Relationship with spouse after baby

Becky - posted on 08/08/2010 ( 30 moms have responded )

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My husband and I have been married for 5 years and dated for 4 before we were married. Just after our daughter was born a year ago we began having some problems. I am so wrapped up in everything that she is doing as well as the household duties and work that I don't pay as much attention to him or our relationship as I used to. I know that he and our relationship are just as important as our daughter, but in my eyes she needs more of the attention right now. I know that we are both to blame in this and that we both could try harder. I am looking for suggestions about how to get our marriage back on track.

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Britton - posted on 08/08/2010

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The same thing started happening in my marriage. To make it work for us we scheduled a date night twice a month without our son. That helped so much. You would be surprised. We also see a marriage counselor. That helps with communication and keeps you on track. And little gifts here and there can help too. Nothing big or anything, just something to show that you appreciate each other.

Elizabeth - posted on 08/20/2010

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It depends. The original poster asked for ways she could improve things. She stated they were both at fault. Her husband didn't come here for advice. And Cindy, if you are working outside the home, you are doing so for your husband's benefit too, if he's eating and enjoying the money you bring in. BOTH working parents and stay at home parents compliment one another. You said so yourself, you need to take more time for you. And I bet, if you talked to your husband about it, he would give you time. My husband and I switch off, naturally.

We were together 2 years and married for 5 before baby came along. Albeit, we had practice because I have a 10 year old stepson.

But a sense of entitlement on either side doesn't belong in a marriage. To belittle men, especially good men working to support their families, as the only selfish creatures in a marriage is wrong. There is nothing wrong with catering to your spouse. You can't equate a spouse to a jealous sibling or child. They are a grown adult. There is nothing wrong with my spouse catering to me. It's how you show love and intimacy without always needing it to be sex.

But if you ladies would read the OP, she identifies herself as being too wrapped up in her daughter, of knowing she isn't giving attention to her husband or their relationship.

Money and kids, those are the two major roads to divorce. It isn't easy to keep a marriage going, let alone one with kids. But I firmly believe, the first thing that has to be checked at the door is ego. If your spouse truly loves you, it won't be a problem.

[deleted account]

Perhaps, just perhaps, if it was really about both your needs and the desire to be together it would be fine. But the key words that bother me is that the man feels neglected and ignored. Neglected? Are they children? If it was really about spending quality time together where you both get something out of it and not taking care of the big baby instead I wouldn't be so angry. However, I feel many of you do a disservice by suggesting a woman should cater to her man like the Leave it to Beaver mama or something. Divorce is a horrible thing, but it isn't better to stay with a man that makes you feel like you need to be everything to everyone all the time while meanwhile not doing anything in return. What about their contribution? It is all about sacrificing your childs time to make time for daddy. Any man that thinks you should be making all the sacrifices isn't worth staying with. What kind of example are you setting for your children? Certainly not that marriage takes work, because it does. Instead, it sounds like you are teaching them that marriage takes work, women's work. So your sons will treat their wives accordingly and your daughters will be subordinate.

Danielle - posted on 08/12/2010

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Take it from me, a daughter of divorce, the very best thing you can do for your children is to have a healthy relationship with your husband. Children need the stability of your marriage to be their rock in life. Don't forget 5 or 10 years down the road when you think of what is important for your daughter and what she NEEDS from you as her parent!

Elizabeth - posted on 08/20/2010

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It's not about catering to just our husbands. Our society has warped child rearing into turning Mom into a 100% slave to baby. You can't let your kid cry. You must respond to every single request or desire, or they will think you don't love them, or they can't count you.

Marriage is hard. If you are the stay at home Mom, then yes, you need to step up do that job. You might like the book/online forums at Happyhousewivesclub.com

We expect our men to cater to us: to keep a steady job even if they hate it, to give us time off when we need it, well what about him? You think when he's at work that's time off for him because he isn't with teh kids? Wrong. Both parents need time together and time to unwind.

And if you are really working all day long as a stay at home Mom, then you are doing it wrong. Take time for yourself when baby is sleeping, or heaven forbid, put on a television show for 30 minutes so you can get in a work out or check your email, or read a book and drink a cup of tea. If you don't build breaks into your day, that's just silly. It's not about whether or not a stay at home mom works her butt off, it's all about the perceived freedom. We do have flexibility in our schedule. We can make the laundry wait a day, or the bathrooms or whatever. I take Tuesdays and Thursdays off from housework (except living room and kitchen) to make up for my "overtime" on weekends.

