Can you please just take the rubbish out?” you ask for the sixth time while your child wails with the force of a hurricane in your arms without any sign of letting up. You’re addressing your husband, who is nowhere to be seen. What could possibly be more pressing that your husband doesn’t help with kids? It better be bloody important.
Then he emerges from nowhere and asks “Oh hey what’s up”.
You could strangle him where he stands. But you take the high road and control yourself. How nonchalant could he be? Does he think these kids are mine and mine alone to raise?
Adulting is hard enough. The ball game changes when you become parents. Now, the person whose interests are paramount is no longer your own, but this tiny defenceless human that can’t feed himself.
It’s no wonder many mums feel they have to choose between their careers or being a stay-at-home-mom. When you feel your husband doesn’t help with the kids, it is draining and downright frustrating. If you’ve felt your blood pressure boiling and stress levels through the roof, then these might be clear signs that your other half just isn’t pulling his weight in the household.
9 COMMON SIGNS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED THAT YOUR HUSBAND DOESN’T HELP WITH KIDS
1. WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELF ASKING “HELP ME OUT WITH…”
Mum, you do a fine job caring for your little ones and putting their needs first. But you only have two hands and two feet. It is exhausting when you’re constantly having to ask another completely able-bodied person to help you out with small tasks, like prepare the milk or get dinner ready.
You’re both grown adults and know what responsibility looks like. If you find yourself using this phrase often, then it means he isn’t helping out enough.
2. HIS FIRST RESPONSE TO YOUR REQUESTS ARE “LATER”
Both of you are tired after you come home from work and have to do a speedy job of tidying up. But when he replies “later” to all of your requests to take the laundry out, he needs to be reminded that he’s not a passenger parent!
3. YOU’RE CONSTANTLY REMINDING HIM WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO
Parenting is no easy feat. There isn’t a blueprint to how to parent effectively, although there are a lot of guides that give you tips. However, your husband is definitely not being a team player when you have to constantly tell him what needs to be done next.
4. YOU FEEL LIKE YOU RUN THE HOUSEHOLD SINGLE-HANDEDLY
Do you find yourself having to manage the bills? Check when the next parent evening at school is? Or researching which home tutor you should hire? Mummy, you’re probably taking too much on your own plate at this point.
5. YOU’RE WRITING A MANUAL FOR PARENTING/ADULTING/LIFE IF HE’S LEFT ALONE
He says he can look after the little ones alone while you dash out, no problem. But come the hour, doesn’t necessarily cometh the man. Suddenly a barrage of questions come your way. He doesn’t even know where the nappies are. Find yourself writing a billion little post-it notes, or writing reams of instructions on WhatsApp akin for a household appliance manual? If your husband doesn’t have a clue what to do when he’s alone with the kids, he isn’t ready!
6. YOUR KIDS RUN TO YOU FIRST FOR ALL THINGS
A sure sign of your husband not doing enough parenting is when your children always run to you. Whether it’s a because of a loose baby tooth or for a little cuddle, your kids should feel happy to turn to either parent. So when you’ve got your little ones coming to you over all sorts of issues, your husband should let them know he’s available for support as well!
7. HE EXPECTS PRAISE EVERY TIME HE DOES SOMETHING
The man of the house likes to be praised when he achieves something difficult. And while parenting isn’t easy, let’s be honest – who praises you when you continue your mummy job after a full day at work? As a father, he should also carry the mantle with the same responsibility you do.
8. YOU MAKE THE FINAL DECISION (LIKE, ALL OF THEM)
Parenting means important decisions around your children’s futures need to be made. If you find you’re the one who has to push both of you off the fence and make commitments, then he needs to step up. It’s great that you are assertive and demonstrate your leadership, mummy. But your husband also needs to learn how to be confident and make choices that have your children’s best interests at heart.
9. HE SLEEPS LIKE A ROCK DURING THE NIGHT
This is especially rough if you’re both working. After all, both of you have to wake up and head to your day job. But if you find you’re the one who always wakes up at night to comfort your child, or change nappies, then your husband isn’t doing enough parenting.
4 WAYS TO CONVINCE YOUR HUSBAND TO STEP UP HIS PARENTING GAME
Mummy, you’re doing a great job being the best parent you can be. However, it’s not a weakness to tell your parent that you can do it on your own. In fact, not long ago it was the status quo that women do the parenting, while men’s primary responsibility involves being the breadwinners. If you want your hubby to step into his daddy shoes, start with these tips. You’ll benefit from better sleep, a more positive sense of wellbeing, and a healthier marriage.
1. KEEP WORKING AT YOUR MARRIAGE
After kids arrive, don’t forget you’re still husband and wife, not just mummy and daddy! Remember to make time for each other. Although you might not be ready for sex after giving birth, look forward to it. Schedule date nights and ask your parents or trusted friends to look after the kids. When you’re happy with each other, your kids will have happier parents.
2. INVITE HIM TO HELP WITH THE HOUSE CHORES
Open a dialogue with your husband about splitting up responsibilities around the house. You might not have believed this before, but one reason why your hubby didn’t offer is that he thought you had a handle on everything. Explaining that you can’t do everything on your own is a start to your husband helping with the house chores. He doesn’t have to do all the stuff he hates, but being responsible for certain chores makes it fairer for both of you.
3. LET YOUR HUSBAND GROW INTO IT
If your husband wants to get involved more after a long time of being distant, then try your best to be patient with him. He might come across as a big kid or seem like a bumbling fool at first. But it’s important to not compare his parenting method with your own or to other fathers. There isn’t one right way of parenting and he needs time to grow into the role.
In fact, be happy that he wants to step up as a parent! Studies show the importance of fathers is unquestionable for your children’s cognitive and social development.
However, your kids might not warm up to him so quickly if he’s been distant for a while. Create monthly one-to-one days with your child or each of your children and daddy, so they have uninterrupted quality time to learn more about each other.
4. KEEP COMMUNICATING
Mummy, did you consider that your husband might actually be helping? However, if communication between both of you has deteriorated since becoming parents, then you might not spot his attempts to be helpful.
Talk to him about how you’re feeling. If he isn’t doing enough around the house, or you’re looking after the kids all the time and have no me-time, tell him. You’re not attacking the person, but telling him how you feel with the objective of figuring out a healthy compromise.
Your children couldn’t have asked for a better father. However, he might not have picked up the pace as quickly when your parenting journey started. If you feel you’re burning out, then check for these signs to see if he’s doing his part. And if he isn’t, it’s not too late to turn it around and get him up to speed!