“Would you rather we be fat?” I got this question from a friend and father of two when talking about leaving the kids home with their mom to go to the gym.
Um, seriously, when given the choice of a few extra pounds and a flabby tummy or having an extra set of hands around the house for an hour and half a few more times a week, the answer to that question is a very emphatic, “HELLS YES!”
Parenting is hard, divvying up the responsibilities so both parents and kids feel satisfied is even harder. Somehow it never feels quite equal. Well, that’s because it’s not; no matter what, moms bear more of the burden when it comes to day to day parenting responsibilities. It just comes with the territory. This may leave your wife feeling, well, a bit frustrated.
Dads—you want your wives to stop bitching, nagging, complaining, and yelling? Well, I will let you in on a little secret; that will NEVER happen!! Well, that’s not entirely true. There are a few things you can do in order to alleviate some of those, “you need to do more around the house” complaints that we wives are so famous for.
First comes a general understanding that parenting is a job. If your wife leaves the house to go to her second job then you hire someone to, yes, say it with me, WORK for you. You’ve all spent the day with your kids before, you know that this work day often starts at 5:30AM and doesn’t end until 9. It’s a looooong day that involves irrational discussions with toddlers, poop, crying, meal prep, nap times, etc. As you’re opening that door on Monday mornings and taking that first gleeful step out of the chaos and into the privacy of a car with a radio that you control, we are still at home having the same irrational discussion about why popcorn is not an adequate breakfast.
Learn how to dress little girls.
If you’re a man who likes to have a home cooked meal on the table when you walk in, stop expecting it so often or learn to cook yourself. If you feel like you just can’t cook, then grill. If you don’t know how to BBQ or at least don’t think you know how to BBQ, then you don’t have testicles. If you live in a city, even easier, show up on the doorstep with takeout that is both flavorful and healthy (so as not to add to our muffin top) and you WILL get some that night. Wine in the other hand helps too.
When we ask you to do things like wash bottles or put a load of laundry in that doesn’t mean just on that day, it means forever. If you see a bottle sitting next to the sink, it’s not soaking for its own general benefit; it’s likely there because your wife’s hands are cracked and bleeding from washing so many bottles with all of those little parts. Or because your kid took off his poopy diaper in the middle of the room and she was tending to that. Or because she just didn’t feel like it. You see where I’m going with this. So, if you’re nice enough to be washing the dishes that are already in the sink (thank you for that by the way, we really appreciate it) and you see a bottle sitting there, just make it go away. Same rules apply for piles of laundry and dry cleaning.
Getting up in the middle of the night with your kids and letting your wife sleep is really really sexy! The more rested we are, the more willing we are… just sayin’
Limit your own personal alone time; choose one or two activities out of the house to reclaim your own sanity (because we need you sane…so we can drink!); whether it’s the gym, hitting golf balls, or a softball league. Whatever it is you choose to do, we want you to have your time too, Mondays and Wednesdays from 6-8PM and Sundays from 9AM-11AM.
When both children are screaming simultaneously, the answer isn’t “I’ll be right there as soon as the game goes to commercial.”
In all seriousness, you dads have it hard too, you bear the pressure of being the bread winner (sometimes) and then you go home to chaos, and you do indeed do double duty. We get it; we understand that it’s a difficult adjustment for you too. Really it just boils down to being considerate of the simple things. If you see something and your inner monologue says, “Do you need this done?” or “Can I help with that?” then there is no need to truly ask, the answer is likely “yes”. Don’t wait, just jump right in because here is another secret; we don’t really know what we are doing either and we could use the help! Only together as a unit can you successfully reclaim your home and your lives from your kids!
Please note: I adore my husband; he is my, partner, best friend, and a WONDERFUL father. Many of the items in this blog come from general observation and discussions with other moms as well as from personal experience. (FYI, he does a bang up job dressing Lady and if he offers to cook you dinner, the answer is yes!!)