Okay readers, this next one I might need some help on. I’m going to share the letter and then share my story. And then see what you can add to the mix.
From a reader:
I’m a mother of 4 boys (ages 7,5,3,3&2) who works full time outside the home and the rest of the time inside my home. I’m overwhelmed and frustrated all the time and my husband tells me I should talk to other moms about it. He tells me to read their books and blogs, attends moms groups and watch supernanny. But those other moms aren’t going to mop my floors, fold my laundry, pick up my kids from school, gibe them a bath, or help them with their homework. How do I get my husband to pitch in with the housework and support me in getting our boys to do the same?
What a challenging season! I’m sorry you are feeling so stressed. It has got to be tough to work outside the home and then come back to find more work waiting for you — especially if you feel like you aren’t getting any help.
First off, I want to be very honest with you here: I don’t have much experience with working outside the home (per se). When I had a full-time job, I had only one little guy and he was tiny. But even then I realized how hard it can be to be away all day and come home to another list of things To Do.
Putting myself in your position — thinking about the times when I am busy outside the home (traveling for work, being gone overnight), Paul and I rely very heavily on EACH OTHER to get the job done.
One of the worst things any one person can do in a marriage is try and break things down fifty-fifty. It just never ends well. My job every day when I wake up is to be prepared to give 100 percent to my family — to my children, to my household, to my husband. And thankfully Paul has that same exact attitude. It’s not about him going off and doing his thing and me staying here and doing my thing — it’s the two of us working together to get it ALL done.
Are you able to hire someone to help with any of the tasks? When I’m very busy with my “professional” tasks, I hire someone to come in and help with basic cleaning. It’s just one less thing on my plate. It’s not very expensive and it takes the pressure off me (and Paul).
If that’s out of the question, you need to sit down and have an honest talk with your husband about how you feel. BUT, before you do that, let me give you a few bits of advice.
1. When discussing potentially sticky topics (his actions or lack of help are causing you distress) you need to approach it with the Plus-Minus-Plus System of Communication (the Steve and Karen Swenson method). Always start with a positive (something your husband does that you appreciate) followed by the issue that needs work (in this case, you feel like he doesn’t necessarily help enough) followed-up with another positive (you love him very much and appreciate how hard he works for your family).
2. Don’t delve into this topic when you are tired. Don’t bring it up when you are angry. Find a time when you are at peace but willing to hash it out.
3. Keep in mind you want to find out what his expectations are as well. How does he anticipate the job getting done?
4. Make sure you clearly articulate why you are overwhelmed and how you think things could be better.
Do any readers have anything to suggest?
I’ll be honest — Paul is a HUGE help around our house. Him momma raised him to be a very hard worker, and then he spent several years living in a men’s household while he discerned his vocation and that place was all about service. I don’t say this to brag (on my awesome man) but to acknowledge that maybe not all husbands have the same attitude of coming home from work and being willing to work some more.
I’d love to hear from readers who have faced this challenge and found a peaceful solution.