Harriet over at Plan B, wrote a really interesting post about how far would you trust your husband and as with all great posts, it really got me thinking. She referenced the post from The Guardian I about being a foundation parent and the fact that woman remain the foundation parent in the household and how this is very 1950’s.
The reason it got me thinking is how very different to my life it is. I was a stay at home mom when the boys were small. we made sacrifices and returned back to our native North East of England so that I could remain at home and be the boys primary caregiver and influencer and look after them during the day, however, this has never meant that I am in sole charge of them and the house and when MadDad steps back through that door he takes on more than his fair share of the work.
When the boys were small he was always in charge of reading, bathing and bedtime, giving me breathing space from a day on my own with one or both of the boys. In addition, he has always done half of the home type tasks, including the bins, dishwasher, garden etc and even does the washing too. Every weekend I get a lie in and often he will make sure that other things are taken care of. He will dress the boys, feed them, pop the washer on, do the breakfast pots and ensure that the house is tidy before cracking on with a game with the boys.
We are a partnership and always have been, this has just become stronger since the boys were born. I learned very early on that I needed to keep my lips glued together and resist the urge to say, let me change that nappy I can do it faster and let MadDad get on with things, I lowered my expectation of him and the way he did things in the early months, but soon he was doing things faster and if not better than me certainly to a similar standard, just in a different way. It has continued on in this manner as the boys have grown. He comes home each night to a cooked meal and we sit and eat together as a family and discuss our day, but from then till bedtime he is in charge of the boys, he deals with PJ’s, book reading and we do bedtimes together.
We have rules and we both stick to them. We discuss the way that we parent and what we expect of each other and we are always honest with each other. He is a fab dad and a great husband and yep maybe the boys shirts and trousers are not what I would have picked myself, but they always go to bed with their teeth cleaned and a bedtime story. So for me it is a matter of priorities. We split the chores and each try and do what we do best, thankfully we complement each other more so now after over 17 years together. But the other thing is we talk, we set realistic expectations of each other and I have learned that he is a man and he will do things differently and often feel the need to be praised. So I follow my boys are like dogs plan and I use it on Maddad too (but don’t tell him), lots of praise, reward and good food, oh and lots of exercise too!
So my top tips for sharing the load
- Don’t be a mummy martyr, yes you could do it faster and possibly better, but by letting him learn his way, he will be more likely to do it.
- Be flexible, your way is not necessarily the only way or the best.
- get your priorities straight, is it key that certain t shirts go with certain trouser, if it is get them out the night before, otherwise learn which battles you need to win to win the war.
- Set realistic expectations, do you expect 2 stories to be read each night, if so, say so.
- Learn that it is often about short term pain for long term gain.
- Talk and listen. Make sure you are both clear on what your expectations are.
If you find it hard to keep your mouth shut and let your husband do these things whilst you are about, then make sure you go out and give them the opportunity to get on with things without criticising. In the long run, it is better to have a fair and equitable relationship. I am not my husbands slave or the boys for that matter, we are a family and for us that means mucking in together and all giving and participating as much as we can.
So how does it work in your house?