Letting Go and Letting Dad

POSTED January 25th AT 2:17am

Not too long after having my daughter, I started to notice myself getting frustrated more with my husband. The majority of my frustrations came from the realization that I was doing more work than he was with our daughter and around the house. Those frustrations were definitely exaggerated by sleep deprivation but even as my daughter got older and my sleep got better, I noticed that the frustrations didn’t go away. It didn’t take long for my husband to grow frustrated as well. His carefree and happy wife seemed to be constantly tired, cranky and no matter what he did, he couldn’t seem to do it as good as me.


Initially, I had many conversations with him explaining to him how I felt and the balance of work would shift a little but it would always be temporary. Eventually, those conversations started to sound more like complaining which made both of us feel even more frustrated. I’ve never been one to nag or repeat myself too much, so I decided to change my approach somewhat and look at my role in my frustrations and see if there was anything that I could do differently to help our overall situation. After some deep soul searching, I realized that while he wasn’t being proactive, I wasn’t giving him the best opportunity to do so and decided to change the way my household ran by implementing these 5 steps that can be replicated by any woman who ever feels as if her words aren't reaching her partner the way she wants them to. 


Set expectations – Set expectations about what you want your partner to do in the house and with your children and hold him to it. Expectations or goals without accountability are pointless. The same way that you don’t have a choice in many of the daily jobs that you do as a mother, make it clear that he doesn’t either.


Give him time to figure it out – When you’ve gotten to a point where you know exactly why your baby is crying, its probably because you’ve spent so much time with your baby that you know exactly what they need and when they need it. It may take dad a little more time to figure some things out and maybe some things he’ll figure out sooner than you did, but the point is that he has to learn the same way you did and simply telling him what to do doesn’t have the same effect as him learning on his own. 


Don’t Micromanage – Micromanaging can be verbal or nonverbal. If my husband loads the dishwasher and it's not up to my standards so I rearrange it, it sends him the message that there’s no point in doing it in the first place. If I tell him when to do everything or lay down specific steps on what to do, it gives off the impression that I’m his boss instead of his partner in all of this and will lead to him always coming to me for instructions as opposed to just doing it on his own in his own way that works for him. 


Let him fail – This is probably the hardest because your mind immediately goes to protecting your child from those failures but letting him fail is necessary. Failure allows him to experience the consequences that come from that failure. Even more important than letting him fail is letting him deal with those consequences. The motto that we have in our house is “He or She or breaks it, is He or She who fixes it!" If my daughter doesn't eat enough food while on daddy's shift and as a result wakes up in the middle of the night hungry, he is the one who has to solve the problem and not me. 


Leave more often – As much as I would love to sit in the dining room and enjoy a peaceful meal while my husband and daughter happily play in the other room, I’ve realized that it's not going to happen. This means that part of letting go means leaving the house. As long as I’m easily accessible, my husband becomes laxer in his daddy duties because he knows I'm there to help. I'm also was more likely to disapprove of the way he's doing something or micromanage if I'm in the house. Leaving doesn’t have to mean leaving the house. Sometimes, it just means going to the bedroom with my phone and scrolling through my Instagram feed! I do sometimes leave to go get work done or enjoy a glass of wine while reading a book and it feels great when I do.


Implementing these steps has done wonders for my household. The balance of work done with my daughter and in the house is still skewed in my favor but I feel as if it’s fair. For the most part, I don’t feel irritated or as if the only way things get done is if I ask. Achieving this new level of zen in my household involved me stepping back so that my husband had room to step up. 

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