Home' Nova National : February 2011 Contents been at home all day with a demanding child
or two. Pitch in when you get home, don't
be all grabby but be genuinely affectionate.
Work together as a team so that chores get
done more quickly and there's more leisure
time to share. Wives, your husband's been
working outside of the home all day. Make
him welcome into the haven of the home
with love and good cheer. It's not so hard if
you make love your motivator.
Both parents, do not let your children
treat you as caterers. Set clear limits with
them so they understand that you have other
priorities. Though you love them a lot, you
also need time out, time with friends, time
alone with each other, time to rest and so
on. I remember a mother of five, who also
worked outside the home, asking me how
she could stop feeling guilty for coming
home at the end of the day and being too
tired to play with her children, help them
with their homework and generally give them
her time and energy. The answer is establish
healthy boundaries. Rather than rejecting her
children or giving in then feeling like a
martyr, she can moderate between the two.
I suggested she ask for some rest time when
she first comes in, but reassure her children
that she would then spend time with them
after that. Alternatively, she could be with
them straightaway, but set a time frame, say
half an hour, explaining that she needs to
also rest or cook or take a bath. Children
will accept these boundaries if set firmly but
Dealing with issues requires time and focus.
All couples experience conflict and
differences, These will simply accelerate if
not addressed in a timely fashion. I often
recommend couples do not try to resolve
their differences in the home and certainly
not in the bedroom late at night when both
parties are tired. It's difficult to get out
though when there are children, so making
time to just discuss the day each evening can
really help. Both partners feel valued and
listened to in this process.
If there is a big problem looming that
needs more than just a half hour chat, then
either a family member or a paid babysitter
will have to be organised so that the couple
can physically remove themselves from the
war zone and out into neutral territory.
In fact, regular dates out should be
factored into every couple's schedule. I gave
a talk recently about primary relationships to
a mothers' group and I made that very point.
Afterwards, an older woman approached
me and told me she was attending with her
© NOVA FEBRUARY 2011
Before a couple become parents,
they have unlimited time to devote
to each other but once children
come along, it is too, too easy to
neglect the primary relationship. Women are
generally considered to be the most likely
offenders, but both partners have to take
some share of the responsibility for
maintaining the feelings and commitment
they made to each other in the first place.
Both need to remember they were a couple
initially and that children are a product of
that love. Children shouldn't absorb all the
time and energy of one or both parents.
Now, of course, we know that children
are incredibly demanding, even the easiest
ones. So, it's natural that in the first few
months, everything else is put aside for the
needs of the new baby, especially if it's the
first one. Then, as more children arrive, the
demands accelerate and personal preferences
can go out the window completely.
What's the solution? Do we neglect
ourselves or our children? Obviously, neither.
There are strategies for juggling all the
various needs, desires and requirements
associated with being a family.
This is the most vital area, especially when
time is short which it nearly always is in
modern life, particularly within the demands
of family life. We all only have 24 hours a
day and it's up to each of us to decide how
these hours are measured out. Quality time
doesn't just happen; it has to be planned
for and committed to. It cannot just be
occasional either. Couples need quality time
every single day. I can hear the protesting
moan, but it's not as difficult as it sounds. It
does, however, require creativity and desire.
Personally, I feel that half an hour each
day is better than a concentrated period once
a week or occasionally. A lot of improvement
in this area can be gained immediately by
better time management, which is an
important skill these days for every part of life.
These are basically limits that each of us
can impose in all our relationships. After
communication, I believe boundaries are
the next most vital relationship skill. It helps
primary relationships specifically by allowing
each individual within the family to get
what he/she needs and respect each other 's
space at the same time. As much as we need
closeness and love, we also need privacy,
time alone and time for individual pursuits,
hobbies and interests.
Guys, keep in mind that your wife has
how to keep the
joy of your early
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