Parenting can be a full on job. If you’re a single parent you know this well. Beyond work, there are many details to take care of: cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, disciplining, etc. Many moms I coach tell me they feel overwhelmed and when I dig deeper I find that one of the reasons they feel this way is because they’re doing a lot on their own.
One mom I coach has three children and works three mornings a week. She is also responsible for all the housework. She told me her husband says that his job is stressful and that he needs the evenings to relax… But “she’s tired too!” she told me.
Bringing up small children takes time, patience and consistency. Without support, it can be tiring. Moms who cope all day long on their own can struggle to manage the situation. Then Dad comes home in the evening to a stressed-out wife who may be full of resentment at the load she’s carried all day.
In some cases dads will respond by withdrawing from family life and responsibilities. In other cases dads would happily support their wife but find that their wife doesn’t “allow” them to do anything. One dad told me, “she thinks she can do it better than me so she just does it by herself.”
Many moms have this curse of martyrdom. They rush around doing everything to the point of exhaustion and resent every last minute.
What is the best way for parents to support each other so that everyone is sharing the load and truly acting like a family “team”?
Here are a few ideas to try. See which one fits your situation or feels most comfortable to you.
1. Simply ask for help
Tell your husband or wife that you would like to have a chat about something. Be sure they agree on when. Is now a good time? If not, when? Then share your feelings as briefly as possible. For example:
“I am really feeling overwhelmed. I feel that if we shared some of the jobs I would feel better and would be able to have some much needed down time with myself as well as with you.”
2. Be sure to have a set routine in place
From the time you and/or your husband gets home from work to the time your kids go to bed, make sure your family consistently follows the same routine every night so that either you share the load together or you take turns looking after things.
3. Cut back on expenses enough to hire a cleaner
They can come once a week, twice a month or just once a month. Any version will help out in a major way – I know this one to be very true!!!
4. Say, “thank you”
Thank your husband or wife when you feel relieved by their help. A quick text, flowers, note, hug, kiss or “Thank you” is not difficult to do. Just watch how that little token of appreciation makes your partner step up and be more consistent with their help.