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. 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."
No. 6: Loosen the gender roles. Plan a training weekend, she says.
"This is where the husband is left to man the kid ropes on his own for a
weekend," Stone says. The dual benefits? "He learns a new respect for
what it takes to care for a baby, and since some women have a hard time letting
go of the reins, this teaches them its OK and that their husband can take care
of it," she says. What's more, "the husband gets a chance to bond with
baby on his own terms." Stone's prescription: Have training weekends early
and as often as the baby changes and enters new phases. "A little
continuing education is always a good idea," she says.
No. 7: Stop scorekeeping. "You really can never end scorekeeping
completely, but you can ratchet it down by dividing and conquering," Stone
says. "Don't worry about the stuff that is not on your list and
acknowledge that both parties are giving 100% and no one has it tougher than
the other," she says. Remember, "You are rowing in the same