Never Let Them See You Sweat

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          This week is dedicated to wives. Are you doing everything you can to be the best? Now before you get upset that we are focusing on wives, just know that Paul is currently writing tips for husbands for next week. That’s right! The perfect husband is going to give up his secrets. But today is Tuesday and we dedicate this day to parenting. Today’s suggestion is directed to the wife/mother. How do you balance the two and be the best at both?

          Luckily, the suggestion for one is exactly like the other. Being a great wife has a lot to do with giving your man respect. Being a great mother has much to do with being consistent. The two converge on one simple task.

          Never undermine your husband’s/co-parent’s authority. Kids are scary. I mean they come out of the womb with one agenda item, ‘TAKE OVER THE WORLD!’ O.K., maybe that is a little exaggerated but to a lesser extent there is validity to it. Human beings naturally seek limits. For example, imagine you are blindfolded and you are placed in an unknown room. What is the first thing you do? You stretch out your arms and search out the walls/furniture/possible exit. You look for the parameters of your situation. We do this physically and emotionally. With emotions, we call the walls boundaries. Little kids look for those boundaries and test them. They want to know where they stand. They are in unknown waters and cannot feel secure until they understand that the floor won’t give out and the walls are solid.     

          When kids push these boundaries, we say that they are misbehaving. As parents, our task is to remind them of these boundaries. When parents disagree, we are sending a message that the walls are not solid. When parents disagree, we send a message that the floor is collapsing. So when we, as Moms, step in and interrupt our husbands when they are disciplining or console our kids with words like ‘I’ll talk to your Dad about your punishment’, we are sending the message that there is weakness in the ranks (Of course this is dependent that there is no abuse going on). Kids will naturally gravitate to you for solace but they ultimately begin to resent your husband as a task master. Sure, you are happy because little Suzy and Johnny adore you and run to you to get away from that mean Daddy of theirs, however, now your partner is left with the less than fun job of being the meany.  

          This dynamic undermines the foundation of your relationship. The moment you join your kids you essentially change your loyalty from your marriage to your motherhood. This is a common mistake with Moms. We become so enraptured by these little creatures. We listen to the Mom hype and give into our need to be the best Mommies in the world. In the process, we forget that we are Mommies because we decided to create a family with our husbands. We get wrapped up in the daily routine of getting everybody ready, planning, scheduling and mothering that being a wife is one of your identities consigned behind chauffeur, nurse, tutor and chef. The last thing on your mind is partner and sex kitten.

          This is the biggest mistake women make. We shoot ourselves in the foot. We create this system of distance from your husband and dynamic of rescuing the kids that we find ourselves parenting alone. We become overwhelmed with all the work it takes to run a household aside and care for the kids aside from our normal lives that we begin to resent our husbands for their lack of participation when it was our actions that pushed him away in the first place.

          This is heavy stuff. This miasma can be rectified with one simple act. Lock your bedroom door. Have a conversation with your husband. Create a game plan, rules and schedules you can agree on and present this united front to the troops. If you disagree, do not discuss it in front of the kids. Regroup. Whatever you do, never let them see you sweat.

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