What you’ll learn here:
- Childcare in Switzerland, and in many other countries, is still a luxury.
- Many moms don’t realize that lack of child-free time contributes to their low libido.
- It’s easy to fall into the Perfect Mom trap and lose yourself in motherhood.
- To get your desire back, you need to prioritize time for yourself and your relationship again.
- If you can’t afford childcare, look for subsidized options or organize an exchange with other parents.
I truly had no idea. When I moved to Switzerland with my family, I was clueless about the local school system. I assumed that a wealthy country like this would have free or cheap childcare for small and older kids.
Boy, was I in for a surprise! My son was not even two years old when we arrived in Zurich. When I started my research into crèches, I got a cold sweat all over my body. This costs how much???
Turns out to get your kid into full day childcare in Switzerland you need to be richer than the queen of England. Seriously, Prince William and Princess Kate pay less for elite early years’ education for their children than we do here in Switzerland.
The hidden link between childcare and libido
Every day I talk to women who come to me as a sexologist because they lost their libido. If those women happen to be mothers, sooner or later the topic of childcare surfaces.
“I’m so tired all the time. I can’t have a minute to myself because I have kids at home, running around. They want something from me every single minute.”
When I ask, “what’s your childcare arrangement?” I often hear one of the following:
- Oh, he’s too small. We’re waiting until he goes to kindergarten.
- It’s too expensive to get a babysitter or pay for daycare.
- We’ve put him in a crèche just for three mornings a week. I can’t imagine having him at an institution for eight hours every day.
- She’s only in daycare for the minimum amount of time. We both work part time and take turns to be with her.
I’m not judging any of these choices. But when I see an exhausted woman who doesn’t feel happy, feminine, and treats sex as another household chore, I can’t help but ask: “do these choices serve her”?
What these decisions have in common is a wish to be with your child for a maximum amount of time. If you send the kid to a crèche or after-school activities, it’s only because you have to work.
The result? All you have in your life is responsibility. As a mom. And as a professional. And the only pleasure that’s left is a bit of sleep. That’s a recipe for a sexual disaster (not to mention a threat to your mental health)!
How are you supposed to have the time, the energy, the fun mood to jump into bed with your partner or spouse? How are you supposed to enjoy self-love if all you want to do is doze off watching Netflix and get the day over with?
Access to childcare in Switzerland is still a luxury
For context: I am well aware of social, racial, and other inequalities that limit people’s access to childcare. This blog is about women and couples privileged enough to have their basic needs met and have some extra income to spend.
Having said that, sometimes the problem lies in access to information. In some countries the underprivileged have a guarantee of subsidized childcare but this is not the case everywhere, unfortunately.
Even here in Switzerland I met several moms who had no idea that crèche places were subsidized. So, if you can’t afford daycare, check with your local government and ask about financial support.
The Perfect Mom Trap
When I gave birth to my son, I chose to go on a one-year maternity leave and be with him. I wanted to breastfeed and give my baby a strong base of attachment.
And I did…managed to focus only on him for about three months. Then I felt the longing for something more. After years of activism, work, and a full life outside the home this transition was not feasible in the long term.
But it’s such a taboo, isn’t it?
As a woman, you’re supposed to want to be with your baby 24/7 and leave your old identity behind. As if there was no in-between.
I chose to give my baby a full first year of attention and care. But did that mean being with him every single hour of day and night? I needed time for myself, to relax and pursue my passions. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s either – or. Either you sacrifice yourself for your kid, or you’re a bad mom.
I found a solution that worked for my family. When my boy was just four months old, we hired a babysitter who would come to our house and take care of the little one, or take him out for a walk. And I could detach myself for a few hours, meet a friend, work on my business, or have a date with my husband. Win-win.
If you’re an American mom (or a Swiss one), four months might sound perfectly normal for you. In these countries there’s a very short parental leave (if at all) and childcare in Switzerland is available for small babies. But at the time I lived in Poland and leaving a small baby with a babysitter for a few hours, a few times a week felt like a crime. Still, I did it and I’m happy about that.
Your Desire Starts With You
Women often think that getting your libido back is a matter of a few tips and tricks. You know, getting a fancy vibrator, putting on some seductive lingerie. Sure, these things are cute but if you have been disconnected from your sexuality for years, they won’t be enough.
To get your desire back, you need to start prioritizing yourself again. You need to carve out the time in your busy week for doing something you enjoy. Or for doing nothing. Or both! Childcare can help with that.
We tend to think of creches or after-school activities as a necessary evil. Something we use to buy ourselves time to do a paid job or clean the house. I listen to fellow moms telling me that they only book three to four hours of care and then hurry to pick up their kid.
But this leaves them no time to gather their thoughts, feel like a person, like an individual again. And often this means that the desired “quality time” with your baby turns into time of resentment towards that little person. And that negative energy emanates further – onto your partner, and into your bedroom.
Fight For Your Child-Free Time
If you want to rebuild your relationship and intimacy, it’s time to rethink your approach to childcare.
Forget what you’ve been told. Forget the always-happy-and-pastel-colored Instagram accounts trying to sell you an idealized image of motherhood.
Think about what you want and need right now. Old solutions may not work anymore. And you have the right to change your mind.
Start by asking yourself these questions to see if your approach to childcare is serving you:
- How many hours a week do you have for yourself, without kids, free to do whatever you want, undisturbed? Do you feel that’s enough?
- If you’re in a relationship, how many hours do you have per week for couple time? Do you feel that’s enough?
- When you spend time with the child, how often do you feel annoyed, or drift off into social media while your baby plays next to you?
- If you feel guilty about leaving your kid in somebody’s care, what are your thoughts? Where is this guilt coming from? What ideal of motherhood are you trying to imitate? Is that your ideal too?
Childcare Is An Investment In Your Wellbeing
If you come to the conclusion that you don’t have any (or enough) time to be yourself, to relax, and to nurture your relationship, commit to finding solutions to get that time back. Talk to your partner (if you have one) and work out a plan.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Get a babysitter or a family member to take care of your child a few hours a week at least. And don’t use that time to catch up on work or doing the dishes!
- If your child is in a daycare or school for only a few hours a day, see what happens when you arrange for them to spend a full day there. Chances are high the kid will enjoy him or herself and you have gained a meaningful chunk of the week for you and your relationship.
- Tight on money? Check how much you spend each month on cute and unnecessary baby stuff. It’s always shocking to me how much moms are willing to spend on their children but not on themselves.
- If your financial situation is bad, ask around for subsidized childcare. You can also organize an exchange with a mom you know and trust. When there’s a will, there is a way.
Time To Reclaim Your Sexuality
Reclaiming your desire as a busy mom is more about mindset and identity than anything else. Things like painful intercourse can be treated. But until you give yourself permission to be a bit selfish, it’s unlikely you’ll find sex as an attractive option.
Working with a sexologist can help you get your libido back. I can help you see the big picture of your relationship and intimate life after kids. Sometimes we are so stuck in our ways of thinking that it takes someone else to point out that there are other solutions.
My online coaching program “Back to Good Sex” can help you get your libido back. Book a free consultation today and see how I can help you return to the time when making love felt fun and easy.
What is the childcare situation where you live? What has worked for you?