You get home from a long day at the office and are faced with breakfast dishes in the sink, dinner that is still in the "what the "f" are we going to have for dinner" stage, unopened mail and children who desperately need a bath, food and bed.
The good news is your husband just got home too and he is eager to "help." He let the sitter go a few moments ago and now the two of you will roll up your sleeves and get it all done.
Actually, he will roll up his sleeves and wait for you to let him know what needs to be done, because you have the "big picture" here. You have the long list of to-dos in your head. Just one look around the house and you can see which messes have to be cleaned immediately and how much time it will take to help your 8-year-old with her school project.
You also have a clear memory of how long it takes to get your 4-year-old into the bathtub and then once in, how long it will take to get him out. And, you are clearly best equipped to figure out "what the "f" you are all going to have for dinner."
But what if you were not solely responsible for the "big picture?"
What if your husband took one look around the house and knew what needed to be done too?
He's a smart guy, after all. He is fully capable of identifying where the need is greatest and jumping in. But he doesn't. Do you ever wonder why?
Could it be that he hasn't really been given permission to take over?
Our culture sets women up as the expert when it comes to parenthood, home and hearth. And while it might feel good to be the expert at times, does it do us any good in the long run? If we feel like we are shouldering most of the responsibility at home - we can easily become resentful. Sure, everything gets done OUR way, but what is the cost to our own peace of mind?
And how do our spouses feel about it? They may enjoy the fact that they don't have to remember when the children need annual check ups or which gifts need to be purchased for upcoming birthday parties. They may secretly cultivate the "inability to wash dishes properly" or feign "confusion over the diaper changing process," but at the core they are missing out on a full partnership at home with all its messy and joyful twists and turns.
Maybe it is time to give up being the expert in return for having a partner that will take more responsibility? Would that buy you more time and less stress? Maybe not at first, but it could be an investment in the future. Something to consider.
Coach Me Quick tips for NOT Being the Expert:
1. Talk to your partner about changes that you would like to make.
2. Ask him to take responsibility for specific daily tasks.
3. When he does take over and start handling a situation with the kids or the house, put a bag over your head if you have to, but don't criticize or comment. Let him do it his way. Remember, you married a smart guy.
4. Notice if you have a little ego wrapped up in being the expert at home. If you do, remember that your value is so much more than the fact that you know how to find the Cumin.
5. Send the kids to dad for their answers. You are not the only person in the house that can tell them whether they need to wear a sweater or help them jump start their essay.
Enjoy sharing the responsibility and the joy!