How often do you find yourself muttering…it’s just easier if I do it? Then spending the rest of the evening resentful that you did something that you feel you shouldn’t always have to do?
What if, instead, there was a conversation about the task and the opportunity for someone else to do it? Maybe it wouldn’t always be on you. If expectations were set about when and how a task was done (and who was going to complete it), it would happen without you constantly asking.
It is possible.
Women are conditioned that we’re the more capable parent. So we take over every aspect of raising kids and taking care of our house.
This is known as maternal gatekeeping. It impacts relationships with our partners and our kids. It can be unconscious and unintentional. But it’s detrimental. (It can also happen in families where the parents are not together.)
Our society has told us that if a child isn’t thriving, it’s mom’s fault. If the kids aren’t wearing matching clothes or spending all their waking moments at some enrichment program, that they’re never going to get into a good college and will fail at life.
None of this is true. And we need to stop buying into it.
My kids have dressed themselves from a young age. They often don’t match. Their clothes are inside out or backward (sometimes both). For me, it’s more important that they got themselves dressed and have agency over their own lives. It doesn’t even matter if they’re wearing weather-appropriate clothes. I just want them dressed.
And, there are costs to taking on all the emotional and mental labor of a household.
We’re tired, exhausted, drained, cranky, sleep-deprived. We are not taking care of ourselves so there’s little left to give to others. And we don’t see a way out.
We still see dads as clueless, almost like another child we have to take care of. But dads are actually fit to parent. And we need to let them. It might look different than your way, but that’s a good thing.
So what can we do about it?
First, we can be aware of when we’re doing it. Are you redoing the dishwasher after someone else has loaded it? Do you passive-aggressively complain about how your husband never empties the trash? Are you grumbling about how you always plan the family vacations and never enjoy them because it feels like it’s just as much work as being home? (That last one is me!)
Then have a conversation with your partner about it. Without blaming or shaming your partner, talk about how you want things to be fairer around the house. Find a couples counselor who can work with you through this. Schedule time with me to talk about it. Read the book by Eve Rodsky called Fair Play.
Talk about what really matters in your life. What is essential for everyone’s happiness?
Want to talk about this more? Schedule some time with me!
If you want a PDF to help get you started on this, send me your email!