I know, I know— relationships are hard enough before you add kids to the mix. Now there's bath time, and nightly routines, and dirty diapers, and school drama, and so much laundry. Kids require a lot of work. Whether you're a stay at home mom, working part time, or have a full time job, it can be easy to feel like you're bearing the weight of the work load. If you feel like your SO could be doing more to help, there are lots of ways to encourage your partner to help out with the kids.
Believe it or not, your partner may not even know that you feel like they're slacking off. Chances are, they're assuming that you've got it covered or are (like you) exhausted themselves. While it can be frustrating to feel like you're raising a family alone, learning when and how to say something to your partner can make all the difference.
As a work from home mama with a husband who works full time outside the home, I've had this conversation many a time. I've learned that when I feel like he is intentionally leaving all the "child rearing" to me, he is usually exhausted from work, or just expecting me to ask him for help. Learning a few ways to approach the subject can show your spouse that, while you're basically super-mom, a little help now and then would be nice too.
1. Begin With A Compliment
Nothing breaks the ice better than a well-timed compliment. But it doesn't (and probably shouldn't) have to be only about their looks. Compliment something you do appreciate about them— their work ethic, the way they gave up going out on Friday nights to stay home with you, the way they can cook a mean breakfast— anything to ease them into a more difficult conversation.
2. Don't Drop Hints
Hint dropping isn't healthy for either of you. Instead of passive agressively complaining, it's important to speak up if you have a problem. Tell them what you need help with and why.
3. Respect Where They Are Coming From
Does your partner work outside the home? If they come home exhausted from work, helping you out with the kids (even if you've been at work all day too) might be the last thing on their mind. Acknowledge the effort they do put in before you attack them for not doing more.
4. Be Specific
Instead of vaguely complaining that they do "more", ask your SO to do specific things with the kids or around the house. Ask them to give your child a bath before bed or help you with the dishes — chances are you'll get much better results.
5. Stop Arguing About It
You've been there and done that enough times to know how it's going to end. Change the conversation by respectfully communicating how you feel, instead of hurling the same insults at each other.
6. Utilize Their Strengths
Does your partner naturally wake up early? Ask them to get up with the kids, if you've been up during the night. Do they stay up later than you? Have them handle bedtime while you get some rest. A little give and take is healthy in any relationship.
7. Remember To Put Your Relationship First
It may seem hard to put your partner before your kids, especially when they're not pulling their own weight, but in order to have a happy relationship, it's important. Maybe having some alone time with them, or putting your stress on hold for a few moments will help them feel loved and want to help out more.
8. Don't Try To Control Them
Not only does this never work, it will most likely push them away farther, making the chances of you getting any help even slimmer.
9. Suggest Outside Help
If all else fails, seek the help of a trusted friend or relationship counselor. Sometimes a third voice is all that's needed to motivate them.