You know that TV show Seven Year Switch? A few weeks ago my husband and I were watching it together and I remarked that Jackie, who was dating Tim on the show and did a trial partner switch with another couple in order to rebuild their relationship, was too bossy and told Tim what to do a lot. My husband just looked at me and raised his eyebrows. It got me thinking – am I like that?
The answer is yes. Most likely, anyway.
Jackie and Tim, via their Instagram
My husband hasn't been around much the last few months as he's been travelling for work. So he really doesn't know what to do with our toddler and baby these days.
It means that even though I’m doing all of the parenting hard-yards during the week I end up doing all of it on the weekends too.
We have two children aged two and under, so it’s full-on to say the least. There are a LOT of logistics.
Feeding takes SO long. Just one of the logistics. Image via iStock.
I guess I just expect my husband to know how to do everything I do. To be alert for the dishwasher to finish. To know to sterilise the baby’s bottles ahead of the next feed. To know how much water to boil at the start of each day. To just know when either child has done a poo. To know the time constraints of having to be home for nap time…
Not so much. This weekend my frustration was very real. I was SO tired from doing the solo parenting thing for so long now that I hit a huge wall. I had a cold and was sore all over just from the physical strain of carting two kids around (one who is a clingy toddler that is refusing to walk lately – what’s with that?!).
I just needed to lie or sit down, you know? So, I found myself telling him what to do. A lot.
It wasn’t a conscious thing. I just needed help. I left him to it one bath time – and ended up going to his rescue when five minutes into it both kids were crying.
Bath time is CHAOS in our house. Image via iStock.
It’s fair enough to want a break but when we ended up arguing, I realised I’d become a nag. I'd been bossing him around non-stop.
And then it hit me. I’m being way too hard on my husband when he actually is around. It’s not his fault he doesn’t know what to do. And I shouldn’t expect him to.
Instead of telling him what to do, I should be a bit more easy going. I should definitely use different language. And if he’s looking after the children by himself for a bit, I should give him every opportunity to learn what to do, rather than stepping in when it all starts to go even the slightest bit south.
I think this is something mums tend to do a lot. We get so caught up in knowing what to do, and knowing exactly how to do it best, that we find it hard to let go of the reigns and let our other halves actually learn. The good intentions that they have of helping get blown away by our need to be in control. "Mum knows best" and all that.
Let's all go a little easier on them. It’s not their fault there’s poo all over the change mat cover because they didn’t wipe "the right way", or the baby has spinach and pea puree all over her clothes (try getting that shit out!) because they weren’t careful enough with using a bib and wiping as they went. :)
MM Confessions: When I knew our relationship was over.