Ten ways to help mom get in the mood

Filed under: Just For Moms, Just For Dads, Sex

"You want to get me in the mood? Help out!" says one mom I know.

"Watching my hubby cheerfully, without my prodding, take care of household duties totally puts me in the mood," says another.

Why is this? It's certainly not that male domesticity is dreamy -- you'll never find me, or any of my mama friends, watching videos of scantily-clad men putting plates and bowls in the dishwasher and tucking the kids in bed. Scrubbing toilets isn't fun no matter who's doing it. It's not the work in and of itself. It's the helping. And it's the fact that you don't have to do it all yourself. It's the fact that you don't have to do it all yourself. And perhaps most importantly, it's about recognizing and appreciating your partner's hard work. That alone is a powerful aphrodisiac.

When you first partner with the man of your dreams, it seems easy -- or, at least, possible -- to separate your wifely self from that of career woman, sporty gal, best friend, craft maven. As a wise woman told me recently, "before I was a mom I was Ghandi: I was generous with my time and resources. If my husband wanted to go on a hike, that was great!" But after... every half-hour had to be portioned out, with a responsible parent "on duty" at any given time. Once I became a mom, my identities were no longer separate and certainly not equal: I was mom first and foremost, and 24 hours a day. Suddenly my partnership with my husband was that of boss and executive assistant. And that's just not sexy.

In order to get in the mood, I had to step out of my mom role. In the first months of a child's life, that's nearly impossible; and for the rest of toddler-hood it's just really, really hard. So when I read Lainie Keslin Ettinger's essay in the New York Times (she's the wise woman of whom I spoke), I thought, yes! Someone understands exactly what I'm going through.

And I discovered that, for moms, porn is not so racy after all.

Want a mom in the mood, men? Try these tips:
  1. Put the kids to bed, making an effort to get them to sleep without a fuss.
  2. Dinner time? Offer to chop while she sautés.
  3. When mom gets home from work and errands, have the baby bathed and freshly diapered.
  4. Clear out the answering machine.
  5. When dinner's over, show off your high-school waiter skills and carry all the dishes to the kitchen.
  6. Send thank-you notes to all your relatives for the gifts they've sent this year.
  7. Fold the laundry in the dryer and put it away.
  8. Talk about something other than discipline or chores or bills.
  9. Take the kids to the park (or anywhere, for that matter!) so mom can have a break.
  10. If you're unsure how to help, by all means, ask.

Update: lots of you have commented to say, "this article is outdated!" and, "my husband helps around the house" or, (for you dads), "I help! I do!" and to that I say, I know. I know that many of you help. These dads pictured here? They help. And the more they do, the more their busy, next-millennium, working wives feel intimate, sexy, valued.

Just because some of you do help doesn't mean that it's any less desired. Just because some women don't value that help doesn't mean it's not true for me, for my very fashionable and well-educated friends. We love our husbands and yet we rarely have time to separate ourselves from the day-to-day of mom, career, mom, friend, mom, household finance chief, and oh yeah, mom. The more our "partners" are truly partnering, the better we feel about them come nookie time.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.