Do you ever feel unappreciated as a mom? Do you ever feel like you do everything? I cycle through these feelings intermittently, as a mother and a wife. I know that my husband loves me, and that theoretically he appreciates me. He’ll tell everyone how amazing I am and how he couldn’t do this whole parenting thing without me, but sometimes I feel like he doesn’t truly understand all of the small things that make this house run.
Sometimes I just get overwhelmed with all of my mommy responsibilities, and the thought of him watching the Laker game while I put the twins to bed, then the baby to bed, clean up dinner, finish laundry, clean the living room, pay the bills, and then write this blog make me want to throw his computer onto the ground and stomp on it.
I too want to sit down and watch a movie while the magical house fairy puts the house back together each night. I too want to put my feet up, drink a cup of tea, and have a dessert uninterrupted. I too want a moment for myself that isn’t at 11:30 at night, where I’m trading sleep for a little me time. I too want a break.
I also know my husband works really hard during they day to provide for us financially. He wakes up every morning at 4:30, so he can work out 5-7, which is imperative to his mental health. Then he races back here to help me get the girls situated and fed, before racing off to work where he has to talk to people all day (which he hates) because it provides good benefits and a living in California. Then he races home to help me cook dinner. So I understand why he is totally spent by 7pm, but so am I.
So how do you handle these moments? We all have them. Well I can tell you one thing, my husband and I never belittle the other person’s experience. We always speak from our own perspective. Maybe this is my therapeutic training coming out, but we never play the “I work harder than you” game. We simply speak from our own viewpoint of feeling overwhelmed, forgotten, or just plain exhausted because we are both doing our best.
I know my husband is trying as hard as he can to be the best father and husband that he can be. And as much as I take a lot of the responsibilities at night, my husband carves out as much time as he can for me during the day, when the weekend comes. He lets me nap for as long as I want on the weekends and watches all three kids under three by himself, and I’ve been known to take 3-4 hour naps when the opportunity presents itself. But how do we resolve these moments when enough is enough, and we’ve hit a wall?
Last night we had one of these moments, and the big secret to solving it: talk about it. And I encourage you to spend more time listening to your partner’s perspective than trying to defend your position. We discovered we had been miscommunicating about our nighttime routine, and we had a completely different understanding of the other’s needs.
Yev brought up the salient point that Friday night is the end of the week, and he needed to decompress before watching the girls alone for most of Saturday. I brought up the equally salient point that tonight is just like any other night for me because my job is 7 days a week. So we decided to create a game plan for each night of the week, based on how we’re feeling that day because sometimes we need to just crawl into bed as soon as our children do, and sometimes we need to stay up late to finish laundry and drink tea.
I find that every moment of friction is an opportunity to make our marriage stronger, healthier. Yev was totally open to making changes. I just had to talk to him about it and help bring awareness to the situation. These moments engender an opportunity to implement a strength-based parenting game plan. My husband and I fully believe in the importance of playing to our strengths and supporting each other through our weaknesses. Now I’m not saying we’re perfect. We definitely have our moments where we fight and yell and scream at each other, but we make a conscious effort to limit these interactions by bringing up concerns early on. It’s a lot easier to solve a problem with a cool head than with a wounded spirit.
Before you get to the point where enough is enough, speak up. Give your partner the opportunity to support you. We all lose focus. We are all tired. Mom tired. Dad tired. And we are trying our best. So speak up, speak with love, and listen because I can’t hear my husband’s concerns if I’m bolstering my defense.