10 Rules for Baby-Proofing Your Marriage
The house is one thing, but your marriage may need baby-proofing, too.
10 Rules for Baby-proofing Your Marriage continued...
No. 3: Understand the Great Mom and Dad Divide. "Men and women
react to parenting differently," Stone explains. "Men go into provider
panic and women get extremely focused on the baby. Women zero in on the child
and it consumes them to a degree that they never expected, and men are
surprised by that and think, 'Hey, where did my wife go?'"
Haltzman adds that "when a new baby arrives, moms are more anxious and
fathers and husbands tend to feel increasingly helpless that there is nothing
they can do to make their wives feel better."
No. 4: Avoid the 10 p.m. shoulder tap trap. Sex matters, it's that
simple. "A man's sex drive not changing after having a baby is normal; but
a woman's changing is also normal," Stone explains. "Sex is the glue
that keeps relationships together." So both weary mom and harried dad need
to find time for it. But many women report that their husbands merely give them
a 10 p.m. shoulder tap when they crave sex. "Women told us that romance
evaporated after the kids were born; but the 10 p.m. shoulder tap doesn't
work," Stone says. "Men need to still pay attention to the finer
Springing for a babysitter and a regular "date night" would give
both parents some time to relax and enjoy each other's company again without
distracting baby duties. Or try a "dad on duty" night, with
father taking over the diaper changing, cooking, and cleanup while mom relaxes
with a book or a long bath. The payoff could be a rested and ready partner. And
there's no reason you can't add a bouquet of grocery store flowers, wine, and
candles to a dinner eaten while baby naps.
No. 5: Don't play midnight chicken. Nobody wins in midnight chicken.
According to the book, midnight chicken is "a battle of the wills where
each parent pretends to be asleep and blissfully unaware of the screaming down
the hall in the hopes that the other parent will get up and tend to the crying
baby." Instead of playing chicken, Stone says, "split up the night
somehow so that both partners can get a solid chunk of sleep."