“He does not pay attention to me anymore!”
Three years into their marriage Amy from Omaha Nebraska thinks that her husband does not pay much attention to her. They have two small kids.
She is asking what can be done to revive the flame between the two?
1. Dedicate some time to your relationship
Small children are time and energy consuming. And you may not have had time to do much of anything else since the birth of your first child.
Your husband may have felt left out, and you were so absorbed by your motherhood that you did not realize how much space you left for him in your life.
New mothers are all anxious to do things right with their babies: they dedicate their full energy in the process, and often forget about themselves and their partner. Wrongly they perceive the father as rather incompetent, leaving little room for him to improve and provide a precious help.
As a result men start putting their energy elsewhere, where they will feel valued and appreciated.
Most of the time this happens unconsciously, and it takes obvious symptoms for the couple to realize that they have slowly drifted away from each other.
To avoid that from happening, it takes a strong family support that is a welcome assistance to the mother, and/or a strong father figure that establishes boundaries, and imposes himself to his wife in the parenting duties. This type of father offers the opportunity for his wife to reconnect with her woman-self.
It is time to take some time off from your children, so you and your husband can reconnect at a couple level.
Here are a couple ways that this can be done:
- Ask your family to take the children for a full week-end.
- Plan a getaway or stay home just the two of you. Make sure that the week-end’s focus is only on your couple though.
If you have no friends or family who would graciously keep your children, book a reliable babysitter who will look after them in your home. This option is more costly because you have to leave as well. But it is much easier to connect with your partner when you are outside of your usual environment. Your Todos won’t catch up with you during that special time with him.
2. Pay attention to yourself
Mothers are so overwhelmed today that it is easy for them to take the road where they neglect the way they look.
I remember when I had my first child: I was so incompetent that I could not get dressed at all the first week, and I could barely feed myself. I was in tears most of the day completely overwhelmed by the mothering, breastfeeding, and changing and bathing baby process. I was also exhausted from the interrupted nights, and my husband came last in my priorities. I felt on duty 24/7 because I was breastfeeding, and my husband could bring very little relief, or so I thought.
My three children had difficult beginnings with digestive issues that were bothering them. Two had to go through surgery at some point to address their own issue.
For my second child, the second week, my husband decided to hire a night nurse to take care of my baby at night. I pumped my milk during the day and she would bottle-feed her at night. We had five nights of this, and it changed the whole dynamic. My baby had a bad reflux so she was only quiet when she was in a vertical position. I would keep her in the baby carrier all day. Not once I could put her down for more than ten minutes.
The five uninterrupted nights appeared like a blessing. I could relax and rest, and I was immensely grateful to my husband. I realized two things then:
- I could have help, and it was not the end of the world.
- My husband knew better than me what I needed exactly then, so he was no that incompetent.
My baby got calmer with a reduced inflammation, because the nurse suggested that I might not have enough milk. As a result, the baby needed to eat more often triggering more gastric fluids. From then, I supplemented her with goat milk to prevent allergies, and I continued to breastfeed her for four months.
My husband would not have invested in these five costly nights, our life would have completely been upside down. Between my two year old who was up ready to go at 7am every morning, and the exhaustion from interrupted nights, I would have been a wreck within a few months.
I was forgetting the very important principle that if I, the mother, do not feel well and happy, nobody in my family will feel well and happy.
Taking care of yourself is not a selfish move, it is the necessary step to make your family happy.
3. Pay attention to him
He may not have expressed any discomfort. If you feel some kind of withdrawal, he certainly has felt uncomfortable at some point.
It may be the time to ask what he thinks and feels in a very open way. Choose a time when you are not tired to do so. A getaway is the perfect opportunity to constructively straighten things out.
According to what he tells you, you will be able to adjust your behavior to address this situation.
You will find great benefits in acknowledging your husband’s opinion, because he has a perspective that no new mother has.
Hope this helps!