Cherishing Time with Your Kids

I remember the day we brought Isabella home from the hospital and I had her in my arms. I was doting over her and in complete awe of how beautiful she was. And my mother said “Enjoy it, soon she’ll be starting kindergarten.” I looked at her like she was crazy, “Ma, she’s a newborn, kindergarten is a long way off.” That was almost 8 years ago. Isabella will be 8 years old and four days after, Emilia will be turning 2. And ever since I became a mom, I keep asking myself:

“Where has the time gone?”

2 month old Isabella

When my daughter first started kindergarten, I knew exactly what my mom meant that day four years previous. She warned me about this, time going by so quickly. It’s unbelievable how fast time can go by once you have kids. I cry every year on my girls birthdays, the start of a new school year, and any significant milestone. But I’m realizing just how important it is to cherish the day-to-day as well.

In her big girl bed

Throughout the day I find myself waiting for the day to be over. “I can’t wait to put the girls to bed and relax” is the usual thought in my head most days. But I don’t want to be like that anymore. I want to appreciate all the moments I have with my girls, even the not-so-great ones.

Sisters

I know that one day from now, honestly not that far into the future, my girls will be grown and out of the house. There won’t be toys for me to trip over, messes to clean up, or the sound of them screaming and laughing as they play. And honestly, the thought of that breaks my heart.

They get along… mostly

So I’m going to play with them more, hug them more, kiss them and memorize how they look at this age. I’ll gladly read another story, change the poopy diapers, and cuddle my girls as much as they’ll let me. They will never be this little again.

Now, if you need me, I’ll be with my girls.

-Toniann

10 Things I’ve Learned in a 10 Year Relationship

May is a busy month for my family: we’ve got my birthday, both of my daughters birthdays, my anniversary with Jonathan, not to mention Mother’s Day. Jonathan and I have been married for a little over 8 years now but we are coming up on 10 years together this weekend.

We got together when I was 19 years old and I’ve learned so much since then. Back then I thought I knew everything, but I didn’t know shit. To be fair, I still don’t know shit but I’m learning slowly. I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned since Jon and I first got together.

Us 10 years ago

1. People Change

People often view change as a bad thing. But when it comes to relationships, change is important. In the 10 years Jon and I have been together, we have grown together and I feel like we’re becoming better people together. No one is the same person they were even yesterday. At 19 years old, I was spoiled, hot-tempered, and stubborn. Ok, I’m still stubborn but I’ve gotten better. Since then, we’ve become parents to 2 little girls, moved throughout 4 different states and faced so many other challenges. All of that has changed us individually and as a couple, and we’re better because of it.

10 years later

2. Communication

I cannot overstate the importance of communication in a relationship. When Jon and I first got together, it was difficult for me to talk to him about things that bothered me without catching an attitude. Or I would just ignore him, which only made things worse. Overtime I’ve learned to be kinder with my words and talk to him more calmly about important issues in our relationship. I’ve also realized its important to talk about problems in person, not over the phone or text, and not to talk when I’m too upset. Communication is key.

Climbing mountains together

3. Be Honest

Honesty relates to communication, but it’s just as important. Being honest can be messy and painful but it’s also liberating. Honesty is the foundation of trust in a relationship and Jon and I have worked very hard over the years to be honest with each other. And because we’re honest with each other, we’ve gotten to know each other on a deeper level over the years. We were both honest with what we wanted out of a relationship, marriage, how we would raise our kids and our goals in life. We’re always finding out something new about each other because we work at being honest with one another.

All dolled up for my best friends wedding

4. Pick Your Battles

When Jon and I first got together, I was always picking fights with him. I would make things out to be a bigger deal than they actually were. Recently, I’ve been making an effort to check in with myself when I’m upset with Jon. I ask myself if this is really something he’s doing wrong or is it just me overreacting for some reason. And usually, it’s something else that’s bothering me but I’m taking it out on him. Slowly, I’ve learned to let things go because life is too short.