But if your husband is saying he feels neglected, that's a big red flag. Not saying husband can't help with baby, I'm assuming he already does. My husband helps with our daughter and son all the time. The other night while I was grocery shopping, he cleaned the kitchen. So do I cater to his every need? As much as I can, absolutely. And guess what? He does the same in return.

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Gabriela - posted on 08/28/2010

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I love my little boy very intensively and I love my husband more than anything else. Our little son will grow and will need me less over the years. He will once go his own way. At the time this happens, I hope that my husband and I are still together and still have a good marriage in harmony. It is easily said, but had work. Every relationship (also the one with your best friend) needs caring like a plant. If you don't water a plant, it will dry. My husband and I had several discussions about the time we spend together since we have a baby. The discussion is not about the baby or that it needs our love and our caring - this is obvious for both of us. It is all about the two of us and our quality time together (if this is an evening out, watching TV, have dinner together, having sex or just talking to each other). In my opinion it is very important to have 'time windows' just the two of us. It is not only about quantity, but also quality! However, this is not completely new to us, we had to work on our relationship/marriage before we had our baby. It is only that we need to even work harder on it since Raphael is here. But we both know that Raphael is the result of our love!

Sophie - posted on 08/23/2010

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i have to say me and my husband werent like that after our son was born, because we needed to be happy and have a partnership to bring our child up, when it goes a bit sour, we go out just the 2 of us, buy each other presents but i think the best thing is having our son in a routine so he goes bed at 7 and then we have time together to talk and cuddle

Dawn - posted on 08/22/2010

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Has he said to you that he needs more of your attention? Have you considered a date night for just the two of you? I agree that your daughters needs are alittle higher on the list, because she can not do for herself right now, but I believe also that your hubbins is equally as important. He deserves your attention aswell. that is why setting aside a time and date just for the two of you is VERY importonta~!!

Samantha - posted on 08/20/2010

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Liz, that is your opinion and we all need to respect that. My situation with my husband was very similar, to Becky's and according to my experience, I can tell you men will take advantage of you. Regardless of the fact that they r men, simply b/c they r the human being thats around us the most. If you accomodate ur husbands EVERY need, he's gonna become too dependent on you; just like baby! I barely have to deal with my daughter, shes home and I get to carry her whenever she actually feels like it, so I am NOT after her 24/7 nor have to give her my undivided attention. Is my child more important than my husband? ABSOLUTLY YES! That doesnt mean Im gonna raise another kid, whose mom already did the job. Plus, Becky's situation in particular they have been together 9 yrs all together...dont u think we should face this situation w/ a jealous sibling? And not ur partner who should be as exited as u r that u have a baby together?

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Elizabeth, It sounds like you have a healthy relationship. But keep a steady job is catering to us? Ummm. no. The roles could easily be reversed. I'm a working mother and my son's dad stays with him right now and I don't feel that my working even though I'd rather be staying at home is catering to anyone. It is just a necessity because I had the better benefits package. And when I get home I want to spend time with my son. There is no break time for mom usually. But men get a break. I love my honey, but when I get home and spend time with my child it is he that gets to relax, play a video game for a few minutes, take a walk. Rarely is it me and that is partially my fault because I want to catch up with my son, but I see it with stay at homes all the time. The husband gets home from work and kicks back and when the kids want something it is honey can you do this, I've had a rough day? Bah. And when you do ask for time for yourself after their long day they act inconvenienced but if you were to act that way you would be acting inconsiderate. And the thing is they don't realize they do this because Society teaches these roles AND you both are tired so it is easy to be aggravated. And yes, I do love my significant other but this has been the topic of disagreement most often. :)

Samantha - posted on 08/20/2010

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CINDY SIMPSON u r the BOMB! every little thing u have to say i absolutly agree with! i thought the "im a cater to you" era was long gone. and its not just u girls, many of us are taught this growing up b/c thats how our moms were cuz dad was the bread winner. but ummm, hell no! if i was to get paid for cleaning this place, doing his laundry, cooking and watchin our kid i would have Obama's salary! we work as hard even if we dont "work" and on top when they get home we gotta sit there and watch for their needs!? get outta here!

