sand in your you-know-what. You need to have a shower. You cast a sassy look over your shoulder towards your husband, raising an eyebrow, inviting him to come along upstairs and help you clean the sand from your you-know-what (and do you know what to it afterwards).

You giggle like a schoolgirl as he chases you upstairs. You both strip off your sandy, salty, beachy clothes. You excitedly run to your shower to get it on.

But.

All of a sudden, your bedroom door flies open unexpectedly.

DAAAAAAADDDDD! JACKSON WON’T LET ME PLAY WITH HIM!!!!!!!!!!!

Womp womp.

Talk about buzz killington.

Let’s face it. There’s nothing that’s more of a buzz kill than kids will ever be. Not body odour. Not farts. Not cell phones ringing as you’re about to say his name. Kids are the ultimate mood killer.

This is even more true when the kids don’t belong to you.

As a true Canadian girl, I can tell you there is no time in the year that I look forward to more than the summer. But, for us Stepmoms, summer can mean a couple more kids who are around a lot more often than we might be used to (or than we might want).

It is possible to keep things sexy throughout the summer, even when you have another woman’s kids running rampant through your house.

Here are my top 4 tips to keep your sex life intact while his kids visit for weeks and weeks on end.

1. Establish Bedroom Off-Limits Rule ASAP

I know Dads will argue with this one, but let’s face it. Our household is overrun by tiny humans for sometimes an entire summer. Stepmoms, and Couples, absolutely 100% need their private space. They need to know that their alone time is protected. Establishing Bedrooms-Off-Limits can easily be done to ensure that it is.

Kids in biological families are often welcomed into their parents’ room. But more often that not, Stepmom is not comfortable with this for many reasons. It is well within your right to request that your privacy be respected. After all, it is your bedroom.

If this sounds harsh to you, consider this. Children know that, while at school, there are certain places that are off limits — such as the teacher’s lounge. They understand that they are allowed free reign throughout the rest of the school, but the only people who go in the teacher’s lounge are the teachers. Is this mean? No. This is a boundary that they respect very easily. The reason they respect it is because it has been clearly communicated.

Kids understand that, when at the grocery store, they do not wander back into the warehouses or stock-rooms. Customers stay in the front of the store, and employees are allowed in the back. That’s just the way that it is.

Different people have different places within our societies. There are hierarchies and boundaries interwoven within everything that we do. It is our place as parents to teach our children how to be respectful of those boundaries, even if they don’t necessarily agree with them.

Children do best with clearly laid out expectations. As soon as humanly possible, you must enforce the boundary that they are not allowed in your bedroom, and especially without knocking. Even still, they better know not to knock unless the house is burning down.

We have found it helpful with my Stepson to also afford him the same courtesy of not stepping foot in his bedroom unless we first knock and then are invited in. When my 6-month-old son is old enough to understand, he will also be given the boundary that he is not allowed in his parents’ room or his older brother’s (my stepson’s) room unless he has been given permission.

This Bedroom-Off-Limits rule can also be very helpful with siblings. Sometimes, a kid just needs to go chill out and not be bugged by their younger (or older) brothers and sisters. Learning to respect the privacy and boundaries of other people is exceptionally important.

Bonus: more uniterrupted bow chicka wow wow for you.

2. Balance The Needs of Kids and Spouse

Some Stepmoms may feel like they are robbed of their alone time with their partners when his kids visit for longer than usual. One reason this is sometimes true is that Dad wants to spend as much time with his kids as possible. He feels he barely gets to see them, so when he does, he wants to make sure that their time is spent together.

I asked my husband what his thoughts were on this. He explained it to me.

When a Dad doesn’t get to see his kids every day like he would in a biological family, he feels he needs to make up for lost time when he does get to see them. Summer provides an opportunity to do so. Aside from Christmas holidays, this is sometimes the only extended period of time that his kids will spend with him. In a Dad’s mind, this simply means to make the most of that time. Road trips, camping, festivals, water fights — these activities are all intended to create enjoyable summer memories for the kids. They also help Dads feel better about all the days up to this point that they’ve missed out on.

I would encourage you, Stepmom, to be sensitive to this need of your husband’s. Remember that he dearly misses his children when they are at their mother’s house and it sincerely hurts him that he doesn’t get to see them every day. Your job as his teammate is to be supportive of this.

Your needs are important. Your husband’s needs are important. And your stepchildren’s needs are important.

Nobody is more important than, or less important than, the other.

But when you want alone time, it can feel like your husband isn’t prioritizing you the way you’d like. Not to mention that kids are notorious time suckers, and the more your partner gives, the more his kids will take.

The balance of Stepfamily life is a delicate one. But instead of making it a competition for your partner’s time, think of some creative ways that both you and the kids are having your needs met.

