Stay At Home Dads
By: Pete Baylies – February, 2010
Another source of tension for at-home dads and their working partners is lack of intimacy. While you may have thought that with the new arrangement there would be less craziness in your lives, it can still be exhausting for both of you. This on top of the fact that she or both of you may be lacking sleep by getting up at night to check on the children or to breast-feed, leaves little time for intimacy. At-home dad Joe Finkelstein said, “Our 9-month old son, Will, is still breastfeeding, there’s usually two long breastfeeds at night and then she’s pooped. I get resentful sometimes that there is little time and energy on her part for any intimacy.”
Ted Pena of Syracuse, NY, offers tips on increasing intimacy. “We will take day trips in the van just to get an hour or so that we can talk to each other. Or even talking over the phone when the timing is right. I imagine that we both believe that as the kids get older this will change a bit. We have found a baby-sitter so that we can get one or two nights out a month… but that still leaves the everyday time that a couple of any age needs to recharge their relationship.”
Bob Jackson of Denver, an at-home dad for seven years, says, “The first 18 months after having a child your wife may be so overwhelmed that the only thing she can say “no” to is sex. Don’t worry, intimacy will return, and you will slowly start to reconnect as the kids grow older and demand less attention from you. “The circle does come back… it’s just that when you are in the middle of it, you just can’t see it because you are just so friggin mad.” He recommends regular doses of exercise, and taking regular breaks for yourself.
At times like this it can be hard to keep things in perspective and by talking it through you may not be able to change your current situation, but at least you will understand each other better and that can keep the tension down. In the meantime look at other ways of creating intimacy with your wife. For example, try taking a massage class. Even if she is too tired for intimacy and sex, you can at least relax her to sleep and create closeness between the two of you. If setting aside time for a class seems overwhelming, set up some alone time for the two of you. Even if it’s just once a month, it can act as something for the both of you to look forward to and provide you with some one-on-one time.