Getting Your Partner Excited About Family Time
Arrange a time when both of you are not rushed and can sit down without interruptions (after the children are in bedlet the phone go unanswered) so you have his full attention. Explain calmly and without accusing that you know he loves his time with his friends and you understand friends are part of who he is, but so is his family. Underscore a) that the boys adore him and need him, b) that he is their role model and c) that the only blocks of time you all have to be with each other are generally on weekends or holidays.
Ask for what you want by initially asking him how he thinks he can schedule more time for his sons. If he has no ideas, have suggestions ready: How about making Saturdays or Saturday mornings your time with the boys? If you don't feel that's sufficient, explain that you would like him spend all day Saturday or Sunday with them. Remind him that now is the time to build bonds with his children and create fond memories of growing up and of him.
Give him concrete ideas. Suggest he make or go out for breakfast or lunch one weekend morning and turn it into a ritual; ask him to have the boys "assist" him with a project around the house to set a pattern of helping their dad as they get older. If your partner cooks, he and the boys can prepare dinner together one weekend evening. Remind him that he has so much he can teach them and elaborate on his hobbies or special skills. Have the children join him when he takes the car to be repaired or goes for a haircut and put him in charge of their haircuts. Or you might assign the "boys" weekend grocery shopping. If grandparents live nearby, put a weekly or monthly visit without you on your husband's list. Request more than you actually want, then compromise so he feels as if he's made a "good deal."
Protect yourself. If he's still insisting weekends are for friends, point out that you need time alone to rest and rejuvenate so that you can be a calmer, more patient mother and wife. Be sure to emphasize that you are not taking him away from his friends, that, like you, he needs to spend time with his guy friends and away from family demands. If he's still balking, mention that raising children is a partnership and as much as the boys need him, you need his support and help, too.