Thanksgiving 2017

5. Alone Time is a Necessity

Having kids can make it difficult for any couple to have any alone time but it’s so important. Jon and I make it a point to go on date nights as often as we can, we try for once a week but that’s not always possible. So even that time between when the girls go to sleep and we do is special. We watch some of our shows or movies and cuddle. Its important to spend time with one another, even if it requires more effort with have 2 kids. Sometimes you just have to get creative.

Celebrating one of our anniversaries

6. Sex, Sex and more Sex

For those new to my blog, I wrote a whole post discussing The Importance of Sex in a Relationship because I truly believe its one of the most important keys to a relationship. Sometimes it’s difficult with work, kids and other commitments. There are some days when we just want to pour ourselves into bed and go to sleep. But we make an effort to keep an active sex life, and we are happier for it. More sex, less stress.

I can’t get enough of this guy

7. Our Love is Still Strong

I’ve heard from many people in relationships longer than us, trying to convince us that our love for each other will fizzle a bit. That we won’t want to be around each other as much as we are now. But that hasn’t happened yet. To quote my husband yesterday “I feel like I’m falling more in love with you the longer we’re together.” And yes, I teared up because that was romantic as hell. And it’s true for me too, the longer we are together, the more opportunities for us to grow together and love on each other. Even after all this time, I still can’t get enough of him.

My 26th birthday

8. Laugh More

Anyone who truly knows me, knows that I’m a really silly person. Its fun to be with someone who I can be completely myself around. I can act like an idiot dancing around, and no, I don’t mean the sexy, cute dancing, I mean like a fish out of water dancing. We both jam out in the car and do dumb dances and crack up laughing when other drivers see us. And laughing helps with tense situations, and if we can laugh during an argument, then it really wasn’t a big deal after all.

Christmas party 2017

9. Flirt Often

I’m always flirting with my husband. I make it a habit to tell him when he’s looking good and be affectionate with him. Light touches, sexy text messages, getting dressed up for each other are some ways we like to flirt with each other. Flirting keeps things exciting, and lets my husband know that I want him, not just sexually. Flirting helps to remind us what we love about each other and keeps the spark alive.

Universal Studios Orlando

10. Relationships are Hard Work

Yes, relationships aren’t easy. I consider Jon and I a strong and happy couple, and it’s because we put the work in everyday. We make an effort to listen and talk to one another, make sure that we show our love for each other. Because saying it isn’t always enough. Some days are easier than others. There’ve been countless times where I felt like I couldn’t be loved, but he’s still there. I wake up everyday and choose to be with Jonathan, to love him and be there for him, as he’s there for me. And we never give up on each other.

Thanksgiving 2018

So there it is, 10 things I’ve learned in my 10 year relationship with my husband. Every couple is different and this is definitely not a guide to follow for your relationship. These 10 things I’ve listed are what’s important in my relationship. We work everyday to communicate with each other and love on one another as often as possible. I love how far we’ve come in this past decade and it makes me excited for the next 10 years. Happy 10 year anniversary baby.

Cheers to 10 years!

-Toniann


Birthday Anxiety

My birthday is a time that I’m always excited about. I count down the days and look forward to celebrating with the people I love most and going on great adventures. But coming up on my 29th birthday this year, I don’t feel the same excitement that I usually do. Last week I was anxious thinking about this being the last year in my 20s.

I would never have considered myself an anxious person, but since I got pregnant with my last daughter over 2 years ago, anxiety seems like a normal (and horrible) part of my daily routine. But despite countless anxiety attacks, I was happy about my birthday last year.

Why is this birthday different?

Turning 29 was a happy thought at first, but then I realized that this is the last year in my 20s, and I only have a year left to accomplish certain goals in my life. And that was frightening. I started to think about my best friends, who are earning their masters degrees, one of whom has 2 kids. I started to compare what I have accomplished in my life, and I couldn’t think of anything.

