Relationships can be hard. Parenting can definitely be hard. Put those two things together and you have a double whammy on just about every level: physical, emotional, and practical. So you better believe it when I say there are things every mom wishes she could tell her husband. Unfortunately, us moms usually don't have the time or energy to relay this messages to our signifiant others because, you know, we're busy doing all the damn parenting.
Of course, when I say "husbands" I'm being technically imprecise, but intentional. This doesn't happen to all moms — at the very least not all of them happen all the time. And the partners in question don't have to be our husbands, strictly speaking. Hell, they don't even have to be male. But I'm talking about relationships that mirror a lot of the issues that are represented, unfortunately, by a typical, long-term male/female relationship, complete with a lot of the gendered baggage that goes along with it. And since society has on the whole failed to demand fathers equally bare the burden of child-rearing — 79 percent of working moms say they are responsible for doing the laundry, and moms are twice as likely as dads to handle the cooking — more often than not when we have Something To Say, it's to a dude not pulling his weight.
But don't panic! Neither relationships nor parenting is inherently terrible! In fact, both can be a lot of fun, made all the more so by the other! But to say that you'll never face any problems or that there aren't a lot of very common issues that will pop up is naive. People are imperfect and, often, rather than try to break us of crappy behavior, society will encourage our worse instincts. And in those moments, here are some of the things you're going to wish you could say (read: scream) at your partner:
"I Shouldn't Have To Ask For Help"
For several reasons, chief among them the fact that me asking for "help" indicates that anything to do with our child is primarily my responsibility and that's bullsh*t. We're in this together, my good person, and that means we should each be as proactive as the other person.
"I Don't Inherently Know Any More About Parenting Than You Do"
Ummm... you think I was born knowing how to raise a child? Like, was magically imbued with the knowledge it takes to properly change a diaper or how to mix formula or braid a toddler's hair? I learned by doing it. This is also how you will learn. Yes, you will screw up. Yes, I could probably do it for you and it would go faster, but then that leaves it to me to do it all the time and no, sir.
"It's Not Really A 'Break' If I'm Making All The Arrangements"
So you've decided to give your partner a break. Awesome. Great! Everyone needs one and it's super cool that you recognize that and care about her wellbeing and mental health. But if you're relying on her to arrange everything for your child while they're in your exclusive care (making a daily schedule, preparing meals, getting all the laundry set, etc) then it's not really a break for her, now is it? That's just pushing up the work she'd normally do in the moment to an earlier date.
"I Need You To Talk To Me"
Communication is always important, but it's really important once a kid enters your life. For starters, it's the only way to appropriately coordinate care — if we're in this together we have to be on the same page or things will get confusing (and probably annoying) really fast.
There are also a lot of emotions going on in the family. They're new emotions that accompany brand new experiences and they are going to need to be discussed and processed together for best results. You're under a lot of stress and should have an outlet. I'm under a lot of stress and should have an outlet. Let's be one another's outlet.
"The Bar Is Lower For You"
Unlike most of these points, this one is specifically for men. Dudes: this isn't your fault, but it's a thing and we should all acknowledge it.
In order for you to be viewed as a good father, you basically have to be seen holding the child from time to time. "Oh, what a loving and attentive father!" they'll all coo. "He's so good with the baby!" Meanwhile, if my child's sock is slightly askew in the grocery store I've got several Nosy Nellys side-eyeing me debating whether they should call child protective services.
Moms are held to a higher standard than dads. It sucks and there's not too much we can do about it but one thing that would really go a long way in helping us cope with that is to have you acknowledge it.
"You Don't Always Get It & I Need You To Accept That"
You can't understand the pressure of the standard we're held to if you've never experienced it. If you didn't give birth you can't understand the physical toll that can take on us. If you didn't breastfeed you can't get what it's like to be constantly physically needed.
And all of that is OK. I don't expect you to know and, in fact, I'd appreciate knowing that you know you can't get it.
"You Don't Always Get It But I Need You To Try"
One word: empathy. You can't sympathize, but you can empathize and that goes a long way.
"It Does Not Take 45 Minutes To Poop, You Liar"
WE KNOW YOU'RE JUST HIDING IN THAT BATHROOM FOR PERSONAL TIME! SCIENCE TELLS US THAT MAMMALS REGARDLESS OF SIZE ONLY TAKE 12 SECONDS TO DEFECATE SO WTF ARE YOU DOING THE OTHER 44 MINUTES AND 48 SECONDS?! GET OUT OF THERE AND HELP ME!
"I Need All Of You"
You're still your own person, just like I'm my own person, but we need to be all in this parenting thing. There are no shortcuts here, my dude. Believe me, I've tried. There are hacks, sure, but no getting around the fact that this is hard AF and you can't half-ass it.
"Thank Me, Damnit!"
I'm working my ass off, here. And I know it's all stuff I signed up for, but a "thank you" would be an amazing way of letting me know that you see me, you appreciate me, and you are grateful for everything I do to keep all this running smoothly.
And hey, while we're on the subject: thank you.