As I mentioned last week I have been thinking a lot about expectations and its effects on relationships. I have especially been thinking about the expectations among the parents and how that dynamic can influence the whole family unit. You know the expression "Happy wife, happy life?" I really think there is some truth to that. I think the woman sets the tone for the mood of the home. There is the other saying that says, "If momma ain't happy then no one's happy." Why is that? In my opinion it is because the woman serves a lot of roles in a family and so if she is feeling overwhelmed, tired, stressed, or taken advantage of then those emotions leak in to other dynamics of the home.
Often times the reason the mom is so stressed out isn't because dad isn't willing to help but is more because he doesn't know he's supposed to be helping! Think about it. How many of us who have kids now can honestly say that their dads helped their mom out all the time? Not many. The family dynamic has changed a ton over the past decade and dads are helping a lot more than they used to. My father was the bread winner and discipliner who occasionally took us camping or some other fun activity, but he was the ultimate head of the house. Rarely did my dad cook dinner or wash dishes. He never picked us up from school or took us to an extracurricular activity because he was working and that was mom's job. Dads weren't known for getting on the ground and playing Barbies with his daughters - that was almost unheard of. So of course it is harder for most men to stop and say, "Hey that basket of laundry needs to be folded" when they would rather throw their sons around or clean up the backyard.
As I have mentioned in previous posts we all bring something to the table in parenting and the biggest thing we bring is our expectations. I remember my mom used to wake up early every morning and pack my dad a lunch for work, so when my husband went through the police academy I felt like that was something I was "supposed" to do. So for a few days I got up early and packed him a lunch and sent him off and then went back to bed. Well I am NOT a morning person and after a few days I was tired and really didn't want to make him lunch and he told me he didn't need me to make his lunch, in fact he never expected me to in the first place and boy was I relieved because I wanted to sleep! That is why it is so important for you to talk about your expectations with each other, maybe you are stressing yourself out over something the other person doesn't even care about. Maybe they are resenting you because they expect you to do more. In order to be a good functioning couple I think you need to sit down with each other and really talk about each others expectations and see if you are on the same page or if you have completely different views!
So out of curiosity, what is one thing you expect from your partner and think every man/woman should do? For me I expect my husband to be completely involved in my child's life - meaning he helps put them to bed, he helps feed them, he helps change them, he picks them up from school, he volunteers at school, he goes to all of their performances and games, etc. He is not just to be a sperm donor or discipliner but a parent! (which he is an amazing parent and sometimes my kids prefer him over me)