Just for You – September

secretpostHusband:  “You’re Spending Too Much Time on the Kids” 

Have you ever heard your husband say these words?  Maybe he didn’t say this exactly, but you know he has felt this way.  Here’s a question I received that I thought was worth answering in this blog post just for you:

Q:  My husband says I spend too much time focusing on the kids and not enough just hanging out with him. But I feel guilty if we go somewhere without our children. Is there a healthy balance between spending time with the kids and with my man?

A:  I remember when our firstborn Ethan came into the world.  My family doted on him so much that we began calling him names like the Dalai Lama and Prince Ali Baba as if he were royalty.  If Ethan was cold, sleepy, hungry, or wet, we would move heaven and earth to make him comfortable.  My life as a new mom revolved around an eight pound emperor.

As mothers, it’s second nature to put our kids first.  We hold babies, help toddlers get dressed, and pack lunches for our school age kids.  “Mommy, I need help!” is the recurring mantra in most homes.  Mothers will stay up late sewing costumes or baking cupcakes for a school party.  We’ll juggle our schedules in order to drive our kids to karate, soccer, piano and a play date.  Afterschool, we are homework helpers and bath time monitors.

But maybe we haven’t had a date with our husbands in months.  We rarely hold hands or talk to our spouse unless we’re comparing schedules.  And sex…well, doesn’t that change for most couples with children?  No wonder many husbands are wondering, “Where did my wife go?”

james-arlene-dateOur husbands still need our attention and affection – just as they did when we were dating.  Plus it’s healthy for our kids to see us nurture our marriages and spend time alone with daddy.  Children who see their parents talking and hanging out together feel more secure and confident about their family’s future.  You’re modeling to them every day what a strong marriage looks like.  A strong marriage is not characterized by a wife making decisions primarily based on her children’s happiness.  Instead, it has a lot to do with honoring your husband and his needs.

Thankfully, it doesn’t require huge chunks of time each day to show your husband you care.  Phew!

Maybe it means sitting on the sofa for 10 minutes after dinner each night, cuddling and talking about the day.  It only takes a few moments to steal a glance at your mate and smile, squeeze his hand, or kiss passionately.  Hold hands while you watch television and be sure to have a lock on your bedroom door for uninterrupted romance.  My husband and I have heard that couples with children who don’t schedule sex don’t have sex, so we’ve been writing romance into our calendars.

If you weave these types of behaviors into the fabric of daily life, your husband won’t feel like he’s competing with the children for your time and attention.

Don’t allow any mommy guilt to creep in when you arrange to have a family member or babysitter over to watch the kids for a few hours.  Or even for a weekend away if you have someone trustworthy to be with your kids.

You will have plenty of opportunities to spend special moments with your kids.  Birthday parties, ice cream dates, baseball games, trips to the zoo…the list is long and for that, be grateful.  Being a parent is an amazing privilege.  But so is being a wife.  Make sure your list includes hanging out with the man in your life!

Arlene Pellicane