Question: I love my husband very much, but find it difficult to transition from "mommy" to "wife" in the evening. I'm constantly in "mommy-mode," so it's hard to switch into being a wife/woman for my husband. I want to feel like a woman again!
Response: This is a very common problem. In fact, it is so common that the Madonna-whore complex was discussed by Sigmund Freud in the 19th Century. As Freud points out, women can be categorized as the madonna (mother) or as the whore (sexual woman). Not only do men have to adjust to their wives being both mommy and woman, but women, too, have to come to some balance of the two as well. Both partners must adjust when they have a family.
It's completely normal for most women to have some challenge making the transition. After all, you probably still have to clean up and make lunches even after they are asleep!
Here are some strategies to making the switch:
1) Time management: Think about cutting out some obligations so you have more time in the evening to be "wife." Try managing your time so that when you are able to finally be alone with your husband (once the kids are in bed), you are not spending so much time doing other things.
2) Prioritize making time for your marriage. Don't think of it like "if you have time, I'll go to bed with my husband tonight." Think about it as a highly important priority. After all, your marriage should come above all else. A strong family is only as strong as the marriage.
3) Set aside 1-2 nights per week. Once you prioritize your husband and your marriage, you should be able to set aside one or two nights per week to head to bed a little earlier than usual and spend time with him. (If you're too tired at night, why not set the alarm for before the kids wake up?). If you set those nights aside (and you know they are coming), you will be able to train your mind to make the transition easier. It will also help that you are not trying to make that transition EVERY night. I am a strong believer in setting aside certain nights to spend together. Just because you are not already in the mood does not mean that you can not get in the mood once you are together with your husband. Ultimately, don't wait for desire to strike you-- just head to bed a little earlier than usual, start with intimacy, and see where that takes you. Remember: Desire does not always come before intimacy. Intimacy can generate desire.
4) Do relaxing activities before bed that don't have to do with housework or childcare. For example, take a hot shower (you will also benefit from feeling clean too!), take a bath, read a novel, read a woman's magazine, or watch a TV show (preferably not one you would watch with the kids). These activities will remind you of your "self" and not your role as "mommy." This will help you transition to intimacy when you are thinking about yourself as a woman.
5) Have some red wine or dark chocolate to help you feel more like a woman and less like a mommy. These items are recommended to help increase libido and blood flow (an important part of lubrication).
6) Talk to your husband about your relationship or even about adult things. Have an intellectual or emotional conversation about current events, work, or your relationship. Try to avoid discussing the kids.