Some of my personal favourites to ensure your Husband still spends time with his kids, but you still get to spend time with him, are these:

  • Set up the tent in the back yard. Have a family campfire, s’mores included. Send the kids off to their tent with their iPads while you and your partner finish your bottle of wine together by the fire. Once it’s time to go inside, you will be able to bow chicka wow wow since the kids will be outside and you’ll have the house to yourself.
  • Have a family water fight. Do Boys against Girls. Never give up, never surrender. Once the fight is over, tell everyone to go shower up. Take this time to shower with your husband.
  • Take afternoon naps together. Even if they are only 20 minutes long, it can be really nice to have a time out and a snuggle with your partner halfway through the day. Somewhere between the splash park and laser tag, a little bit of physical intimacy can really get you through until bedtime.

3. Schedule Your Date Nights

Ok this is totally not sexy, but it works. Make sure you let your husband know in advance that you will be spending Saturday nights together, alone.  Ask your mom to babysit, or bribe the oldest kid with a new video game if he watches his siblings once a week for the next few weeks. If you can afford to get a hotel or an Air BnB on occasion, do that. This way you will 100% know that your time together will be uninterrupted.

If overnight dates aren’t feasible, make sure you follow these cardinal date rules:

  • Must take place out of the house
  • Must not discuss children or ex-wives
  • Must be at least 3 hours long

Your husband will be much more open to date nights if he has time in advance to prepare for them. This also provides an opportunity to prepare your Stepchildren to be open to the fact that there is a time and a place for family events, there is a time and a place for Dad and Kid time only, and there is a time and a place for the parents to have time to themselves.

The importance of scheduling, predictable routines, and clearly laid out expectations are the foundation that a Stepfamily is built upon.

Probably the most important thing I do in my work as a Stepfamily Counselor is to help Stepfamilies create rules, roles, and rituals (for more info on this, send me an email). If everyone knows what to expect, then nobody can possibly be disappointed.

4) Make Sure There are Set Summer Bedtimes

Dads are the worst at making kids go to bed. It’s scientifically proven.

I don’t care if your kids are 6 months old, 6 years old, or 16. Regular bedtimes with familiar rituals and routines are one tool every Stepfamily needs in their toolbox.

The reasons for this are multiple.

Kids thrive on consistency, predictability, and structure. Summers (and dads) are notorious for allowing waaaaaayyyyy too late of bedtimes to plague our children. We wonder why they misbehave, or why they can’t pay attention, yet these poor dears regularly stay up much too late and are quite simply exhausted.

Sleep deprivation in our society and for our children is out of control.

When our children are hungry, we feed them. When they are thirsty, we give them something to drink. When they are cold, we snuggle them in a warm blanket. Yet when they are tired — and sleep is a basic need as much as food and water — we choose to ignore this need and allow them to run wild until all hours of the night.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m tired, I’m a bear. And I’m a grown woman.

When our kids are tired, they are like bear cubs with rabies. I’m not even sure if bear cubs can get rabies, but I’d imagine you have a picture in your mind about what that looks like.

When these bear cubs with rabies have infiltrated our homes, we become resentful of their presence. We wish them and their mouth-foaming to just disappear. But then Papa Bear allows the umpteenth night in a row of late nights. Not only does this cut into our private time together, it just reinforces the rabid baby bears.

All metaphors aside. When kids are tired, they misbehave. When kids misbehave, Stepmom is not happy. Stepmom desperately wishes for these kids to go to bed on time so she can stop listening to their ridiculousness, and so she can have her husband back to herself. But husbands are oblivious. So the kids stay up later and later, they misbehave more and more, parental time gets cut shorter and shorter, and sooner than later, someone is sleeping on the couch.

For the sake of your Stepchildren, for the sake of your sanity, and for the sake of your marriage, summer bedtimes are ten million percent critical in ensuring this next couple months is as enjoyable as possible.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again: children need consistency and structure. Parents also need consistency and structure. Overall, it just creates a much happier, higher functioning household.

If you’re saying “Well yeah Brittany, I know that… but my husband just can’t seem to get on the same page as me!” then I’d encourage you to download this free e-guide that addresses some common stepfamily challenges by clicking here.

You should know that in my work with Stepfamilies, I see challenges like this arise all the time. It is super common for a Stepmom to feel like she maybe isn’t as important to her husband than she’d like to be. Husbands feel pulled in a hundred directions, never feeling like he has enough time to make everyone happy.

What does this mean for you? It means there is nothing wrong with you, at all. There is nothing wrong with your husband or his kids either. This is simply a dynamic of living within a Stepfamily. The good news? There are solutions. Give these 4 tips a try this summer, and enjoy all your alone time. (Bow chicka bow bow)


How do you manage Summer holidays within your Stepfamily? Which of these strategies do you already use, and which do you still need to implement?  As Stepqueens, we are committed to ending negative Stepmother associations. How have you recently risen above the Stepmonster label? Comment below with your thoughts, or click here to drop me a line!

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