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Stay at Home Moms, Working Dads…finding the balance

Submitted by on September 14, 2015 – 12:25 pmNo Comment

Finding balance to make a happy family

Setting Expectations and Compromising to Find Balance

Stay at home moms often express frustration with husbands who don’t or won’t help around the house. Often dad is happy to play with the kids, but wants a break from the “Honey Do” list after working all week. What they forget is that stay at home moms are never off duty and when hubby is off, she wants to have a break, even if that break is just going to the grocery store alone. Young families have to learn to find a balance and this can take many years and many talks.

Recently I talked to a young mom of two who was desperate for more help during her husband’s off days. A typical week has her husband working five days and evenings and being off on weekends. On these non-work days he is ready to relax and stay at home, not run errands or plan outings. He does like to work out with a friend once a week on one of his two evenings off. I will mention that the wife said he spends quality time with the kids at home and is a great father.

Continuing my talk with this mom, I could tell she and her husband do want to spend time together. However, she does not appreciate that her husband has given one of his free evenings to a friend to work out when they could have the time together as a family. She would also like the whole family to go grocery shopping, giving her help, learning to interact, and just being together. Necessary projects like painting, clearing out the garage, and even changing light bulbs are left undone because he does not like doing more work on his off days. She feels resentful that he wants to rest when he is off, but she does not have the same opportunity. So what is the answer?

This family needs a mutually agreed upon, organized plan. The best of intentions do not accomplish much if they just stay intentions, so they must set expectations in advance and create a plan that makes everyone happy. Maybe hubby would agree to make two of his off days each month home project days. For this mom, grocery shopping on a week day with the kids while hubby is working could be a compromise. On shopping days, she could pick up dinner on the way home so she can relax with the family until bedtime.

Personally, I do not require a lot of alone time. I would rather be with my boys or my husband even if that time looks like doing a project together. When I need time to focus on a project myself, I would rather my husband watch the kids and then after their bedtime we can have our time.

I shared with this mom some rules for setting up her family schedule. These rules worked for her but may not work for you and your family. Adjust them as needed.

  • Make mutual decisions about the husband’s time off. It is ok to give the time to others, but make sure it is not all the time.
  • Husband and wife each get one evening a month to themselves on one of his off days. This could be working out with friends, playing video games, sewing, etc.
  • Hubby should commit to doing projects around the home at least twice a month. Let him decide on the two days, but make sure it is documented on the family calendar.
  • If her husband gets tired of going places after working all week and he hates going to the grocery store as a family on his days off, then it has to be okay for both of them. Have him watch the kids and you go shopping. It does not have to be a family event.
  • Share bedtime and evening routines so that you can get finished faster and be together. One cleans the kitchen and the other one gives baths and gets the kids to bed.
  • Hubby must understand that mom wishes to get out of the house with the entire family and do fun activities. With this particular family, agreeing to do something twice a month worked great.

If this family plans and schedules things right, they may be able to stay at home two weekends a month, relaxing without having to get out. The other two weekends could be used for projects along with a family outing. I realize that many families have more outside activities such as kids’ games and church activities that must be added to the calendar, so some of those family activities might be a kid’s game. As I have always said in my blogs and to my clients:  Just remember when you say yes to something you automatically say no to something else.

Lorraine Brock is a professional organizer, family coach, speaker, and founder and owner of Get Organized! Get Organized! is a professional organizing company in the Dallas, Texas area. Get Organized! specializes in organizing and de-cluttering homes as well as implementing systems in the home for better family management. A popular media guest, Lorraine has appeared on Dallas’ two top morning television shows: Good Morning Texas and Good Day Fox, and has been featured on various radio outlets. She has been hallmarked in many local, regional, and national print and online magazines, such as the Dallas Morning News, The North Texas Kids Magazine, SheKnows.com, and Daily Candy Kids. To get more information about Lorraine, visit www.GetOrganized.ws.  You can connect with Get Organized! on Facebook, follow Get Organized! on Twitter and connect with Lorraine Brock on LinkedIn.

 

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