My mom says becoming a parent changes a woman's life far more than a man's. While that might seem like an old fashioned platitude, it may very well be true (at least, for some families). Women often take on an unbalanced amount of household and childcare duties, then struggle to balance work and life responsibilities. In many ways we need to demand more from our partners, which is why I listened carefully to a group of moms who opened up about the one way they wish their partner contributed more.
During my first fraught year of parenting I was combining and handling work, cleaning the house, and most baby-related tasks (as well as pumping and breastfeeding, mind you). In other words, I was exhausted. Finally I broke down and yelled at my husband for being unhelpful and inconsiderate, then I promptly burst into tears. His response was, "Well, just ask me if you need help."
This answer was infuriating in its simplicity and, in many ways, I wanted him to just "know" I needed help without having to necessarily express it. However, since I started asking him to help and assigning him certain jobs (like bath time, because batch time is the worst) I have felt more supported. So, while it would be nice if our partners could just read our minds, if you want them to contribute more in any of the following ways, just try asking.
"I wish I didn't have to get so upset before my partner realized I needed help. I feel like I have to get to the edge of my sanity before he gets it."
"I would like some consistency. Sometimes I get loads of help, and sometimes nothing. I would like to be able to rely on someone."
"Just throw a load of laundry in while you do other things. It doesn't have to be so compartmentalized. I have, like, eight arms. I multitask like a fiend but he has to do one thing at a time. Makes me crazy!"
"I wish he had more of a work ethic. If I am offered more shifts, I take them but he never does and extra money is always welcome."
"My husband never cooks. I would love to come home to a meal. How hard is it to throw a few things in the crock pot?"
"I do all the family admin, doctors appointments, dental check ups, school recitals, everything. It would be nice if he could cover something. If I died he wouldn't even know the phone number for the pediatrician!"
"I wish my partner understood just how overwhelmed I feel sometimes. If he took care of some of the other stuff, I feel like I would be more fun."
"I hate being the 'default' parent. It feels so lazy for my boyfriend to just allow me to do the lion's share of everything. So really, I would like him to just contribute fairly."
"I feel like I would get a A+ in being a mom but an F in being a wife. Mostly it's because I am too tired to be there for him. If he did the school run one day or fixed dinner then maybe I would feel relaxed and sexier."
"I dream about being allowed to lie in while he takes the kids out somewhere. He did it once on Mother's day but, seriously, I would appreciate that once a week."