Is the title of this post a little confusing? Yeah, I thought so too. “Rules for Husbands of Mothers” may sound—at first—a little incestual. But, I assure you that is not what I intended. This post is for all the husbands out there who are also fathers; and who work long hours full-time while their wives carry the brunt of taking care of the children.
While these rules probably work best for working dads with wives who stay at home, I think they can be altered slightly to fit any kind of family.
So all you dads/husbands out there, this is for you. We know you do your best. We know you work long hours. We know that at the end of the day, sometimes you need a break too. But here's the thing: society appreciates you. We tip our hats to you. And while you're viewed as the high and mighty "provider," your wife --the stay at home mom-- is unappreciated, unpaid and viewed as being unambitious.
When is the world going to wake up and realize that raising a family is a team effort? The two of you got into this mess together, so you both have to make it work together. And for some families, having one working parent and one stay at home parent is the best solution.
Does this mean that the working parent is making bank and the stay at home parent has the luxury of staying home? Not necessarily-- yet this is often assumed. The truth is, many families who are living on one-income choose to do so because they believe it is best for their family and are therefore willing to sacrifice date nights, extra vacations, fancy wardrobes and a daily grande caramel latte with a shot of espresso despite how badly they need one.
So while you reap the glory of being the "provider," try to sing the praises of your wife who happily takes the backseat, puts everyone before herself, and stands in the shadows with her yoga pants, spit-up stained shirt and a smile to watch as the people she loves shine. And she does it all without her fancy latte-- seriously hubby's, that sh*t is impressive.
So here are some Rules for Husbands of Mothers
- Let her feel little. In a world where your wife pulls little beings in tight for hugs, where she heals booboos with magic kisses, and she typically has someone sitting on her lap or resting on her hip at all hours of the day…sometimes she needs to feel little. I guarantee you that she misses the times where she felt small in your arms. I guarantee you that she misses what it felt like to be protected rather than to be the protector. Sometimes she needs you to scoop her up into a bear hug or cuddle her from behind so she can remember what it feels like to be little and loved big
- Motherhood is mentally exhausting. Yes, you spend your days working hard to support your family and she appreciates that—trust me, she does. She knows she cannot do this without you. But far too often what she is doing is being taken for granted and under appreciated. Be her support. Be her constant. Sure, she would not be able to stay home without your income, but you would not have the comfort of knowing that someone with your child's best interest at heart is always home --no matter what-- to take care of them. Motherhood is hard, it is exhausting, and speaking in baby language all day long and putting herself second, third, fourth is not easy. At the very least she deserves to shower in peace.
- Laundry is her nemesis. If laundry is on her list of stay-at-home mom duties, cut her some slack for goodness sake. Her days are spent feeding, playing, chasing, wiping, cleaning, disciplining, comforting and teaching little beings – your little beings. So, if the laundry gets done, great! If not, why not throw a load in yourself? Do not blame the lack of clean underwear on her -- clean laundry and a spotless house should be secondary to happy children.
- Acknowledge her accomplishments. You likely have a boss who acknowledges your successes and a paycheck that rewards you at the end of the week. You know what she has? A handful of children who take and take and take and very rarely give back. And then—she also has you. If you do not acknowledge that she can cook dinner while breastfeeding the baby and working on homework with your oldest all at the same time, then no one will. She needs to know that you are aware of the fact that she somehow grows octopus arms and that she can multitask like it's nobody's business. Come on, you know you couldn't pull off the same.
- If she is pregnant, pick up the slack. If you have the kind of job that allows you to make your own hours, try to leave early so you can come home early. She is likely dead tired at the end of the day. Her feet are swollen, her body is aching and she is carrying this baby for both of you. When you are home, be home—be present. And try to appreciate the fact that she is sacrificing her body for this child—your child.
- She takes care of everyone all day, sometimes she needs to be taken care of. Don’t forget that she needs someone to rub her back, dry her tears, and listen to her words. She is more than just a continuation of her children. She is more than just your counterpart. She needs to be at the center sometimes too.
- If you're lucky, she will do the same for you. Because raising a family is a team effort and she knows that.