Is it possible to have romance and kids?

Is it the Mum’s responsibility to keep the romance alive?

Is it possible to have romance and kids?I was asked to pop onto the breakfast show for Heart Wiltshire the other week by the lovely Molly (check out what I said here on her blog)

She guessed I might have strong feelings about husbands complaining that they don’t get any attention any more and that the romance has gone out of their marriage!

And I do!

It’s not that I don’t think that Dads are as important as kids.

It’s not that I don’t think that they deserve to feel loved and get attention and sex.

But I can’t bear all the theories about how the wife should make an effort to make sure he doesn’t feel left out, poor thing.  Seriously!!

In the majority of homes the Mum will be juggling a pile of stuff, and has very little left to worry about romance.  It’s not that she doesn’t want it, it’s just that she’s concentrating on what has to be done, and that is taking up all her time, energy and brain space.

The Dad is a grown up, he can look after himself, manage his emotions and do a pile of stuff the kids can’t (or he should be able to, and can certainly learn to).

And there is NOTHING MORE OFF PUTTING than a bloke adding to the pressure of being a Mum, by whining about not getting any attention or romance.

 

You are probably quite right that your wife has put the kids first.  It’s called nature; our hormones give us little choice, and even if they did, practically speaking the kids need us and you are a grown up.

The question is can you man up to the task?

 

1) Make the effort to add a bit of romance in yourself.

Can you take over dinner time, tidy the kitchen and put the kids in the bath while giving your wife an hour to relax once in a while?  Put a film on that she’ll enjoy, make some pop corn, get a bottle of wine out and cuddle up to her on the sofa.

Talk to your parents or get a baby sitter and find somewhere that she would like to go.  If the kids are too young for you to go out at night, go out for coffee or a romantic picnic.

DON’T add extra pressure by pushing her to leave the kids for longer than she wants to.  It’s meant to be fun for her remember!

 

2) Find the romance that is there and make the most of it.

Philosophically speaking nothing goes away totally, it just changes.  You just aren’t looking for the romance in the right places.

Romance is about warmth, closeness, intimacy and fun.  Try to ignore the kids and they’ll kick off.  But create family romance by including them and you can still have it.  Picnics, walks in a forest, sand castles on the beach, family film time; all of those have that lovely romantic feeling to them.

Don’t ignore the kids wanting to give you hugs when you leave or at bedtime.  Have fun with it.  Have family hugs, instead of 1to1 hugs with your wife.

Bear in mind, if the kids are her number one priority, then the way to get up to number 1.5 is to go with it, rather than against it!  (Hint: this is how you get more sex with your wife).

 

3) Be Patient

Remember that this will pass, the kids will get older and she’ll have a chance to breathe, and come back to you.  Make sure you’re worth coming back to!

Don’t fall for that ‘My wife doesn’t understand me’ way of thinking and find some other woman to have an affair with; she’s just looking at you as someone who has already proved they can commit, and will do exactly the same thing to you eventually.

Get an interest that you can be passionate about during the few years the kids are little.

Get interested in the kids!

 

What do you reckon?  Am I too harsh?

Have you managed to keep the romance alive despite the kids?  Does your other half complain?  Did you come out the other side and manage to rekindle the love or did you find it was wrecked by the stress?

BTW I’ve written lots about sex and being parents, if you liked this post, you might want to read some more.

 

12 comments

  1. This is a very interesting post. You raise some very interesting issues. I agree that the Dad plays an important role in keeping romance alive – but surely it is both partners’ responsibility? It takes 2 to tango and all that.
    One of the best tips we were ever given was to set up a regular date night with your husband/ wife – when your time together is sacred – it is a difficult thing to do but when you carve that time out it really pays dividends.
    Thanks for raising this though.

  2. I feel better just seeing someone put all this in writing. Yes, I am juggling so much I have no energy for romance. But it’s good you pointed out that it’s temporary. When the kids are older perhaps I’ll have more energy for romance!

    1. I know that being a Mum doesn’t get easier as they get older NarrowboatWife (as my friends regularly let me know!), but psychologically speaking there must be a difference when the kids get older. That energetic string that attaches us to the kids, stretches a lot further as they grow older and we let them go more – so I’m sure there will be more time, space and thought left in us for romance!
      Thank you for your comment!

  3. I am nodding away in agreement here! My husband and I recently celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary and with a new baby, the term ‘celebrate’ is being used loosely here! I think he understands that this is temporary and that we will get back on track when they are older. Until then, we have to work a little harder at getting ‘us’ time but we’re getting there!

    1. @Susanne, yep, check out my pictures of new years eve camping with the kids, celebrating at afghanistan time (8pm)! There might be less ‘us’ time, but not for long (well not forever!). So glad your hubby is understanding – he gets a gold star from me!

  4. Hmm I can’t complain my OH doesn’t try – last night while we were watching a film and I was trying to order the kids some clothes online on an ipad – frustrating enough in itself, he started stroking my legs saying my skin was as soft as the hamster we were looking after. You can take a guess as to whether this led anywhere romantic!

  5. Totally right – a marriage takes two to make it work and it is never just one party that is at ‘fault’ – the greatest romantic turn on is a man who does his share of the chores without being nagged and might even do a bit extra!

    1. Funny how we get turned on by such different things now heh @MuddlingAlong! No wonder loads of mums think Mr Tumble is sexy!

  6. Thank you for being brave enough to reply Dad Etc!

    Looking at your blog I notice that your children are a bit older than mine – I can imagine that as the children ‘need’ a Mum less (which practically they must do as they are capable of going to school and leaving her for much longer) she will have more space for other priorities. But think back to when they were much younger – are you sure you would say the same thing then?

    It’s not that the wife doesn’t want any romance, it’s just that she literally wont have any energy left for creating it – doesn’t mean she won’t respond though when the husband steps up. Maybe I’m being very sexist in suggesting that the wife is the one with less energy when the kids are younger, and all families are different of course, but I do know a LOT of wives who are exhausted and have to deal with whiney husbands too, which just doesn’t help.

  7. I totally get where you are coming from with this post. I have baby twins and a 3 year old too and it’s tough, real tough. However, me and the OH have found something that works for us. Not only do we share the house-hold chores equally, but we also find something that we can do together ever other evening – something that we both love and have in common. The other days, we either do our own thing, or maybe watch a movie/catch up on a TV series. It gives us space when we need it, but also means we can enjoy each others company, without having to necessarily plan. Doing things like this, means we both get what we want and or need out of each other, without stepping on each others toes and certainly helps in the bedroom department!

    1. That sounds great @lilandrael and well done for making a plan that works so well for you both, that’s brilliant and often half the battle!

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