Boo and I have discovered that raising children can be as exciting and rewarding as any other challenge in life. However, as with most challenges, the rewards of raising children depend upon the skill and intensity of the effort.
This brings us to the point of this week's column. For even as much as we might enjoy children, they sure can mess up a relationship between lovers... if you let them. After reading this week's column, couples, still without children, will be able to avoid serious problems in their relationships and those of you who are having certain problems will understand why the problems exist and how to attempt to solve them.
"Retraining" children is much more difficult that training them correctly in the first place. Because of this, I hope that you are not among those who have made the mistake of letting children decide when or where they go to bed. As Mr."T" used to say, "I pity the fool."
With today's emphasis about spending "quality time" with children, some folks go overboard. They forget that lovers also need "quality time", if they are to stay lovers. Pay attention to that last phrase. Notice that I didn't write "stay in love", I wrote, "stay lovers". There is a difference. You can be in love with someone and lack the excitement, desire and passion that lovers share.
Lovers need one to one time, he and she time, time just for you and me. Children, not handled properly, can really screw up this part of your life. If you have little ones running around the house until ten, eleven or twelve o'clock at night, no wonder you are tired, unsexy, and aggravated when you finally make your way into the boudoir. You don't have any energy left for any decent love making. Your attitude is bad because the crumb snatchers have called you "mamma" 387 times that day and you look like a dishrag and smell like soap powder.
Let me tell you what your lover probably feels, but will not say. "This ain't going to make it baby. I see good looking, well kept women all day, every day and I'm supposed to get all hot and bothered about this! No way baby. The best I can do is act like it, so you don't get your feelings hurt and begin to wonder about my poker games on Friday night."
Before we go any further, let me point out that a good strong loving relationship between parents makes children secure, happy and ready to pursue happiness on their own as adults. If you allow your kids to mess up your relationship, you are allowing them to reduce their own happiness, now, and hopes for future happiness in their own relationships. Avoid problems. Send the little wonders to their own beds on schedule every night.
Bedtimes for the children will help improve your relationship with your spouse. Men, you can accept responsibility when it comes to bedtime. The important thing is that the kids are out of your lady's hair, long enough for her to relax, groom and refocus her attention on herself and you. The two of you should have at least an hour or so to unwind in peace and quiet before attempting to enjoy one another.
If you are single, with kids, bedtime is just as important. In addition to simply providing a time to relax it also avoids a common problem for singles who entertain at home. Think about this: if you only send your children to bed early when you have company, guess what? That's right, your children are not going to want you to have any company. They will do everything possible to make life uncomfortable for your company. But if they go to bed at the same time every night, regardless of whether or not you have company, your company won't bother them as much. They might even learn to like the person.
It all makes a lot of sense now, doesn't it, since the Love Doctor has explained things so clearly?
Even so, I know that my advice may seem too late for those of you who have allowed your children to become accustomed to late hours. I really do pity you. I pray that you have the necessary strength and persistence to "retrain" the little ones to a decent schedule. I only hope that you haven't allowed a much worse habit to form.
Decent bedtime or not, if the kid goes to sleep in your bed, you are literally letting the child come between you and your lover. This habit usually starts when new parents allow the newborn to sleep with them for the convenience of not getting up in the middle of the night. Usually dad doesn't really mind in the beginning, after all the doctor says he has to wait those six weeks, anyway. So six weeks pass and guess what? Correct, The baby believes that it is supposed to sleep next to mommy and daddy. As a matter of fact, baby will cry and scream for hours when placed in another bed. That very same baby would have become perfectly adjusted to sleeping alone if the parents would have placed it in its own bed from the beginning.
Its hard to enjoy lovemaking when there is a crying kid in the next room. Most daddys will give in, letting the kid continue to sleep in the bed. Usually, its not long before daddy begins to feel neglected by his wife and "replaced" by his baby. Let's not fool ourselves, something is going to give, and generally its the bond between the lovers that weakens. The baby ends up with parents who are hostile, distant or divorced.
A child who has become accustomed to sleeping in its parents bed, will almost always feel rejection if it is suddenly kicked out. Such a situation requires planning and creativity. Use the next birthday to mean "big enough" to sleep in his or her bed. Try to set a time in the future for moving into another bed, and help the child count down to that time. The child will still protest. Be strong. Get your love nest back. It might not be too late.