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.