Question: I need advice! I’m 30 years old and my husband is 35 we just had our first child 3 months ago. Neither of us had any other children so it is a first for both of us. He is a person that experienced a hard childhood with his father and does not want to be...
When my first kid was about three months old I reached my breaking point. I was downright exhausted and needed my husband, Ross, to pick up some slack. (Let me preface this by saying that Ross is a great guy. This happened during the early days of parenting when 'he just didn't get it.') One time, I remember telling him that all I cared about was stepping on some sort of exercise apparatus, improving my overall hygiene, and getting a few hours of shuteye. At the end of the day, he was no where in sight. Where's Waldo? I called him on his cell and of course he said he was on his way shortly. And what did I hear in the background? I could swear it sounded suspiciously like a combination of Golden Tee and a keg being tapped.
“Trying to figure out what will get my wife in the mood for sex is like playing Whack-A-Mole.”
—Dan, married 9 years, 2 kids
Parenting is an unbelievably exhausting business and a certain amount of complaining, even moaning, about the daily grind is understandable and probably healthy. (Maybe it's just me ... but isn't there something unnatural and Stepford Wife-ish about the mother who never has a bad word to say about her husband and children? Or maybe I'm just jealous.) But many of us moms - including me - take things a little too far and play the Martyr.
“Despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, I have not been able to answer . . . the great question that has never been answered: what does a woman want?” —Sigmund Freud
All Dr. Freud really needed to do was spend a day with a mother of two preschoolers and he would have had his answer: we want a partner, not a helper on the domestic front. We want the gender equality we were raised to expect in our marriages and our parenting. And we’d also like some validation from our husbands to go along with it.
“We had our first kid and almost overnight I felt like I went from being an equal to being the lesser partner in my marriage.” —Becky, married 8 years, 3 kids.
“Why am I the only one in the house who knows where the pacifier, diaper wipes, and sippy cups are? Where the hell has he been living for the last three years?” —Rachel, married 6 years, 2 kids.
In the course of writing about this topic, we realized women tend to keep score more than their husbands. There are two very good reasons for this:
Imagine, if you will, an entire week or even a month going by without having a conversation with your husband. Imagine a day spent together without as much as a "hello, how you doing?" from him? Or going out for a meal together and having him read a book/read his phone with scarcely a glance in your direction, as you chew your food in silence. Can you imagine how hurt and rejected you would feel?
If it has been a while (let's say weeks) since you and your husband have had sex, it's possible that he might be feeling as ignored and rejected as you would feel if he had not spoken to you for weeks.
How many times have you heard/read the advice,
“You need to make time for yourself …”
“You need to put yourself first …"
“When Mama is happy everyone is happy ..”
You have possibly even said it yourself to another tired-out mama. And, of course, it’s all good stuff, but really somewhat meaningless if you don’t know what really and truly recharges you and makes you happy.
Google “happiness and having children” and you’ll find a lot of depressing studies that seem to conclude that we have a national epidemic of miserable parents on our hands. While you may not be miserable, we have all, as parents, had those days when we want to run out the front door screaming and hitch a ride to anywhere that Barney, Dora and friends cannot go.
No doubt, you know that one of the things you are supposed to be doing for the health and well-being of your marriage is to have regular date nights with your husband. While a date night sounds like just what you and him need, how great does that date actually end up being?
Q: My husband works late and has to work a lot of weekends. I don't sleep at night because I'm on red alert that the baby is going to wake up. I don't know how much longer I can keep going at this pace - I don't even have the energy to care about my marriage. Tell me I'm not alone.
A: You are definitely not alone! What you are describing is very common once you bring a baby home! What you need is 8 hours of shut-eye. That’s the only way you can charge your battery. Now’s the time to sit down with your husband, and figure out a plan so you can sleep through the night at least once a week...