What have I truly accomplished in this decade, besides raising two wonderful daughters?

And panic set in at this thought. So I began to dread turning 29, my last chance at doing something meaningful with my life. To create lasting friendships in my new home state, to get my career and education back on track, and work on becoming a better version of myself. Its overwhelming to think about all I have to work on.

I spoke to my sister-in-law about this. I told her all my worries and how I’m feeling lost. And that I’m scared to pursue my own goals, because my anxiety has convinced me that taking care of myself meant that my relationship with my husband and children will suffer. But I owe it to myself, and my family to work on myself and my goals. She reminded me of all that I have accomplished in my life already. And I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately.

In this past decade of my life, I’ve lived in 4 states: New York, Massachusetts, Florida, and now Arizona. It’s such a big achievement in my book that I’ve moved out of my hometown, something that many people will never do in their lives. I’ve met some amazing, and not-so-amazing people, and they’ve all taught me something. I’ve realized my passion for fitness and while I have neglected that passion these past few years, it’s a goal of mine to become a personal trainer again. I’ve become vegan, something I never thought would happen, ever. I married the most amazing man in the world and we’re coming up on our tenth anniversary. I’m proud of the work we’ve put into our relationship and we’ve become better people since we first got together. I’m raising two children, a job that is so important, and I’m doing a kickass job (even though I feel like I’m not most of the time).

And most important of all, I’m learning more about myself. I’m learning the kind of person I want to be, and I’m taking steps everyday to become that person. I’ve realized what kind of relationships I want in my life. And because of that I’ve let go of relationships and set boundaries with people. I know that I alone am in charge of my happiness. I’ve realized how strong of a person I am. The most difficult thing I’ve gone through was losing my father. I deal with the grief of that loss everyday. And all the struggles I’ve faced have made me a stronger person.

So I write this blog post to remind myself, and anyone else reading, not to compare your timeline to someone else’s. We’re all on different paths, dealing with our own struggles. It’s only natural to compare ourselves to others, but it’s unfair to do so. I’m trying to focus on my own journey, to count my blessings and to be okay with imperfection. I hope the same for you.

Alright 29, I’m ready for you.

-Toniann

My Experience with Pregnancy Loss

Last night, we were sitting around the dinner table talking about babies. Isabella, my oldest daughter said “Mommy, you’ve been pregnant two times and you’re not having anymore babies.” I hesitated at the “pregnant two times” part of her sentence but I told her she was right. My daughter, and so many other people, do not know that I’ve been pregnant 4 times but only have 2 children.

When my oldest daughter, Isabella, was about 18 months old, I went through baby fever, and it was bad. I wanted to have another baby, I wanted Isabella to have a sibling to play and grow up with. But my husband wasn’t ready, and he knew deep down, I wasn’t either. So we decided to wait. I was taking birth control pills after having my daughter. The birth control was covered by Medicaid, but as Isabella’s second birthday was approaching, my medical coverage was ending. My birth control was $90 a month, an expense we couldn’t afford at the time, so I had decided to get an intrauterine device or IUD.

I made an appointment with my gynecologist, and I told her I needed to get an IUD as soon as possible, before my insurance coverage ended. We talked about different IUD’s and I decided on ParaGard, which is has copper and no hormones. It was supposed to be more effective than the hormonal IUD’s and I was more comfortable with a hormone free one. I wasn’t sure how I would react to the hormones in other IUD’s and I couldn’t chance it. And the copper IUD would last 10 years and I could just make an appointment to get it removed whenever Jonathan and I decided to try for another child.

I laid there on the table, my feet in the stirrups while my gynecologist prepared to insert my IUD. She was having some trouble but after a lot of poking and prodding at my cervix (ouch) I finally had my IUD inserted. And I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I wouldn’t have to worry about getting pregnant any time soon.

Or so I thought…

It was about a year after having my IUD and I had no issues with it. My husband occasionally felt the string from the IUD when we would have sex, but overall, no real problems. Then one day, I had just finished working out at home, and it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t gotten my period. I ran to my calendar in the kitchen to count the days since my last period.

