What About My Partner?
You can see him eying you across the room. He walks up behind you and puts his arms around your waist. You turn around to give him a kiss, then push him away. Your heart wants him to stay close, but your mind is thinking about a million other things. This is not the right place or time to be intimate.
Ladies, this is not your average forbidden love story. This is the story of you as a mother with children to care for and a partner who feels left out.
With spit up all over your shirt, children running around screaming, and a house to clean up, it is difficult to find time to spend with your partner and even more difficult to feel sexy and in the mood to be intimate.
He used to be all you thought about. His needs were the most important. You made sure he ate when he was hangry, you comforted him when he had a bad day, and he was always sexually satisfied… so were you! But now the days of constantly spending time with one another, going out, and rolling around in the sheets are over, and there are bigger priorities… little mouths to feed and love. You still love and care for him, but his needs are not at the top of your list.
“He’s fine.” You tell yourself, “He can take care of himself.” But you can’t help but feel guilty. He’s not saying it, but you can tell he feels neglected.
Multiple studies reveal that just like women, men experience mental health issues such as anxiety and depression due to the significant life changes associated with being a parent. Unfortunately, there is a lack of mental health support and resources available to new fathers in comparison to their female counterparts. This lack of support can make men feel guilty for having emotional needs due to the fact that they know their partners are going through so much.
The reality is, Mamas, you are going through ALOT! But so are your partners. Here are some ways for you to provide them with the support they need and deserve:
VALIDATE, VALIDATE, VALIDATE
Acknowledge his fears and struggles and provide him with positive feedback. Make sure he knows that he is a GOOD FATHER!
MAKE HIM FEEL INCLUDED
It’s great to have mom time, but it is also important to have dad and family time. Try to attend events, appointments and services that include fathers as well.
HELP HIM BOND WITH YOUR KIDS
It is often a mother’s instinct to constantly be the nurturer, but give him the opportunity to nurture as well. If he’s available, let him rock the baby when she’s crying, change the baby’s diaper, feed the kids dinner, sing them lullabies and read good night stories. If you are pregnant, encourage him to read and sing to the baby as well.
Just like it is important for you to make time for self-care, it is for him as well. Maybe the two of you could even get a couple’s massage. Which leads me to my next point…
SPEND TIME WITH ONE ANOTHER (WITHOUT THE KIDS!)
I know this may sound impossible, but there are still ways for you to keep your love life alive. Try to set some time aside for the two of you to connect without having to worry about paying attention to your little ones. There are plenty of qualified babysitters, nannies and day cares, and maybe even grandparents, that would be happy to watch your kids while you sneak away for some alone time.
Remember ladies, parenthood is both amazing and emotionally taxing for both parties involved. When it goes from just being the two of you, to three, four, five, six… of you, there is no question that the dynamic of your relationship will change. However, it is still important to find time to show support and love for one another. After all, it was that love and support that made you parents in the first place!