Yet another workday is over and you are heading back home from the office. You feel happy that you can now have time for yourself and do your own stuff after the work day.
However, when you enter your home, you immediately sense that something is not right – your wife is feeling tense and tired. The reason is that she has spent a day at home taking care of your young toddler-aged child while you have been working.
When you talk to your spouse, she explains that she works very hard every day while you are at the office and that taking care of a toddler is very intensive work. She needs a break and she needs more time for herself.
You listen to her and what she has to say. Finally, you realize that this situation might affect the whole family’s well-being, if it continues any longer.
A surprise which is not a surprise after all
These confessions that your wife made come as a surprise to you. You thought that everything was going just fine, but now it seems that things are the opposite.
What you have failed to see is what being with a toddler-aged child all day is all about: It’s very intensive and even tough at times.
On the other hand, when you think of this situation a little bit more in-depth you start to understand her reaction. In fact, there are two reasons that are causing this friction inside your family right now:
First, you haven’t really experienced what it is like to take care of a toddler while trying to do the household work – all by yourself. So far, all this has been your wife’s responsibility.
Second, your wife needs her own time as well. The days are not just about you, and you need to give her more opportunities to do her own thing and time of her own.
With these two reasons, there is an imbalance in responsibilities between the adults. Also, with an unequal amount of renewal time between the parents, the running of the household day after day becomes harder and harder for your wife – thus affecting the whole well-being of the family.
The non-existent element inside your family
Eventually, everything comes down to one core issue that is causing the tiredness and frustration right now in your household: a lack of communication.
Naturally, the unawareness of what your wife is doing all day is a starting point for the imbalance of well-being. Since you haven’t really talked with your wife about her days and how she is doing, things have eventually turned stressful for her.
When you don’t know what is going on in the daily life or your wife, your internal alarm clock won’t go off – even if it should. Since you assume that everything is just fine, you don’t even offer opportunities for her to take a bit of time off.
It’s time to have a talk about what is going on and what your spouse expects from you. Only that way can this situation be solved and the balance can be adjusted back to normal.
It’s time to change the communication strategies
To solve the situation, you need to increase the communication with your spouse. Only that way will you know what is happening on a daily basis and you can even prevent these stressful situations if they occur in the future.
You could start out by asking your wife how her day went and what she did with your child today. You could then talk a bit about your day and what is going on at work.
Then, you could always offer your helping hand when taking care of your child. That way she has some time of her own to do her own things.
Honestly, if you give up your one to two hours of your own time for her, it’s really worth it. Remember, she is now running the household all day while you are at work.
When the communication channels are open in both directions, it’s easier to listen to signals and decide on the actions. For instance, when you realize that your spouse is tired and stressed, you want to give her a chance to renew herself and recharge her batteries.
Open communication is the key for finding the right balance and it fixes the issues (at least most of them) that come up when you just assume that everything is fine.
Recognition and better balance – here is how
To get back to normal balance and well-being inside your family, here are some steps you could take right now:
1. Acquire new asking habits. It never hurts to ask after your workday how your spouse is doing and if there is anything she’d like to do next. That way you are providing an opportunity for her to be heard and you can express your interest in what she is going through while you are working away from home.
2. Talk about the current situation. Set up a meeting where you go through the issues that stress your spouse out and figure out action steps to change them. This meeting should take as long as it has to and as a result, you should have immediate actions steps to fix the situation.
3. Value the work. Understand what your spouse is doing all day while you are at work. After you understand the value, it’s easier to be more flexible about your own needs.
4. Remember her. Allocate some time for unexpected surprises. For instance, you could buy her flowers or have a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant. With these things, you show your appreciation towards the work she does.
5. Feel grateful. There is always a Supermom behind every Superdad! Remember that your wife is doing a lot of work while you are working and you should feel grateful for that.
6. Change the perspective. One powerful way of realizing how your wife is spending her days with your child and how much work there is involved is to switch roles for a day.
This way you see the amount of work there is and you appreciate more of what you wife does on a daily basis.
Let’s face it: Your wife is doing a lot of work while you are working. If you fail to understand this, there will be issues with balance and well-being inside your family.
When you have at least a little bit of experience of what is going on in her daily life, it’s much easier for you to understand the source of stress and tiredness that is sometimes present.
Over to you: Do you recognize the work your spouse does on a daily basis?