From kickstarting your sex life to dealing with the mother-in-law, the Babyproofing experts (pictured) have come up with the answers to YOUR questions.
If you want to find out more about Babyproofing your Marriage (£10.99, published by Collins), click HERE for some on-site tips or HERE to visit the authors’ own website.
Q: I’m sick of being too tired to have sex. In fact, my husband is too tired too. How can we get back in the habit?
A: Aren’t we all just too tired for sex? When we have small kids to parent, careers to forge, and a house to maintain it’s so easy for it to just drop off our radars.
Given the choice between sleep and sex, most of us opt for sleep.
But the thing is that sex matters.
Without it, our relationship with our partner is reduced to a soulless domestic partnership.
Realizing that sex is the glue that keeps a relationship humming, is the first step to help you get back in the habit.
Make it a priority. Schedule sex. OK that doesn’t sound terribly romantic, but when you know you’re "on" for later you can get yourself geared up for it.
For example, plan to give the kids leftovers, so that you don’t have to cook dinner and you might have time for a shower, or even a bath. Bliss!
Get away from the kids when you can. Most couples find that the greater the mental and physical distance between you and the kids, the better the sex.
Even on those nights when you are truly exhausted, give each other a hug. Many couples say that when sex starts to disappear so do the small gestures of affection like holding hands and kissing.
Don’t let that happen. Be affectionate with each other, even if neither of you has the engergy or desire to get revved up for the main event!
Q: My mother-in-law is thinking about moving house to be closer to me and my husband. But she’s also thinking perhaps she’ll move closer to my husband’s brother’s house (he’s single with no kids). I’m six weeks pregnant but don’t want to tell her she going to be a granny because it might influence her decision. I really don’t want an interfering grandma on my doorstep! I can’t stand her. Am I being really mean?
A: Not at all! If you think she’s interfering now, just wait until there’s a grandchild in the picture. Those interventionist tendencies will most likely go through the roof! I
t’s important to minimize stress as much as possible when you have a new baby in the house and if your mother-in-law is a source of anxiety, it’s best to keep her at arms length.
Keep in mind, though, that a baby might just be the making of your relationship with her. Lots of women have told me that they gained a new appreciation of their mothers-in-law when they became mums themselves, and that having an extra pair of hands was unbelievably helpful. So, keep an open mind.
Also, unless your mother-in-law is actually dangerous you shouldn’t stop her from spending time with her grandchild. Work out a visitation plan with your partner. Remember his desire to have his mum in his kid’s life is not an unreasonable one. For example, figure out what amount of mother-in-law time you’re comfortable with, is a weekend visit too much? Would it be better for all of you to go to her house?
Q: I always make sure there are fun things for the children to do when they come on a playdate to my house – painting, water play, model making. But when my son goes to other kids’ houses they just watch TV and mill around. I’m tempted to give up playdates as my little boy isn’t getting much out of them. What do you think?
A: Are you sure your boy’s not getting much out of these play dates? Lots of little boys are perfectly happy milling around with their little friends.
If he’s enthusiastic about going on these playdates, and returns home in a happy frame of mind, doesn’t that tell you that he is getting something out of these dates?
You’re obviously a wonderful, hands-on mum, perhaps the other mums aren’t as creative and as energetic as you but their home environments might still offer something of value to your son. That said, talk to your son to find out what he thinks about these playdates, listen to your own instincts and then act accordingly.
Q: If I were my husband, I think I’d go off and have an affair. I’m so stressed at looking after a baby and a toddler that by the time he comes home I always have a go at him and make him do everything – clearing up, cooking, putting the children to bed. How can I get myself out of this rut and turn back into the fun person he married?
A: Wait until the kids can feed, bathe and clean up after themselves?! Just joking.
There are things you can do today to help you reconnect with the wonderful, fun person you still are. First of all, try not to have a go at your husband when he walks in the door. That sort of welcome just sets up the two of you for an evening of nagging and snippiness. Before giving him his assignments, say "how are you love?" or "it’s so great to see you, love" and if you can manage it, give him a hug. It’ll make you feel better too.
Try to do less during the day, so that you’re not wiped out by 7 o’clock. Lower your housekeeping standards! It’s better for you, and your marriage, to spend 20 minutes with your feet up, than down on your hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor. Learn to say "who the hell cares?!"
Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself. You have two in nappies right now. You are in the trenches. With the passage of time, things will simply get better. One morning you’ll wake-up after eight hours of blissful, uninterrupted sleep, turn to your husband and say "Well, hello there handsome." That day will come sooner than you think.
Q: My partner doesn’t really help out much with our little girl and now I’m pregnant again I’m wondering how I’ll cope looking after three of them (that’s two little ones AND him). Any advice on getting him to pull his weight before I have a nervous breakdown?!
A: Don’t panic! The good news is that a lot of men, who stayed on the sidelines when there was one baby in the house, really step up after the second kid. With more work and chaos, they simply have to roll up their sleeves and get involved.
Your partner might very well be one of those blokes who needs to have a second kid in the house before he "gets it".
If, however, the second baby arrives and he is still not helping out as much as you’d like, give him a Training Weekend. Leave him alone with both kids for 48 hours, without any back-up. (The no back-up bit is very important, he needs to take care of the kids on his own, just like you do)
By taking sole charge of all kid and house-related duties for the weekend, he will better understand your frustrations and challenges. He’ll learn how to do things because there’s no other way out. This small glimpse into your world will increase his appreciation for all that you do. He’ll get it, because he’s done it.
In fact, why wait until the second baby is born? Give him a Training Weekend this weekend, and then have a refresher course when the baby arrives! Good luck!
- Babyproofing your Marriage, written by three wives, mothers and friends – Stacie Cockrell, Cathy O’Neill and Julia Stone – is a funny, thought-provoking, no-holds barred account of the impact parenthood has on marriage.