29 days…

Not very late, but late nonetheless. “Fuck, could I be pregnant?” I went to the store and got a pregnancy test. A faint positive appeared and I cried on the toilet. How? How did this happen? I know the IUD is still in, did it move?

I called Jon and told him I was pregnant and he thought I was joking. I told him “no, baby, I’m not kidding. The pregnancy test is positive and I’m scared.”

I started looking up the chances of getting pregnant with a copper IUD, less than 1%. What are the chances of having a healthy pregnancy and delivery with an IUD? Mixed research. I made an appointment with my gynecologist and I remember telling the woman at the office “I’m pregnant and have a copper IUD.” She couldn’t believe what I was saying.

I had to wait until the next week for my appointment, which was hell. Even though I didn’t want to get pregnant at the time, knowing that I was in fact pregnant, I wanted my baby to be okay. But I started spotting, and the bleeding got worse as the days went on.

I heard blighted ovum at one appointment and ectopic pregnancy at another. I honestly don’t know what it was and I was in too much shock to ask questions. Either way, I was not going to have another baby.

And I was crushed.

I got my IUD removed because it didn’t work for whatever reason. Maybe it moved or wasn’t inserted correctly. It could be possible since my gynecologist at the time had trouble inserting it. I’ll never know and the answer wouldn’t make me feel any better.

I was heartbroken. And I wanted us to try for another baby. But every month, my period came and my heart broke all over again. I tried to act like it didn’t bother me, but it did.

And a year later, I got pregnant again. I was excited, but I was wary. I made sure not to tell anyone but my husband and mother. I wanted to go to the doctor before I said anything. But I’d have to wait until at least 8 weeks to have my first appointment and I was only 5 weeks.

When I got to 6 weeks, I started spotting. And my heart sank. I went to the emergency room and sure enough my hCG (pregnancy hormone) levels were low. I stayed at the hospital for a few hours so they could test my levels again, and if they were continuing to lower, that meant I was having a miscarriage. I tried to hold on to hope that things were fine, but after a few hours and another test, we found out I was miscarrying.

I remember how direct the nurse was. Quick and to the point, and not sympathetic. I was told, just like the first time, that my body should “take care of it” and my body should expel all remaining tissue. And to follow up with my doctor in a few weeks. My husband, daughter and I made it to the car before I started crying. And I kept crying.

When we got home, I was crying in my husbands arms and I looked at him and told him…

“…I feel broken. I’d rather never get pregnant again than to feel this pain one more time.”

I didn’t tell anyone, no one knew I was pregnant, so why should I share my loss? I convinced myself that I was lucky. I was lucky that my body would take care of things and I wouldn’t need surgery like other women have. I was lucky not to have gotten so far along in my pregnancy. I was lucky to have one child, when so many other women struggle with this loss and still don’t have children. I told myself that my grief wasn’t valid because there were other women who have endured much worse than I have. And maybe that helped me cope at the time, but my loss was real. My pain was excruciating, both physically and emotionally. And it’s a pain I still carry today.

I didn’t realize at the time that I was going through something called secondary infertility. I found out later that it’s common for some woman to have trouble either getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term after giving birth to a child previously. It was over a year later before I got pregnant again. And four years total after my first pregnancy loss before I got pregnant for the last time.

But I am lucky. I got my rainbow baby, my Emilia. When I got pregnant with her, I was wary yet again. I was careful not to let myself get excited. But I made it to my 8 week appointment and explained to my midwife that I needed to have an ultrasound since I had 2 previous pregnancy losses. And I got my ultrasound, and we saw that heartbeat flicker and I breathed a sigh of relief. Not a big one, because I knew I was not through the woods, you never are when you’re pregnant. But I was relieved and I was excited. And she’s here, and one of the greatest joys in my life. I am incredibly fortunate to have 2 beautiful children.

