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Working Moms

So we're 8 months into lockdown and my husband still doesn't grasp that I need more help than I did before or that he has to actually do some emotional labor. I wfh all day and doing remote learning with a very stubborn kiddo who inherited my add diagnosis and is high risk so no nanny. Husband is essential so he goes to work every day and nothing has changed for him other than his weekend plans. He comes home and expects an "even" split in duties. I just need some commiseration.

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You have my commiseration....one suggestion for you is to take the word “help” out of your own mental vocabulary and stop using it with your husband. It implies you have all the responsibility and he is just there to “help” you with your work. As if this is doing a favor for you. I used to say things like “it would be nice if you helped with dinner” - this meant I did all the planning shopping, and if I reminded/nagged him and he wasn’t busy that he might pitch in - but not if he got a call or whatever (as if that never happens to us....). And then, when he did actually help at the cooking part when the call was over - he would be proud of himself that he did 1/2 the work - which it is NOT. Anyway, we switched it - he no longer helps with dinner at all. Dinner is now his responsibility - planning, shopping, cooking. All food to be eaten in this house now comes through him. It was rough the first few months (all meat dinners, no milk/bread, etc.) but we got through it. He had to own all the trips to the store for that one thing he forgot because he didn’t plan. Anyway, it’s made a big difference for him to own it start to finish and our share of housework is much more evenly split. (Why we don’t split by weeks/days....because we tried that but when I cook I would always cook enough for today, tomorrow and the freezer because yes, I too get calls during dinner where I have to work late so needed emergency food. I found that when we split - he would just reheat the stuff I made with no clue how much effort it took to get there. Then on my turn - there was no leftovers to help bridge any gaps.)

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ALLLLLLL of this!

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It’s a rough time right now. You’re not alone. This is all terribly exhausting. Be sure to express your feelings and have a plan of what exactly you need help with. My husband is super helpful, but it’s only effective if I can articulate exactly what I need. I guess he’s not a mind reader 🤣 so instead of saying overbroad things like “I need more help,” I found it’s better to give him specific tasks like “hey, I need help with xxxx.” Or, “you’re in charge of dinner tonight, I need some downtime. “ Hang in there. Communication is key! 😊

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I think you should sit down and talk to him. Usually when people are needing more from their partner, the communication isn’t really there. If you don’t know what to say or how to say it, maybe write down your points first and find time where you can both have a real conversation.

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We're trying and I know he's trying in his own way. We did couples therapy for a little but then our therapist retired. He's got effort bursts of two weeks before puttering out after every conversation.

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