So the other night I was blessed to have a moment alone, with no husband, no kids. Just me, my Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream, comfy sweat pants, my bed, and re-runs of Fixer Upper (any Joanna Gaines fans out there?!…LOVE her!). This was MY moment and while it only lasted for about an hour it was just what I needed to recharge and decompress from a busy and stressful day.
So how was I blessed with this moment?! Well friend, I’m glad you asked! Here’s the scoop: My husband, Ryan, needed to go to the grocery store and the little ones insisted on going with him and like the awesome father and husband that he is, he took them with him. And I decided to take advantage of this moment, not to catch up on emails or do the dishes or fold the laundry. No I took this moment for me! And it was AMAZING! Now, don’t get me wrong I love my family and they love me right back. But sometimes we need to take care of ourselves and enjoy the little things and that’s just what I did. I was so grateful for my time and I began to reflect upon how appreciative I am to have a husband that is so engaged with our children and helpful around the house!
Ryan and I often try to tackle our household and parenting like a partnership. We divide and conquer and it works for us! Now, is our relationship and approach to parenting perfect?! No, absolutely not, it has been a learning process but we found a system that works (for us) and its beautiful! I have learned over the years that my behavior and attitude directly affected my husband’s enthusiasm towards helping around the house and his involvement in our children’s daily routine(i.e., preparing meals, getting the kids dressed, bath time, packing the diaper bag, etc.). The more enthusiastic he becomes about these tasks, the more he does them (even without me asking) and that results in more of a break for me and the ability to get more done in a day. However, like I said, it was a learning process, meaning it took some trial and error to get it right! I wasn’t always so pleasant to be around. This perfection chasing, stressed out, no sleeping momma, with no extra time on her hands, but too controlling and low key prideful to ask for help often said and did things that weren’t very nice. In addition, my husband wasn’t always so helpful and engaged. We got to the point where we both knew something had to give and change. So we both put the work in and made the effort to love each other better! While he needed to step up and help more, I needed to communicate better and be more encouraging towards my husband.
Watch the video below for our “Philosophy on Parenting”:
For a quick laugh, click the video below to watch me enjoying “my moment”
Here are 8 Strategies That Helped Me Recruit Help from My Husband:
1. Open, Effective Communication-
Communication is so important in a marriage.However, it becomes even more important when you add children to the conversation. Ladies, we often expect our significant others to just “know” why we’re upset or what we expect them to do and we become frustrated when they don’t. We can’t expect our spouses to be mind readers. We have to communicate our thoughts and feelings in an effective way that will get our message across. In addition, we must be open and receptive when our spouse communicates their thoughts and feelings to us. Sometimes it’s easier to discuss difficult situations in relaxed settings when your significant other may be more open. One way Ryan and I did this was by reading the book “Babyproofing Your Marriage” together. This is such an awesome read and it covers some of the common issues husband and wives face after having children. After reading each chapter, we would openly discuss our feelings. This created a tension free and receptive environment.
2. Set Expectations-
Clearly state what each of you will be responsible for in the marriage and parenting based on your strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. Ryan and I did this from the very beginning of our marriage and would even apply this concept to the simplest tasks, like grocery shopping and chores. For example, he brings all the groceries in the house and I put the groceries away. He takes out the trash out and when we had a dog he was responsible for picking up the poop. I clean the bathrooms because he hates doing it, etc. However, we neglected to do this when our first child was born and this resulted in me doing most of the work. However, once we took the time to communicate and set expectations we came up with a system that works. One example of this is the our kiddos morning and nighttime routines. I usually tackle our children’s morning routine and Ryan will usually handle bath time.
3. Be an encourager-
Encourage your husband’s efforts and attend to the positive and good things he does to support you, the household, and your children. In behavior analysis, we call this differential reinforcement. This is a method of reinforcing the behaviors you want to increase and extinguishing all other behaviors. It is easy to point out someone’s faults, however, that is not conducive to building a successful and positive partnership and loving marriage. Let me give you a personal example. Ryan use to do such a terrible job dressing our daughter (I mean terrible…nothing matched!!!). And ladies, you know how we feel about our mini me’s looking cute and adorable at all times. So that being said, I was initially very critical of my husband’s dressing skills and that got me no where! It only made him shut down and become defensive. So I had to take a step back and highlight the things that he did right. For example, I would say something like “oh babe, I love those shoes you picked out for her!” (and I would ignore the fact her socks didn’t match her outfit). As a result, over time his dressing skills have improved.
Provide praise and affirmation! As stated before, acknowledge and praise the behaviors you want to increase in your husband. Catch them being good (as we would say in behavior analysis)! For example, say something like “Honey, I really appreciate you preparing the kids’ breakfast this morning and allowing me to sleep in!” Love coupons are another quick and easy way to show appreciation to your husband. As a bonus, I feel included a FREE bonus printable coupon booklet in this post. Keep reading and download your coupons below!
5. Know Your Spouse’s Love Language-
Learn your husband’s love language and love him well! If you haven’t read The 5 Love Languages book by Gary Chapman do so ASAP. Try reading it together as a couple and have open discussion about how to love each other well. It is so important not neglect your husband and your role as wife after you have children. I admit this was a struggle for me initially because I wanted to give my all to my child, but that wasn’t a healthy balance for our marriage.
6. Show & Set your spouse up for success-
Sometimes your husband may struggle in certain areas so set him up for success by showing him how you want something done (but in a non-critical way). Let’s say your husband struggles with preparing a healthy, non-sugary breakfast for your kiddos, try modeling appropriate breakfast preparing behavior in a subtle way. For example, say something like “Sweety, I found the best organic yogurt for the kids and they love it! It will be great for them to have for breakfast in the morning.” Now in my case, I told you my husband struggles with dressing the kids, especially my daughter. Therefore, I often organize their dressers and closets in a manner in which it is easy for him to find suitable outfits or I will plan out the outfits for the week which makes dressing the kids a breeze.
7. Ask for Help-
Remember, your husband can not read your mind and may not to be to able discern that you need help. He may assume that you got it and do not need or want his help. Speak up and ask for help! My husband often jokes that he “comes in like Superman” and comes to my rescue when I need help. I just need to ask. So let your husband be superman!
8. Back Off-
Last but not least, when your husband does help, back off! Don’t micromanage him or second guess his ability. Oh my, this was (and still is) so difficult for me because I want and expect things done a certain way, especially when it comes to our children. But my way isn’t always right and I have to allow my husband space to be himself and do things his way. And I’m sure it is not always easy to be married to a behavior analyst. So its important to take a step back sometimes and let dad do his thing! In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter that the kids socks don’t match perfectly with their outfit, or that they had donuts for breakfast, or that he let them watch their favorite movie 3 times in row?! They’re clothed, they ate, and their happy spending time with dad! So let dad be superman!
Bonus Printable: Click below to download your “Thanks for Being My Superman” Coupon Booklet!!
Hugs, Kisses, and High Fives,