But some women never get their rainbow baby, and for that I am truly sorry. To anyone reading this who is struggling to have a baby, I see you. To those who have endured countless pregnancy losses, I feel your pain. And to the women, suffering in silence, trying to put on a smile at the news of other women getting pregnant, I see you too. There are no words that can ease the pain of losing a pregnancy. Grieving a life that could have been.

You are not alone.

Below, I will include a link for pregnancy loss support or if anyone who wants to chat about pregnancy loss can email me.

NationalShare.org

-Toniann

Spending One on One Time with Your Children

My oldest daughter was an only child for 6 years before her baby sister came along. My husband and I referred to her as “the baby” up until that point, and we’d probably still refer to her that way if she was an only child. I am happy about the age difference between them. I feel that Isabella had a lot of time as “the baby” and got my undivided attention most of the time. So when I got pregnant with Emilia, I was very worried about Isabella getting jealous of her baby sister. I remember talking to other moms who had more than one child and the one thing they all told me was to make time for her once her sister came. That having one on one time with her is important so she doesn’t feel jealous or feels that she has to compete for my attention.

Then Emilia was born. Fast-forward to now.

I was recently scrolling through old photos and videos on my phone and I came across a video I took of Isabella meeting Emilia for the first time. I made it a point to record this moment because I knew how special it would be. And it was special. And then Isabella looks at her dad and says “Daddy, Daddy, you were holding me when I was a baby too.” I didn’t notice when she said it but watching the video recently, I realized there have been so many more moments like this since her sister was born.

Isabella does compete for my attention. I’ve noticed it a lot more lately with her baby sister getting older. Emilia is doing new things, adorable things like talking and being silly. And when we all dote over Emilia for being cute, Isabella will rush to do the same thing.

So even though my goal was to make sure I spent one on one time with Isabella, I’ve been failing at keeping up with that promise.

It’s difficult to get one on one time with Isabella. My day usually consists of making sure Isabella gets to school, cooking, cleaning, work out, getting Isabella from school, grocery shopping, then home to complete homework (which gives me the most anxiety), then cook dinner, hubbs comes home, eat dinner, bath time and then bedtime. And when both of the girls are together, I yell A LOT. A lot more than I would like to but I’m working on it. Anyway, during my weekday, there really isn’t much opportunity for actual one on one time. And admittedly, I need to try harder.

I make it a point to have one on one time with my husband by going on date nights. I should be doing the same for my daughter.

She needs to have me to herself sometimes and her dad to herself as well. Emilia is almost 2 years old and during these last 2 years, we’ve probably had less than 5 planned one on one outings. And she still talks about them. She loves the time when the two of us went to get our nails done. I had a great time too. So yesterday I made sure to take her out to lunch, and it was great. Smoothies and quesadillas.

I want to continue having one on one time with Isabella. It won’t always be lunch or getting our nails done, it might just be the two of us jumping on the trampoline together. But my goal is to have one planned outing a month with Isabella, and her dad and I will trade months.

First Daddy daughter dance!

Its important to make her feel special and try to keep her from competing for our attention. My hope is that spending more one on one time, not just monthly, but even 10-15 minutes each day will help strengthen our bond. And not only Isabella’s bond with my husband and I, but also her sister. She might be less resentful towards her sister if she feels that she doesn’t have to fight her sister for our love.

Isabella and I have a good relationship. But my hope is that our bond only grows stronger, and that when she’s a teenager and an adult, she will still want to spend time with me. And I’m realizing more and more that I need to lay that foundation now. To make and effort to spend time with just her so she knows without a doubt that she is loved and she is special in her own way. I know that I love her, but she needs to know that by me showing her. And I’m promising myself to be better at spending one on one time with my daughter.

-Toniann

6 Things Being Vegan for 6 Years has Taught Me

Last week was my sixth veganniversary! I feel so proud of myself for having come this far and I’m excited for what’s to come. Looking back, I would have never expected that I would become vegan but it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Check out my post on Why I Became Vegan if you’re curious on why I made the transition. This week I wanted to share 6 things I’ve learned since becoming vegan 6 years ago.

