Sometimes family chores and obligations can seem unbalanced. When this is the case, very often one spouse is doing more work around the house, or handling more responsibilities with the children, than the other spouse. Sometimes this uneven way of living can be very obvious, and other times it may sneak up on you out of nowhere.
If you feel that your husband or partner is not helping enough around the house or with the kids, you don’t have to give up. Even if you feel frustrated and helpless, there are things you can do to help encourage your spouse to pitch in around the house and with the responsibilities of being a parent.
Charles Orlando, author of The Problem with Women… is Men: The Evolution of a Man’s Man to a Man of Higher Consciousness, shares some of his favorite tips for helping to get your husband, boyfriend, or partner to chip in with daily and weekly responsibilities of life. Check out his tips and commentary below:
Tips to Get Him to Pitch-in Without Having to Bitch-in, by Charles Orlando
Many men are driven by primal instincts to solve problems based on evidence and/or hard data. And when it comes to child care, that instinct can sometimes quell the possibility of knowing what a child needs, when they need it and how often. As a result, men oftentimes take a voluntary step back from child care, leaving the mother with the lion’s share of the workload. Women wanting to change this cycle have a few options… some commonplace (and unsuccessful), some to perhaps think about and try.
—Hoping it fixes itself. This has the most chance of failure. Wants and needs need to be communicated clearly … and most times, consistently.
—Complaining: Men are prepared for the inevitable “I-know-you-just-got-home-but-I’ve-been-doing-this-all-day-and-you-need-to-help-me-out” statements. The result is usually more withdrawal, or passive-aggressive “attempts” at doing something to “help”.
—Change the approach with “Thought Seeds.” As discussed in my book, The Problem with Women… is Men: The Evolution of a Man’s Man to a Man of Higher Consciousness, perhaps the best approach to convincing your partner of the extreme importance of recognizing your needs, is planting the idea in his head, and then reinforcing it over time (which might prove especially useful for stay-at-home-moms whose husbands think you sit around all day, watching TV). Careful phrasing and calm discussion from the woman is paramount … and the key to this is to “get on the man’s side.” That should not be understood to mean that she must agree with him, or “fold” (read: be cowed into silence when she encounters his opposing views). Her job in this step is to plant an idea — a so-called “thought seed” — in his head, and then to add to that idea on a daily basis. The premise behind this tactic is simple: It’s a lot easier to convince people of things if they think they thought of it first. By germinating new thoughts that lead to new actions, she can effectively create an atmosphere of healthy change.
Instead of: “I need a break! Get in here and take over for me!”
Try: “I’m tired… and I need a break. Do you want to take over for me now, or in 20 minutes?” This provides a response the woman controls. While not forcing the man with an ultimatum, this statement provides the illusion of choice and has a positive expected outcome.
Instead of: “Hey! Why do you need me to explain every little thing to you? Use your brain and figured out what our child needs! That’s what I have to do.”
Try: Talking about it. In a non-confrontational way, go over things with the father: schedules, food, and the thought process behind how you (as a mother) eliminate what is needed (or wanted) at a particular time (feeding schedule, check diaper, child is bored/needs playtime, etc.)
This process is easy to write, but it takes time, consistency and reinforcement. (Ever attempt to box train a cat? Did it work the first time?) The main message to get across to your husband is that it’s not a man’s job to “help” with caring for children. “Help” implies that it’s the woman’s job to do it, and he’s doing her a favor by lending-a-had once in a while. It IS his job…
About the Expert:
Charles Orlando is the author of The Problem with Women… is Men: The Evolution of a Man’s Man to a Man of Higher Consciousness, and is a speaker and life coach in the San Francisco Bay Area. When he’s not cooking his wife breakfast-in-bed or playing Guitar Hero with his kids, he can be found blogging at theproblemwithwomenismen.com.