As a stay at home Mom, I’m a little set in my ways. I have a routine down with my kids and somewhere along the line I started to think that the only way things could be done was my way. I became increasingly frustrated with the way my husband was doing things, because frankly, I thought he was doing them wrong. He was getting annoyed and volunteering to do things less. He wasn’t as hands on as he had been in the past and I grew to resent that.
Eventually, I found myself asking, “Am I too hard on my husband?”
The answer was totally yes.
If you think you might be too hard on your partner, here are 5 ways that I lightened up.
How He Dresses the Kids
My husband, God bless him, is a walking cliché of a man that has no clue about how to dress. I made him a capsule wardrobe so that he’d be sure to always match. My kids? Have about a thousand times more clothes than he does. So the odds that he’d dress them in perfectly matching outfits is slim to none. He’s sent my kids out in colors that clash, clothes that belong to the other kids and are totally the wrong size, and almost never adds the “right” accessories.
But they’re dressed appropriately for the weather. They’re comfortable for whatever activity is planned. And they couldn’t care less if they’re not looking like they fell out of a catalog. Old me would chastise him for not getting the kids (especially the girls) dressed in “cute” outfits. New me is just happy that they’re dressed and that he’s involved.
How He Reads to the Kids
Reading is a sacred art in my house. I do voices. I put effort into tone and cadence. I elevate the reading experience. My husband plows through books with a lack of reverence that I find appalling. Recently, my son asked Daddy to do the nightly reading of Harry Potter and I died a little inside when he didn’t even whisper “Voldemort” with the reverence it deserves. Yet somehow, despite all the effort I put in, my kids still don’t seem to mind the way my husband reads! Which is when I realized I was being a little ridiculous. He’s reading to our kids. He’s spending sacred time with them and that’s what matters. Not that he uses voices, but that they hear his voice.
How He Lets the Kids Watch TV
My husband doesn’t take care of the kids himself a ton. So when he does, I sort of expect him to dance like a puppet and entertain them nonstop. Which soooooo isn’t fair. If it’s his Saturday and he wants to veg out and let the kids watch TV, who am I to judge? I certainly let the kids do it! And if he ever dared to tell me that I let the kids watch too much TV, I’d probably read him the riot act.
And yet, I’ve found the words just come tumbling out of my mouth: “Seriously? You’re letting the kids watch TV right now?”
How He Grabs a Beer as Soon as He Gets Home
Most nights, my husband walks in the door, kisses everyone hello, and walks straight out the back door to go to the garage refrigerator where the beer is. And every night it drove me CRAZY. I’d think, “OH! You can’t even deal with us for the night without grabbing a beer first?!?!” Then I’d walk over to the kitchen refrigerator and scowl at him as I classily opened my can of wine.
Yeah, I had a hard day home with the kids. But he had a hard day at work too. He wasn’t going back to the garage over and over and over again. He wasn’t ignoring us to hang out with Jack Daniels. He was drinking one beer to enjoy his evening – with us. So now, instead of feeling snubbed, we “Cheers.” Because it’s always better to be in this together. Preferably with a canned alcoholic beverage in our hands.
How He Spends Time on His Phone
At some point on a normal weekend, I throw my husband and the kids into the backyard and tell them to all play nicely together while I shower/mealplan/eat something/get 5 minutes of alone time gosh darnit! Then I go back outside and give an exasperated sigh when I see the three kids playing while my husband tunes out on his phone. But the thing is – they’re happy, they’re safe, and there’s no reason my husband can’t relax a little too. So unless I want to start getting a table ready for “Hypocrite, Party of One” I gotta lighten up on the way my husband chills with the kids.
At the end of the day, my husband loves our kids and will never let anything bad happen to them. So what if he relaxes, enjoys them and dresses them in outfits that make me cringe? None of that is worth the nagging and fighting and getting salty. So today, tomorrow and always, I will try my darndest to let him parent his way – without my not-so-constructive criticism.