Him: “What do you want me to do?”
Me: “LOOK THE F AROUND!” as I gestured to the toys strewn about, the cereal dumped on the floor, dishes in the sink, 14 pairs of shoes by the door and the laundry piled in a basket on the couch that had been screaming “fold me!” for about 4 days.
Two things were true in that moment. This was not exactly one of my finer moments, or my most communicative AND I was at my wits end.
As a mother, and a homeschooling mother at that, I tell my boys what to do all day long. I’ll be honest and many women share my sentiments on this because they express it in coaching sessions almost daily, I want my husband to be a partner! I don’t want to have to tell him to do the dishes in the sink or switch the laundry, fold the clothes or vacuum up the cereal spilt on the floor. I want someone who jumps in and takes charge with me. I don’t want to feel like I’m mothering my husband and when I have to point out all the things that are out of place or that need done around a household that we share, that’s exactly how I feel.
For most women, it’s the mental overload that gets to us and causes the most stress and irritation. It’s so great to have a husband who comes in and says “hey! I’ll cook dinner.” and equally as exhausting when he says “what should I make?”
If I have to tell you what to make, where the ingredients are and how to cook the meal, I feel like it would’ve been easier for me to just do it myself.
So, Moe and I had to have a hard conversation. Not just hard for him but hard for me too because in every conflict, both parties have a part they play. It may not be an equal part but there is still a part both have to take accountability for. What’s my part in all of the irritation, mental energy depletion and me feeling more like my husband’s mother than his partner?
1. Not defining my priorities out loud and
2. Assuming our priorities were the same.
Have you ever seen the meme where the woman asks the man to help clean up because they have company coming over and he heads out to the garage to organize his toolbox?
Our conversation was a lot like that. I was thinking I was asking for help and my husband’s help looked like organizing files in the closet.
When we started to break it down, I had to understand his perspective and he had to understand mine. The expectation I had in my head wasn’t clearly communicated so there was a lot of wiggle room that really just meant a lot of room for error on his part and irritation/disappointment on mine. In reality, he did what I communicated. I simply didn’t communicate clearly enough and he did what he thought I meant or what his priority looked like in his head. We had to define what our priorities looked like specifically.
For example, when he says he’s going to bed, that means he’s going to take a shower, brush his teeth, take out his contacts and go sit in bed on his phone until I get there. For me, it means starting the dishwasher, switching the laundry, opening the kid’s bedroom door and checking on them, making sure the front and garage doors are closed and locked, resetting the house so it’s not a complete disaster in the morning, then going to do my nightly skincare routine, shower, etc. Completely different time frames and priorities. When we defined our priorities we looked at several key areas. Hopefully these will help you as well. Sit down with your partner and discuss what it looks like specifically when you say things like:
1. Unpack from a trip
2. I’m going to bed
3. Clean the kitchen/bathroom/refrigerator/common areas/etc
4. Do the laundry
5. Mow the yard
6. Let’s get ready to leave the house
7. Do bath time for the kids
8. Run errands
9. Make breakfast/lunch/dinner
10. Pay the bills
11. Organize things
12. Take care of the kids while I’m gone
13. Help me clean up
See where I’m going with this? Priorities look so different to both parties so when I come home, I see everything that’s out of order. When he comes home, he just sees HOME. It looks completely different and that doesn’t make either of us wrong or right. It’s a matter of fundamental differences. However, it does cause a lot of friction if not completely and clearly defined.
So the next time you think your partner “should just know” what you mean or how you want something done, remember that there is no “they should just know”. There’s only clear communication and a difference in priorities. The better you communicate, the less room there is for misunderstandings.
This has helped our marriage so much and the mental load is ridiculously lighter now because of it! Hopefully it will be for you too!
How can I work with you?
I have 1 open space left for couples coaching starting immediately. Check out my Instagram to see what we focus on, how coaching is different than therapy, how I’m unique in this industry or if you want to see testimonials of past clients. Payment plans are always available.
If you’re struggling as an individual and just can’t get to where you want to be, I have two open spaces for life coaching. Reply to this email and let me know what you’re struggling with, where you want to go, and we can chat about what it will look like to get you there. Payment plans are always available for this too.
If you are in aviation- mark your calendars for April 13-14! That’s going to be the 2nd annual aviation summit! If you are in aviation and have a topic you’d like to speak on or a product you’d like to donate for our giveaways, reply to this email and let me know what you’ve got! I’m still looking for people to fill the panels we will have leading up to the summit. Check out the Aviation Summit Facebook page for more info on that!