WIFESPEAK: Why your wife no longer pays attention to you

Wednesday October 17 2018

It is because you are to blame. When you are done protesting, come back and lend me your ears. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP

It is because you are to blame. When you are done protesting, come back and lend me your ears. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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So your wife no longer pays attention to you ever since the babies came? And she did not even notice that you trimmed your moustache (the one she used to love stroking) and dyed your hair? Do you come home and feel like a stranger?

Do you complain about how your wife let herself go? And would you like to know why no one is empathising with your situation?

It is because you are to blame. When you are done protesting, come back and lend me your ears.

Your wife became a mother. She carried a life, went through unspeakable pain and birthed your baby.  Before she could heal from the trauma of child-birth, she had to deal with a tiny helpless human being.


A human being that landed without an instruction manual but with functional openings, one to consume the other to expel, both of which needed round the clock attention. And everyone, you included expects her to crack this code and decipher every cry, every whimper of that baby.

You are to blame because you too became a father but you are yet to switch into daddy mode. Your lifestyle remains the same. You still live like a single man, a bachelor, not a daddy.

You even forfeited your paternity leave. Wait, no, you did not give it up. The HR confirms that indeed you applied and were granted the two-week leave.

That paternity leave was to give you space and time to bond with your new baby. It was to help you practice being daddy. Those two weeks were meant to be your busiest weeks in your entire life.

The paternity leave is meant to teach you about supermarket aisles, diaper brands, baby holding positions, lullabies, sleep deprivation, heck, even about nipple creams.


But for you sir, paternity leave was a holiday, a time to rewire, meet the boys and enrich the brewers, courtesy to the toasts sent your way, for siring a child.  You are to blame because you still have not played the daddy card. You have not changed that diaper.

You have not woken up nine times in the night to sing a lullaby. When you are nursing a hangover, your wife is nursing your baby.

You have sent many texts to share the good news, received congratulatory pats on your back, but you have not sent a single text to the mother of your child. You are to blame for not sitting down with your elder child to attend to their homework and you are most definitely at fault if your wife, still sore, has to attend to you.

Do not then be surprised when your wife’s priorities shift. Because when you are not playing daddy, she has to figure how to play mommy and daddy to your children.

A father told me to share his experience, while concealing his identity. Let us call him Geoffrey. This is what he says:

“I hope I will never again have to learn about my child from my wife. I want to learn everything about my child from my child.”

His wife was hospitalised for a week, following complications with a pregnancy. They already have a five-year-old son. As fate would have it, they also had just employed a new nanny. Left to play mommy and daddy while his wife was in hospital, Geoffrey realised that he did not even know that his son was allergic to eggs.

He did not know that his child could tell a trapezium from a rectangle, that his child knows the whole of The Lord’s Prayer, that his child’s favourite animal is a tiger. He kept calling his wife in hospital, with numerous questions about their child.


Geoffrey realised that he did not know his child, and it broke his heart to learn that even though he provided all the material needs, he was an absentee father. He did not provide the one thing that his child needed from him; his father’s time.

Stop complaining that your wife’s attention has shifted to the children and instead, take some load off her. Pay attention to your children and see how much your wife’s attention will come back to you.


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