by: Emma Aguirre
I’ve written about expectations before, but it seems to be a recurring issue among moms and new parents. Relationships can be tough enough at times, and throwing a baby in the mix can really shake a couple up. You become a “parenting couple,” as one mom put it at Tuesday’s new mom group, which is something very different from the couple you once were.
Most moms are like me it seems; type A control freaks, who often have a hard time handing over the reins to someone else, including their own husbands. Husbands just don’t seem to have the same instinct we moms have and it’s hard not to get frustrated. While you know they would never neglect their child’s needs purposely, they might spend a bit longer trying to figure out what the child needs in the first place. He might put on the onesie that you’ve been meaning to throw in the Does Not Fit pile, because he didn’t know any better and it was the first thing he pulled out the drawer. Often, they simply don’t take the initiative to just ‘help’. But maybe we type-A’s have fallen into a vicious circle. They try to help. They don’t do it ‘our’ way, after all they’re not mind readers. We yell, sigh, stomp around and end up doing it over, whether it’s cleaning the kitchen, feeding the baby or folding the laundry. We get bitter and angry and become resentful. They stop trying to ‘help’ figuring they just do it wrong anyway, so what’s the point? We become more bitter and more angry and more resentful. And it simply continues.
So how do we stop the cycle? Awareness is a huge part of putting the brakes on. Catch yourself when you are about to role your eyes in disgust and stop yourself. Walk away and appreciate that your husband is offering to help. Sure, it’s not your way, but it’s HIS way and that’s what matters. Our kids need to be able to work with both parents and both parents need to be confident enough to deal with the kids and everything that comes with that. He might just need to feel that he’s providing in other ways beyond the traditional role of going to work and bringing home the bacon, that he can be ‘fun’ dad. If it means things get thrown off for thirty minutes so be it. Try really spelling out for your husband what you need him to do, with no underlying emotion. Just a simple, ‘please could you make dinner?’ or ‘please could you pick your shoes?’ will tell him clearly what’s expected without nagging, or attitude, or rolling of the eyes and he might be more inclined to actually do it off the cuff. We type A’s need to loosen up a bit – I’m getting better after my last episode – so accept the help. Take a load off. We can’t be Supermoms every day.