[deleted account]

And I'm not speaking specifically to anyone, but to an overall opinion I feel that women and men have that the woman must do everything to keep a family together and nothing is expected of men. Sorry I wanted to add this before someone jumped my case assuming I was talking specifically to them.

Samantha - posted on 08/20/2010

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I absolutely agree, if ur husband does not cope with the fact that its not just u 2 anymore, than HE has a serious problem. You need time as well, a break from baby and him. He cant sit there and act like baby is all your responsability! Make him help u when he comes home from work! Then u wont be as tired and will actually have time to be with him! I tell u I know sum women simply want to lick there hubbys butt, but thats not how I think. In my case I stay home and my hubby works, and I cook and have everything nice and clean when he gets here, but he knows i need a break! So he watches the baby so I can take a loooong warm bath or go to the store, or simply sit outside. Its true that men are just babys stuck in a mans body, but that only shows if u actually allow it to.

Bridget - posted on 08/18/2010

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Date night! Time away from the baby and the house, and it just be you two. That way the two things that are keeping you apart are no longer the issue. It can be cheap and easy as long as you two focus on each other.

Elizabeth - posted on 08/18/2010

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Men don't necessarily need sex more than women. Talk to him and find out what top three things bug him the most. And vice versa. See if you two can compromise on those issues.
You need to reclaim you wife status, or it will go right out the window and you will have single mom status (not fun). My Dad used to always tell me and my sisters "Remember, she is your Mom, but she was my Wife first."

Other ideas:
Sex during nap time on the weekends.
Going for walks as a family.
Positive attitude when your husband takes care of baby, even if he does it "wrong" or not as fast/efficient as you can.
Taking 5 minutes to positively talk and stroke one another before bedtime (this usually leads to sex ;) )
Take some time to make yourself feel good, either some new clothing (talk to him about budget) etc.
Step up and try to get your pre-pregnancy body back, or a figure that's even better (You can do it, many of us have!)

Good luck and hang in there. Our children are important, but divorce is devastating. Far more devastating than crying for 5 minutes, or waiting a minute or two for Mommy's attention. They are learning from us all day and all night. Whatever behaviors you entertain right now is how they will continue to act.

Janessa - posted on 08/17/2010

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I know this is a hard thing for a mother to remember, but your relationship should come first. If it does, your baby will always be happy. Your husband loves your baby too, he isn't going to let you neglect her. You need to have time alone with him, whenever that may be. Whatever works, but do it. Parenting is much more difficult alone. You need both. For us, we never had our kids no matter how small in the same bed with us. As soon as they got to the point where us talking or doing anything would wake them up, we even moved them out of our room. In fact the only reason why they were ever in our room was so they wouldn't wake up our other kids when they were waking up a lot. We have a date night every week. Even if that just means putting the kids to bed and snuggling up and watching a movie together. Intimacy is hard, especially after having a baby. Especially for the woman. Make it a priority because it is. Hopefully your husband adds a little foreplay and romance to that to get you in the mood. Men honestly probably need sex more than women, but it is a need. It really is. Of course they need to be respectful of you too, but both should be giving and receiving. Sacrifice should probably play into it on both parts. Sleep might need to be sacrificed a little. Remember your husband is tired too. It says something that he wants to be with you. These are just things that I have had to remember. It is hard for a mother to remember. It is. Hope that helps.

[deleted account]

It concerns me that it sounds like many people are married to men that act as needy as children. You aren't giving them as much attention as before? They should be so in love with the fact they found loving wonderful women to be the mother of their children and worry less about how much attention you are giving them. I think men do this game because women have been taught to neglect themselves for their families for so long we actually believe we should drop our own needs all the time and even put our child aside to feed their little egos. :)

Sarah - posted on 08/17/2010

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Date night! or even just some quiet time together during naps. If you are a member at a local Y, many of them have a special programming on Friday or Sat nights so the parents can bring the kids and it is like a party for the kids (pizza, games and play) and the parents get 3 or 4 hours to do whatever they want. Also still surprise each other like you used to, pick up a card for your husband that says I love you, or thank you out of the blue and then just leave it as a surprise somewhere where you know he will find it.
And don't forget to flirt with him when you are together. A little touch or kiss when the toddler is not looking is always a little fun. Family walks are great too, you push the little ones and have time to talk while talking, exercising too!

