Editor's note: Lindsay Novak is a certified sex therapist based in west Omaha. She blogs every Tuesday for Livewellnebraska.com. Read more from Lindsay here.
Ever wonder what other couples or parents are struggling with in terms of kids, relationships, pregnancy, etc? Readers and bloggers of Momaha.com submitted their questions.
Question:My daughter sleeps in our queen-sized bed. My husband thought it was cute at first, but after a few times of being knocked on the floor in the middle of the night, he's upset. He gave me an ultimatum: Either put my daughter in her bed, or he will sleep in the guest room. He now sleeps in the guest room. But I can't stand being away from him. How do I fix this riff?
Lindsay: Co-sleeping is a highly debated subject, and regardless of my response, people will have their opinions. From the sound of your question, it appears that you're frustrated about your husband sleeping in the guest bedroom, but returning your daughter to her own bed is not an option.
Think about the message you're sending about the marriage by choosing your daughter over your spouse. Is there an underlying issue or subconscious desire for your husband to sleep separately? If your daughter is having difficulty sleeping alone, are you willing to help her overcome the fears, anxieties and phobias for the good of her future?
Sounds like you and your spouse need to communicate and find a solution that's best for the marriage. Because if the couple falls apart, the family falls with it.
Question: The most difficult part for me after childbirth was accepting my post-partum body. I still hate it. Things aren't as perky and don't sit like they used to. I love my every curve but have a hard time feeling attractive knowing that my stomach looks like it got into a heated battle with a tiger and lost -- epically. I literally cried the first time I looked at myself in a full-length mirror. How can I get over that feeling of unattractiveness?
Lindsay: First, let's acknowledge that your body experienced something amazing, and you have a wonderful baby to show for it. Until your energy and routine allow you to return to consistent activity and diet choices, accept your body in its current condition with a promise to yourself that, eventually, you'll start taking care of you again.
Commit to one thing you'll do for your body each day until it becomes a routine. This could include choosing an apple over chicken nugget leftovers from your kids, walking with a stroller, relaxing with a bath, painting your nails, etc. Soon, the daily self-care tasks will turn into a new routine and well-deserved outcomes.
Question: My wife just had a baby. We've waited the four to six weeks our physician said to wait before having sex so that she heals properly. But I'm ready to resume. I don't want to seem insensitive, but like I said, I'm ready. How can I initiate the conversation?
Lindsay: I commend you for realizing that the return to sex begins with a conversation. That said, the conversation could start with some questions. If she hasn't initiated sex since the doctor has given permission, find out why. It could be that she's exhausted, experiencing postpartum depression, doesn't want you to see her body or is afraid of intercourse after delivering.
Once you know why she is shy of returning to sex, you can attempt to problem solve together. Her OBGYN or a certified sex therapist may have solutions for specific problems like pain, lubrication, desire, positions, etc.
Question: My husband and I understand the importance of spending quality time together sans kids. What are some cost-effective date night ideas?
Lindsay: Omaha has a lot to offer couples who are bored, regardless of your budget. If you're looking for outdoorsy fun, take a walk in Heartland of American Park or across the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge. Bring a bottle of wine and a picnic if the weather cools. Or dust off your old Schwinn and check out local biketrails or handlebar happy hours.
Spend an evening browsing different areas of town like Midtown Crossing, Aksarben Village, The Old Market or Village Point. Avoid expensive dinners by picking a restaurant and enjoying appetizers and drinks instead of a full-blown meal. Many of these shopping areas offer free concerts and art exhibits like Jazz on the Green or Playing with Fire.
Or, for a night in, grab a take-n-bake pizza and snuggle on the couch together with a movie. And start a date folder. Keep it filled with movie theater listings, happy hour specials, coupons and local events.