It’s officially 8:30 p.m.—another day survived in mommyhood.
As you sit on the couch listening to the white noise of the baby monitor rumbling across the room, you begin to feel an overwhelming amount of exhaustion and almost a feeling of resentment.
Is this how it’s supposed to feel?
Your days all blur together most of the time. How is it even possible you accomplished all you have in one day? Why are you expected to do it all? From morning feedings and clean-up to nap times and blowouts. From sunup to sundown, you take care of the kids.
Although you are with them, you can’t help but feel you are alone most days. You feel as if you are doing all of the work (and nobody notices). Let’s be honest, whether you work outside the home or work at home, moms do the majority, if not all, of the hard work. There is no doubt you love your children to pieces, but you wonder . . .
Is this how every mom feels? This heavy exhaustion?
Is this how every wife feels? Bitterness and frustration?
Where is my husband? Am I the only one parenting?
Is help on the way?
The resentment weighs heavy on your heart as you wonder . . .
How does he not see me struggling or see the exhaustion on my face?
I simply can’t understand how he doesn’t have the same instincts as I do. How on earth does he not hear the kids screaming in the middle of the night?
Can he not see we are almost out of diapers? Snacks are running low, and we all know that leads to a toddler meltdown.
How is it fair that I have to take care of EVERYTHING (in this house) at all times?
We are moms all day every day. There are no breaks or time-outs, no showering or peeing alone, no eating fresh food or drinking hot coffee.
You often ask yourself when will you get a break to sneak out for a hot cup of coffee or stop at a friend’s house to visit? When will you get to take a quick detour to that new clothing boutique on the way home or make some spontaneous plans for a girl’s weekend? The only breaks you get are when you sleep, or when you get the five minutes of an uninterrupted shower before the kids begin knocking on the bathroom door again.
Resentment . . . anger . . . exhaustion . . . all ugly words that a lot of moms and wives feel at one point or another.
Maybe you feel your efforts are not being matched. You’re struggling to stay afloat while keeping the family happy and avoiding the inevitable tantrums. You’re planning activities, cooking meals, cleaning up the same messes day after day, packing lunches, and organizing bags. You endure potty training for months on end, endlessly scrubbing the pee smell out of the living room rug.
You’re constantly loving on the kids, reading to them, coloring, watching them splash in a bubble bath, and coming up with new activities to keep them entertained. Some days you just plop them in front of the TV because you’ve just had enough. Then rushes in all the mom guilt.
You wonder how you will keep going as you question where your strength comes from. No one should have to do all this work.
Armed with exhaustion and frustration you aim to let your husband know he should be helping out, so your mental conversation goes something like this: Husband, you get a break all day, every day—a break from us here at home at least. You get to leave.
You get to have a quiet car ride and stop for that hot coffee on the way to your job site without kids screaming in the back seat. You enjoy a nice, quiet ride home after a long day’s work with time to unwind and think without a theme song racking your brain. You get adult conversations and interaction. You get to turn off the dad switch for a while and focus on things other than family. You get to invest your time in other things that bring you joy.
I am here to tell you this, stay-at-home mama, you are NOT alone.
Your heart is heard.
Your feelings are valid.
Your struggles are seen.
Your loneliness is felt.
And your pain is real.
But . . . don’t unpack and stay there. Don’t let those feelings consume you.
What you need, mama, is some time.
You need quiet time and a break, and you absolutely should not feel guilty about needing it. You need time to sit back and feel the real feels and evaluate what’s really going on. You must demand this time for yourself.
We get very clouded by our exhaustion most days. Baby Shark theme songs can drive us to a whole new level of crazy. Getting almost lost in the repetitive daily routine, we lose track of what day it even is. You forget you are a person as well and not just a mom. You need some peace and quiet.
You need a break and some time out of your home and away from the family, and only you can ask for that. So ask.
From experience, I have found in those quiet moments apart I begin to see my husband more clearly. I can see all he is doing, too.
I can see the weight he is carrying as he is also trying to provide for our family. I can see his face is tired as well. I know he is doing his best daily to be a good father and husband. He is doing what he thinks is best for us.
Our husbands are not, and will never be, us. They probably will continue to sleep through the screams from the baby monitor. They won’t always mix the formula right or grab the blankie as they walk out the door. They more than likely will not know why the baby is crying or what kind of rash is on their back. They certainly won’t keep the nap schedule tip-top like we do, and they may just feed the toddler cookies for lunch.
But they are parenting, too.
My husband once said as we were discussing our parenting roles, “What if your view of how I’m supposed to father isn’t the same as mine?”
That stopped me in my tracks.
Why? Because as moms we are always wanting people to back off and to stop telling us how to mother. We know what we are doing and we do a dang good job at it. We don’t need the peanut gallery’s advice.
So, what gives us the right to try to change our husbands or make them parent any other way than the way they do?
What I think this bitterness toward our husbands stems from is that we sometimes try to put them into a box they will never fit into.
They will never have the same instincts. They will never have the same emotions. They probably will never understand why we lose it over spilled breastmilk or why we cry after a long day, why a hot cup of coffee is so essential, why the sink full of bottles causes so much anxiety, or why that hot shower alone is so important.
They father, and we mother.
Both have very separate but very important roles to fulfill, but both are parents.
So if you need help? Ask your husband.
You need a break? Ask your husband.
Kids need a bath? Ask your husband.
Need some sleep? Ask your husband.
By asking for the help you need and deserve, I believe you are helping to guide your husband in fatherhood. Dads don’t usually have the same maternal instincts as moms, so we need to show them grace. Remind them this is a team effort. Have patience as they are new at this too, just like you once were.
We cannot expect them to know we are struggling if we do not tell them. You must communicate your struggles as a couple. Show him the way and guide him on the path you need him on. Talk about the areas you need help in. Explain a break is not an option, it’s a necessity. I pray your husband will communicate with you so you can hear his heart and feel his struggles and worries, too. Working together in parenting is essential in raising children. Your children need your joint love and support.
Guide your husband. Love your husband. See his worth. He is doing his part even if it’s not the way you think it’s supposed to be.
He is enough.
Originally published on the author’s blog
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