Krystle - posted on 08/15/2010

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I totally understand! I also think it's true though, your daugher does need more attention at this moment.



Everything goes in waves; ebb and flow. Right now, you are both devoting more time to the baby than each other and your relationship is a little strained. It's normal.



For me, I found when my baby became a year and a little more independent (and slept better at night! lol) I was able to start devoting more time to the marriage.



Personally, I don't like doing "date nights", I don't feel comfortable leaving baby, so instead we just try to find time for hugs, kisses, and cuddles. Positive, frequent touches (I don't just mean sex! Haha) helps to keep us feeling "bonded".

Your - posted on 08/11/2010

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I’m sorry but the love that you receive from your kids is in other level and I think even superior that a husband... I know that a lot of you guys will not like what I just said but I’m just being very honest...if they can not deal with it... then some thing is wrong with them not us....

Shellini - posted on 08/11/2010

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I was thinking a date night or some alone time. We also put our kids to bed at 7- 7:30 pm and then we have dinner every night with just us and no kids. It is our time to catch up and unwind for both of us. I am a SAHM so the quiet time is very important. You have to find the balance I feel and that is what I do and it helps me. Maybe you can try dinners together when she goes to bed. Cuddle up and have a movie night.. massage night.. :-) Hope that helps mama. Sometimes, no matter what, there are just days where you are just damn tired.. That is OK!!!

Danielle - posted on 08/11/2010

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Before a baby relationship time is sort of effortless but after our baby we have had to work to make sure we get both alone time and all together time.

Are you sure you cant offload or share some of the houshold duties and caring for your child with your husband? If he knew that giving your 15 minutes of peace by giving your daughter a bath would make you ready to give him attention, most guys would jump at the chance :)
Other than what people have already said about scheduling date nights, spending all together family time on a regular basis and sometimes letting housework or your daughter take a back seat to your relationship ...

Try to meet him out for lunch once in a while. (or whatever time of day you are both usually at work).

Have an "after she is in bed" date instead of both going off and doing your own thing.

Bathobile - posted on 08/11/2010

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I was like that as well and it even get to the point that I didn't want him to touch me. I worked on my feelings and we communicate a lot now things are back to normal we spend time together and love each other more. After the birth of the baby a mother need time to adjust to the change and as time goes by you will get your grove back.

Ava - posted on 08/10/2010

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You have to pry yourself away from that 'she needs more attention right now'. What's healthier for her is you and him having a healthy relationship. Twice a week, have somebody else watch her and go do something together. Maybe one night stay in, the other go out together. Three times a week, make a plan to have 'family time', meaning all three of you sharing equal attention (we would put on a cartoon movie with our daughter, for instance, so she'd be interested too, and share popcorn). And when you AREN'T having exclusive time, LITTLE things make all the difference. Swiping his hand gently, bumping up against him, wearing something a little sexy while you clean the house, putting your hair up. He will catch on eventually, just *do your part*. If you're trying your hardest and it still doesn't work, then he isn't trying hard enough and that can turn into a black and white issue when you mention how much you've done/suggested.

Brenda - posted on 08/09/2010

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My husband and I went through the same problems. He was distant from me because I didn't give him attention because I was busy with the baby or just plain tired at the end of the day and I started to distance myself from him because he seemed put out by me. Horrible circle!! I started forcing myself to pay more attention to him. Your right that your daughter needs your attention but she can wait a minute. That was what I had to figure out. When my husband comes home from work I give HIM my attention. Our daughter is fine playing on floor or I might even put on a cartoon for her so I can sit and talk with my husband. Even if it is only ten minutes of my undivided attention it helps. I found that after forcing my self to do this for awhile I began to enjoy him again. And in return he began to enjoy and appreciate me again. We talk and listen to each other again. Our family is happy. Good luck and hang in there.

Melissa - posted on 08/09/2010

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I was the same exact way... I had to realize that if I didn't have him where would we be?? I would not have the time for my son or our home... so we worked thru things and now I give him much more attention then before.. maybe not as much as pre-baby but enough to make us both happy!

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