Los Angeles, CA—Romance. In the beginning, it’s about candlelight dinners, walks on the beach, holding hands, flowers, and talking until dawn—you know, the stereotypical ingredients of what happens when two people fall in love. Now, fast forward five or ten years. Mystery and romance are hard to find among the daily chores. Life becomes about organization, not spontaneity. You divvy up who does what and when: dishes, cooking, shopping, kids, etc.
For many women, it’s shocking (and a little scary) to realize that these days, your romantic fantasy is less about knights in shining armor and more about your husband wearing an apron as he finishes washing the dishes, after having cooked a full meal and tucked the children in bed. Where did the magic go? you think. And is there any way to get it back? The answer is yes—but that magic might look different from what you’re expecting.
“In the beginning of a relationship, romance often does take the form of getaways, special dinners, and stolen kisses,” acknowledges Princess Ivana Pignatelli Aragona Cortes, who is a featured blogger at Modern Mom, founder of Princess Ivana—The Modern Princess, and coauthor of the upcoming book A Simple Guide to Pregnancy & Baby’s First Year. “But over time, my marriage has matured and my family has grown—I’m sure you can relate! These days, rather than receiving a box of chocolates, romance for me is an action that says I’ve been thinking of you—desiring you.”
Ivana maintains that romance is important to women throughout their lives. It lets them know that their partners desire them, value them, and cherish them. But over time, she acknowledges, the “look” of romance can and does change. NOTE TO EDITOR: See attached tipsheet for four reasons why romance is important to women—and their partners.
“The challenge of domestic life is keeping the magic alive,” Ivana points out. “Especially after kids enter the picture, illusions wear down and you focus more on the nitty-gritty details of everyday life. In the midst of this, how do you, as a friend of mine put it, ‘never stop wooing’? To me, that means never taking your partner for granted.”
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that romance has to be, look, and feel a certain way. It doesn’t have to take hours or cost a lot of money. Instead, it’s about paying attention to the details that matter to your partner, and keying into what the other person finds special and surprising.
Here, from a woman’s perspective, are some of Ivana’s examples of what “romancing the mom” might look like:
• Instead of planning a big, fancy dinner at a trendy restaurant, wait until the kids are in bed, then light a candle and pour both of us a glass of wine.
• Instead of sprinkling rose petals on the bed and, well…you know…a foot rub or a slow dance in the living room will do.
• Instead of bringing me flowers, ask our kids to draw me a picture of a beautiful bouquet.
• Instead of planning a weekend away, call me at lunchtime and say, “Pick up Subway and meet me at the park—we’re having a picnic.”
• Instead of buying me expensive lingerie, call me in the middle of the day and ask me what I’m wearing—even if you know it’s yoga pants and a T-shirt.
“These are just a few examples of what a busy mom might be craving from her partner, and of course, romance in action will look different from couple to couple,” Ivana concludes. “The important thing to remember is that creativity, thoughtfulness, and love outweigh time, money, and over-the-top effort every time when it comes to keeping the magic alive in the midst of everyday life.”
Why Wooing Women Works:
Four Reasons That Men—and Their Partners—Will Love
Addressed to men everywhere, here are insights from Princess Ivana Pignatelli Aragona Cortes, featured blogger at Modern Mom, founder of Princess Ivana—The Modern Princess, and coauthor of the upcoming book A Simple Guide to Pregnancy & Baby’s First Year.
I feel for you guys—the pressure is on! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and as you’re no doubt aware, men (much more than women, generally) are expected to up the ante and become Valentine Heroes with gifts and romantic gestures that will send their women over the moon. Most guys don’t know where to begin. My advice? Relax. It’s not as hard or as expensive as you think to please your woman.
Romance is not about love songs, chocolates, or roses. It’s simply taking the time to say (and show), I’ve been thinking about you. You matter to me. I am happy you’re in my life.
I know, I know—guys tend to get anxious when they hear talk like this, but hear me out: Forget being a superhero. Be yourself. She married you, not the other guy. Keep that in mind, and read on for four reasons why wooing your woman really works:
It reminds women of who they are outside of motherhood. As a mother, much of a woman’s identity is defined by the daily chores of raising a family—especially if her children are very young. Priorities are geared toward meeting the needs of others, so much so that moms can lose touch with themselves…and that includes feeling feminine and sexy. Mothers get used to forgoing their own needs in the name of getting things done: five-minute showers, slapping on mascara at a stoplight during carpool, putting up with clothes that are stained with peanut butter and jelly smears. A pedicure? What’s that? Many moms can’t even remember anymore, it’s been so long. And that’s where romance comes in: It brings a woman back to herself and reminds her that she is a woman first. When you make her feel loved, it will energize both of you, and that leads to…
It brings sexy back. Once you’ve been with someone for a long time, particularly after you’ve lived together and had children together, there is very little left that the two of you don’t know about each other. Your conversation starters all have to do with pre-school enrollment, the leaky bathroom faucet, or getting your taxes done. Any mystique that once existed is gone. (After all, what excitement and mystery is left after your partner has seen you give birth, and intimacy includes washing dirty underwear?) Do you want to bring excitement and mystery back? Then get playful. Be surprising. Call your wife in the middle of the day from work or text her a sexy love note. And if you’re too uncomfortable with a sexy note but still want to rev up her inner sex kitten, try something simple like, “I can’t wait to see you tonight.”
It gives the gift of guilt-free indulgence. Women have a tendency to give up the more frivolous or luxurious things they once enjoyed because they are busy putting the needs of their family, job, and household first. And really, who has time to light a fire when you’re spending all of your time putting them out? However, being romanced will give your woman the opportunity to enjoy things like pedicures, nice dinners out, massages, and more without feeling guilty. There’s nothing more romantic than a gift that shows this kind of thoughtfulness. It’s a way of saying, “I know you take care of all of us, so let me take care of YOU.”
It’s fun! Parents need playtime too. With all the responsibilities that have to be taken care of on a day-to-day basis, there’s usually little to no time left to schedule in some good old-fashioned fun that isn’t centered around your kids. Whether it’s a night out on the town or fifteen minutes in a bubble bath, romance allows both partners the chance to relax and escape for a time—and enjoythemselves. It brings back that giddy, excited feeling (for those of us who have forgotten what having fun feels like) that boosts your mood and makes you feel like a kid again.
About Princess Ivana:
Ivana is the author of the upcoming book A Simple Guide to Pregnancy & Baby’s First Year, which was cowritten with her mother, Magdalene Smith, and her sister, Marisa Smith. Their blog,Princess Ivana—The Modern Princess, is a blend of humor, practical advice, and lifestyle tips on the essentials. Ivana is also a featured blogger on Modern Mom.
While she’s a modern-day princess, she comes from modest means and met her Italian Prince Charming (if you’re curious, he’s Adriano Pignatelli Aragona Cortes, Prince of the Holy Roman Empire) while on scholarship at Pepperdine. She didn’t wait for his kiss to save her, though—using her master’s degree in education, she forged a career of her own as a digital strategy consultant.
Ivana and her husband have two fabulous kids (ages three years and twenty months) who are the latest additions to a 1,000-year lineage that includes kings of Sicily and Spain, Catherine of Aragon, a pope, and a saint. Ivana is wild about kids and motherhood. For the past twenty years, she has worked with children, from designing learning toys to tutoring homeless kids.
Ivana’s Super Mom juggling act between life, love, kids, and career inspired her new book. She believes that life is more about attitude than money, and her goal is to help mothers live well on any budget. Consider her “Dear Abby” with a tiara and a baby sling!
For more information, please visit www.princessivana.com.