1. There are many different types of vegans.

You have your ethical vegan, like me, who is vegan for the animals. The ethical vegan will avoid animal-based products like wool and leather while also avoiding businesses that exploit animals for entertainment (i.e. circus, zoo, aquarium etc.) You also have your environmental vegan who is vegan to reduce their carbon footprint in an effort to save the damn planet! Then there’s your raw vegan which follows a strictly plant-based diet that contains foods that haven’t been cooked over 115 degrees F. I’m sure I’ve missed a few types here, but these are some of the well-known vegan types. When I first became vegan, I never knew there were so many different kinds of vegans. But they’re all awesome in their own way.

2. Not all vegans are created equal.

When you become vegan, you will meet types of people who believe being vegan means all-or-nothing. Its expected when you hear it from non-vegans. “Does your car have leather seats?” You’re not vegan. “The house you live in was made by clearing land that was a home to animals, you’re not vegan.” Those are some of the things I’ve heard personally from people, and from former vegans. But there is also a lot of judgement from inside the vegan community. I mean, a shit-ton of judgement. Don’t drink almond milk because almonds require a lot of water to be produced. Oh, you eat Oreos? The sugar in that isn’t vegan. That company also produces non-vegan products, you should only buy from 100% vegan companies. You chaperoned your kids trip to the zoo? Definitely not vegan. Wait, your kids aren’t vegan? Well, you shouldn’t even have kids since our planet is overpopulated and having children is destroying the earth.

JUST. FUCKING. STOP.

I’ve learned that you will never be vegan enough for some people. Being vegan is more about doing the most good for animals and less about personal purity. But hey, if you wanna go live off the grid on a deserted island and only eat coconuts while making your own clothes, more power to you.

3. Sometimes you don’t want to tell anyone you’re vegan.

Everyone knows that vegans never fucking shut up about being vegan. I mean, I’m writing a blog about it right now. But there will come a time where you don’t even want to tell anyone you’re vegan. Why, you might ask? Well, people bombard you with questions about being vegan. And while I have met some people who were very polite about it, I’ve also met some rude people when they find out I’m vegan. People have flat out told me I was wrong for going vegan, as if my decision somehow effects them in any way. People think vegans are easily offended, try telling a non-vegan that you’re vegan because you love animals. “Don’t tell me I’m not an animal-lover because I love eating steak!” Then there is the all too famous question: “where do you get your protein from?” There’s protein in plants people! Sometimes it’s exhausting to deal with people who want to put you down for being vegan. So, I’ve come to the point where if someone doesn’t know I’m vegan, I try not to tell them until it’s absolutely necessary, like if they ask why I won’t eat something.

4. Going out to eat is STILL difficult.

While over the past 6 years of being vegan, more and more restaurants are including substantial vegan options, some restaurants are still way behind. So any outing, not just to a restaurant, requires planning ahead. Being a mom, I’ve made it a habit to pack snacks for my girls, but I also need to pack snacks for myself. And if we’re going to a non-vegan restaurants with some friends, I make it a habit to eat beforehand so I’m not starving. And I also research their menu for any possible vegan options. Most of the time, the only vegan option will be a side salad (make sure to tell the server no cheese!) and fries. Oh, and alcohol, but of course that can be dangerous.

5. Veganism is becoming more mainstream!

There are many people who believe that going vegan will not make any real difference. The animals are dying anyway, so why not eat them? But that’s not the case at all. We have the power to change which products companies produce based on what we spend our money on. So, the more vegan products that are bought, the more that will be made. When I first went vegan 6 years ago, there weren’t as many options as there are now. There are so many new vegan companies out there and even non-vegan companies are producing vegan products. And like I said in my last point, more and more restaurants are providing vegan dishes to keep up with the demand. It’s safe to say I’m fucking excited for what’s to come for veganism in the future.

