Having a loving family is one of the greatest blessings in life. A spouse who loves kids as much as you do and gives them his attention is perhaps all that a wife and mom can ask for. And yet what if he is overly involved in the children and you feel left out? Here are a few things to consider when your husband pays more attention to your children and ignores you.
Pay attention to yourself.
Being a new mom is life-changing experience. You are responsible for every need of the baby with the result that for the first year you rarely find time to look after yourself. Once the child is older, perhaps you simply want to relax instead of running around salons and shopping malls. Or perhaps another baby is on the way. Whatever the reason, being a full-time mom leaves a woman with little time and energy to pamper herself. But remember the time when you took immense efforts to look your best for a date with your partner and were justly rewarded with the gleam in his eyes. Why not try that once again? Hire a babysitter for half a day and indulge yourself with a facial and new hairstyle. Also if possible buy some nice clothes which flatter your best feature like the color of your eyes or your slender neck. This is not to say you need to spend a packet overhauling your entire wardrobe but just that if you start looking more like a wife, may be your husband will see you as more than a mum.
Go back to being the woman you were.
Try to think of what first caught your husband’s eye when you started dating. Was it your carefree laughter or your wide-ranging reading? If possible, brush up those qualities once again. Surprise him with a home-made cake if it was your baking that your brand-new husband praised before his friends or sign up for a couple’s salsa class if it was the love of Latino music which had drawn you to each other. It is easy to fall into the parenting routine once kids come but if you make a conscious effort to be the attractive woman you were, you just might be able to turn your husband’s attention back to yourself.
Invite your husband on a “date”.
No matter how devoted your husband is to the kids, if you make a definite attempt to go out together, he is extremely unlikely to refuse. Plan to do something he enjoys like an after-dinner movie or an evening at a swanky bowling alley. Use this time to connect to each other as a couple instead of going back to discussing the kid’s soccer practice or summer camps. If you have more time and resources at your disposal, you could even plan a mystery date or an elaborate outing like a music concert which you both would enjoy. The whole idea is to have a good time with each other as partners and discard, however temporarily, the role of parents.
Plan family outings.
Even as you make an effort to get your husband to notice you, do not adopt a negative attitude to outings that your kids may enjoy with their dad. You may feel piqued at being left out of fishing trips and camping sessions but don’t let your dismay show or your kids may start feeling guilty for no fault of theirs. Rather encourage outings which include the entire family like a visit to the zoo or a day at the amusement park. If your kids are old enough, chances are that they would want to try out the rides on their own which would leave you and your husband with ample time to catch up with each other.
Have a talk.
Before you blame your husband for ignoring you, try to determine if it is intentional on his part. Your husband may genuinely enjoy being around the kids and have no idea that you are fretting about it. Choose a time and place when he is relaxed and discuss your feelings of neglect or loneliness. Express your desire for more romantic attention from him than merely accusing him of ignoring you and your wants. Be specific as to why you feel the way you do, like the instance when you had planned to leave the kids at their grandparents for the weekend and he vetoed the idea. Also come up with concrete suggestions on what would make you feel loved and cherished, like a daily fifteen-minute chat just between the two of you after he has tucked off the kids in bed or a ‘date night’ every other week.
Enrich your life.
Most women would jump at the chance of a husband who is a great father to the kids. But if you find his attentions to the children upsetting, perhaps you need enrich your own life with other interests and activities. Take up a hobby or join a class and you will not only learn something new and interesting but also expand your own network of friends. Moreover the sense of confidence and assurance attained with learning a new skill will add immensely to your sense of self-worth and reduce the need to depend on your husband for validation or appreciation.
However if you find that despite all your efforts at coming close to your husband, he keeps ignoring you, perhaps there are other issues in your marriage. There could be several reasons why your husband may be avoiding you – he may have been hurt by an action on your part, he may be going through a crisis at work or he may even be having an affair. If you are unable to fathom the cause for his aloofness even after having a talk with him or if he reluctant to discuss things with you, your best bet lies in taking the help of a marital counselor.
Love is not a pie and if your husband is dishing out a bigger slice to your kids, it does not mean that yours should get smaller. But if you do feel ignored by the man you love, use tact and patience to bring him close to you again. After all being a family means having enough love to go around.