Meet Eri Kardos. She is an International Communications and Connection Coach, Speaker, Author, and Mom. She specializes in empowering people to choose their own adventure in relationships, career, and life. Eri provides video coaching sessions to clients across the globe. You can check out her soon-to-be-released book, “Relationship Agreements” and find her online at www.EriKardos.com.
Name: Eri Kardos
Occupation: International Communications & Connection Coach, Speaker, & Author
Child’s (Children’s age): 11 months (& 3 months in my uterus!)
- How do you keep your relationship and sex life sizzling and exciting now that you’re a parent?
- We took Esther Perel’s advice and assigned one parent in charge of the child and the other parent in charge of the relationship. It’s not to say that we don’t both contribute, and it’s understood that I am already naturally thinking about all of the logistics of keeping the kid alive. My partner then focuses on getting me away from that constant mommy mindset and back into a place where I am a sexy mama and loved partner. For the first 5 years of our children’s lives, my partner makes sure date nights happen, that we get out and have fun, and that we stay playful in love. I often make suggestions for dates when I am inspired. It takes a lot of stress off of me to have them handle it and I am sure we’ll return to more dating balance once the kids are more independent. We both LOVE learning together, so we intentionally invest in sex and intimacy classes where we can try new techniques and stretch our mindset around connection.
2. How do you nourish yourself in a way that makes you feel honored, inspired, and sexually empowered?
- Self-care. What does that look like in my life as a pregnant mom? It means investing in a babysitter for some “me” time each week where I get to ask myself, “What do my body and soul thirst for in this moment?” The answer is often something like, “A long, hot shower where I can shave my legs in peace; a movie in a theater; time to stretch, do yoga, & meditate in silence; a chance to journal for 15 minutes; a phone call with someone new and inspiring (I actively seek out connection with other sexy mamas); going dancing; getting alone time to rest and masturbate; sharing a drink with a friend in the sunshine.” Child care also means date time – a chance to talk about what is on each of our hearts and rediscover intimate connection. I find that being goofy together and doing a little role playing in bed can be an amazing tool for nourishing my soul. Sometimes I am the all-powerful, sexy-as-hell queen of the land who is being taken care with foot rubs and…other things…by my a delicious sex slave. Other times I am a rebellious stripper in a club seducing my next target. Role play a fun way to connect and get lost in pretend together when so much of real life feel full of serious logistics navigating.
3. What was the most unexpected thing that you discovered about navigating your sex life after you became a parent?
- Scheduling! I don’t have energy at night for sexy times (besides a quickie) and my partner is too tired in the morning. Thus, 3pm dates are crucial. It also means that we have to get REALLY creative when looking for spontaneous sexy opportunitie, because it can be a challenge to switch hats from “mom” to “sexy partner.”
4. What is your favorite date night experience now that you are a mom?
- My favorite date night experience now is living in luxury and doing adult things that were once so simple to do. A night out might include getting a couple’s massage, enjoying delicious cuisine at a fine-dining establishment where we have to google the meaning of certain ingredients and can savor each bite slowly, and sharing drinks in a lounge with other adults (sans children). My partner loves it when I swap out my comfy mommy-yoga pants for something more stylish. Though part of me dislikes the time it takes to get ready, we’ve found that playing dress-up can really shift the mood of the night (hint: I recommend not wearing panties on date night).
5. How has your relationship to your body and your partner shifted or transformed through parenthood?
Honestly, I am not in connection with my body as much as I was prior to becoming a mom. I have been a dancer all of my life, and was getting out on the social dance floor several times a week up until Aavi was born. Now it seems the only dancing I do is in my living room with my baby (which, come to think of it, is a daily occurrence!). It is possible to remain somatically connected, and it takes more intention and creativity now.