6. Some people will never go vegan no matter how hard you try.

This is the probably the saddest and most frustrating thing I’ve learned since I became vegan. When I became vegan, its was like a veil was lifted and I finally saw things for how they are. The cruelty animals face everyday is horrific. The effects of animal products on the human body is scary. And even with all that information out there, people still will not go vegan. WHY?! This is something I’ve struggled with for a while, trying to convince so many people to go vegan to no avail. But I’ve learned that going vegan is a decision that people have to come to on their own. Most of us grew up eating meat. We were once in their shoes, and it just requires patience and understanding sometimes, no matter how difficult that may be. And in my case, I never had the intention to go vegan, yet here I am. While it would be wonderful if the whole world was vegan, that’s not the case now. All I can do is be the best vegan possible and be here for anyone who wants to do the same.

Well, there you have it. 6 things being vegan has taught me over the last 6 years. Its been an amazing journey. I’ve had some slip-ups, but I’m still going strong. Being vegan was the best choice for me and I’m happier living my life this way. I’d recommend the vegan lifestyle for anyone. To my fellow vegans: what are some things you’ve learned since you made the switch? Drop a comment below. I hope everyone has a fantastic day. And happy veganniversary to me!

About to demolish some vegan cupcakes. Can’t wait to have some more this weekend!

-Toniann

The Importance of Sex in a Relationship

This week I got the great idea from my husband to talk about sex. Or as he so eloquently put it: “talk about doin’ it.” However you refer to sex, I wanted to talk about the importance of sex in a relationship. And how more intimacy and more sex leads to a happier, long-lasting future with your partner.

Jon and I have been together for almost 10 years and I certainly credit our great sex life to how happy we are together. Sex is one of the most important parts of our relationship; it helps keep us connected emotionally and makes our relationship stronger. Any issues that we may be having can affect our sex life and vice versa. So we make an effort to keep an active sex life since sometimes it can be difficult with work and kids.

Why is sex so important though?

Sex helps to keep a level of intimacy that’s necessary in committed relationships. Everyone wants to feel loved and secure in their relationship and sex helps by increasing the overall happiness with your partner. Frequent sex is a self-esteem booster and makes us feel attractive and more confident. I, as well as so many others, have lots of insecurities. I’ve had many moments where I felt very unattractive, especially after having two kids. My body has gone through changes and I have a lot more stretch marks than when Jon and I first started dating. But regardless of how I see myself, he still finds me attractive, and I know it by how often we have sex. I feel more desirable and more confident the more we have sex.

Sex is an awesome stress reliever. Sometimes after a long, hard day, you need a long hard… night. Kissing, cuddling and sex release oxytocin (the hormone also known as the “love hormone”) which helps us to relax and have a more restful sleep. Dealing with the issues of day-to-day life can be difficult. Work, household chores, kids (if you have any) and potential financial problems can put a damper on any relationship. But having an active sex life with your partner can help to ease that burden. Maintaining a close and intimate relationship makes it easier to tackle any issues together. While an inactive sex life can make a you feel like you’re more of a roommate than someone who’s in a loving relationship.

Sex is also great for physical health. Are you looking to switch up your exercise routine? Looking to workout with your significant other? Well, having sex is a great way to get a workout in and burn lots of calories. Sex also benefits heart health and improve overall fitness. Don’t forget to squeeze those glutes, yours and theirs.

I cannot stress the importance of sex in a relationship enough. Now, I’m no expert on love, sex or marriage. This post is simply my own interpretation of how sex enhances my relationship with my husband. Hopefully, some of you reading can relate or at the very least, have more of an open discussion with you partner about sex. It’s certainly one of the most important parts of my relationship. I feel loved, feel confident and secure in my marriage because we have sex as often as we do. And it helps keep that spark alive.

So set the mood: light some candles, get out the massage oils, have a glass of wine and put the kids to bed early. Happy humping!

-Toniann