No Dad Left Behind – By Michelle Johnson

I’ve seen it happen time after time after time. Boy meets girl, boy marries girl, boy and girl have baby, boy gets left out. It seems that after a woman’s dream of having a baby comes true, she sometimes forgets how she got that baby and who happened to be in the picture first!

At some point in time when these ladies realized they had met the man of their dreams, ‘the one’, this man was all they could think of and all the attention was on him and his attention on her. It’s truly a beautiful thing to watch love blossom, plant roots and mature. Soon the attention turns to one of procreation and the couple decide to have a baby. The pair dance in excitement at the anticipation of their child created through love coming in to their world.

When the baby is born, the overwhelming sense of joy and love have the couple riding high for awhile until the days and nights are consumed with feedings, diapering, cuddling, cooing and the like. However the care giving is divided, both the new mom and dad are likely to feel very tired. Sleep becomes a much needed and sought after commodity!

New dad’s are generally pretty patient for the first couple of months, realizing and understanding that their wife is healing from delivery and often times the only one on demand for feedings, not to mention getting used to her new role as mommy. However, sometimes the new mom forgets that the new dad is still eager for her attention and some form of intimacy with her. It’s natural for even the most understanding men to feel a little neglected when a new baby arrives! Most of the time he won’t even say anything because he would feel guilty doing so, and sometimes he will act out in a way to demand her attention.

 

I’m here to remind the moms out there to set aside time for your sweetheart. It’s time to stop using kids as an excuse for not connecting with your partner. The foundation of a family is built on the solid ground of the relationship between the parents. If that relationship crumbles, so does the family. When we show our kids that a healthy and loving relationship between mom and dad is important we give them something great to model. Let them see you kissing, dancing, being silly and setting aside time away from them for connecting, a.k.a. date night! As a mom of four, I understand those days (or years) feeling like I just need to have a moment where no one is touching me, crying for me or expecting anything from me! The last thing you want is someone, groping you! But when I changed my perspective on it, I saw it as a beautiful opportunity for my man to show up as my knight in shining armor and help me remember that I’m a treasured woman with needs of my own and that it is through our love that I have the privilege of being a mother.

At the end of the day, when we sit on the couch together to watch TV, my place is right next to my sweetie. The kids know it, and if they don’t move on their own, I remind them that I get to sit next to daddy! We all end up piled together with kids on laps and all, and they clearly understand that my husband and I are a closely bonded and united team and nothing comes between us. They never play us against each other and they have a great sense of comfort in their home life that allows them to feel stable, secure and safe.

We should remember here that we are not married to our children, we are here to raise them in to adulthood so that they can go out in to the world and discover their passions, live their dreams, experience love and eventually if they choose, get married. If as a mom we’ve only shown them that they are the most important people in our life, and continually choose them and their needs over our husbands, what message does that send them? What have they learned about marriage from the example we’ve set? Where does that leave us as a couple when the nest is empty?

I am not suggesting that the responsibility of fostering a solid marital foundation is solely on the woman, I am merely bringing one situation to light in which women can step up and take ownership of their part in the disconnect of their marriage. And for the dad’s out there, ask yourself how you can be of support to your wife rather than focusing on the fact that she’s too busy to pay attention to you! There are many different circumstances and behavior from men and women alike that could create imbalance in a relationship. I’m just addressing one. Obviously men and women should share equally the responsibility in finding and maintaining the delicate balance it takes to create a relationship that is built to last through all the ups and downs, ins and outs and years beyond raising children.

I invite every mom and dad to recognize aspects in their relationship they may be neglecting and to make the effort in building a strong and stable foundation for their family. Kids feel the tension from their parents when things are off balance in any way. Because we want the best for our kids in all aspects of life, we should also want to show them an example of a healthy marriage and provide an environment that allows them to feel emotionally safe and comfortable.

I stand in gratitude each day for my husband Charlie. He is an amazing person, husband, friend and father. My prayer today is that people stop taking their partners for granted and remember, for every overlooked husband or wife, there is a man or woman out there wishing they had a husband or wife to cherish.

 

Note: In this article I used the word marriage, and the example of husband and wife. However, I believe the message applies for all couple relationships, whether married or not, two moms or two dads. With love and peace to all, Michelle.