As I write this I am beginning the second trimester of my second pregnancy. What a totally different experience from the first time! With Aavi I was SO in touch with my body and noticed every little change, received every message loud and clear, and was regularly in awe of my body’s power to create life. This time around it feels more natural and I am so busy chasing a toddler around that it takes a great deal of intention to tune into my pregnant body and the new baby inside! I would have never imagined this could be my experience, and yet it is – and I hear from other mom’s that they had similar experiences with pregnancy after their first.
In terms of my relationship with my partner, we have deepened our connection as life partners and soulmates. There is something incredibly powerful about going through the fire of parenting together. Each day is a new adventure and a new set of challenges. We love it so much that we decided to start trying for baby #2 once baby #1 hit 8 months old. While we have had to find creative and intentional ways of connecting romantically regularly, the flow of communication between us has turned up to full force and I love the new groove we share.
6. What is your number one tip for making time for intimacy and a relationship?
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Even if finances are tight, I encourage you to reach out to family and friends and set up a barter at least once a week for someone to watch your child(ren). It is incredibly easy for time to slip away in the fog of parenthood and the partnership disconnect can lead to more conflict and less connection. Put it on your calendar for a time when works best for the both of you and honor that time for intimacy.
7. What was one thing about pregnancy sex that you loved? What was one thing about pregnancy sex that was challenging for you?
I have always been pansexual and have been involved in open relationships for many years. When I became pregnant I was amazed at how my desires really became centered around female-bodied and female-identified people. This led to more exploration with wonderful, adventurous female-presenting humans. I can easily say that breasts and vaginas have never been as yummy as when I was pregnant. I still think of those times fondly when I need some fantasy material.
One thing that challenged me was my ever-changing libido. Some moments I wanted to fuck everything, and other moments I was repulsed by the thought of touch. Thank goodness for compassionate, patient, communicative partners who listened and held space for me. Together we were able to find meaningful ways to connect no matter what my sex drive was doing.
8. Where do you find erotic and sensual inspiration now that you’re a mom?
- The places I find inspiration now are pretty much the same places I did prior to becoming a mom. I enjoy erotica and pornography from time to time (Kushiel’s Dart by Jaqueline Carey is one of my favorite sexy adventure reads!). However, my favorite thing to do is attend educational workshops on sex and intimacy. These tend to be taught by creative, passionate instructors who invest lots of time and resources into thinking and being outside of the box. These classes can be found online, at local sex shops, and at sex-positive centers. I now love giving back to the community by teaching sex and intimacy courses around the world and privately with clients.
9. What was your greatest resource post-partum for reclaiming your body and sexual self?
- My greatest resources post-partum for reclaiming my body and my sexual self included: talking with other mom’s about their experiences and ways to integrate being a mom with being in my body (e.g. baby yoga, mom & baby gymnastics, and family dances); working with sexological bodyworker and birth doula Katie Spataro (www.sacredwombservices.com); and tapping into my own processes through gentle exploration and journalling.
10. What are ways that you facilitate a body positive/sex positive environment for your child to grow/thrive/explore?
If you have not seen it yet, I encourage you to check out Amy Lang’s work at www.birdsandbeesandkids.com. She is a wonderful sex-educator for families and offers ideas on how to create a healthy body positive and sex positive environment throughout all stages of growth and development.
Things that we currently do in Aavi’s first year of life include lots of naked time as a family, co-showering, naked time for him around the house (yes, this means we are ever-prepared to clean up after him), and naming body parts as he discovers them – including, “That is your penis.” We also practice establishing boundaries for our own bodies. For example, when he was nursing and would bite me I would react by pulling him off my breast and stating, “Ouch! It hurts my body when you bite me. I feel sad and hurt.” Later when he was closer to 10 months he began pinching everything (including my labia and nipples!). I would once again have a big reaction where it was clear that I was feeling hurt, and remove him from being near my body, explaining my feelings and creating a clear cause and effect for him. It takes time, patience, and love to establish these boundaries and he catches on surprisingly quickly – especially when it is about the emotional response of sadness and pain for us versus anger and punishment.