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An Open Letter to Men who Don't Help Around the House

Taking care of the kids is a full-time job. Taking care of the house is a full-time job. Working at the office is a full-time job.

Many women have to do all three of these things, and they do it without help from their partners at times. When their partners don't help, not only can it lead to resentment, and relationship problems, it can lead to burnout for the partner that is doing it all.

I am one of the 'lucky' ones who has a partner that helps me with my daughter and the house, but I know many other women who have partners that don't help with the house and they are exhausted.

Taking care of kids may not seem like a full time job, but it is. Little ones need constant care and attention, and while they are running you ragged it is hard to get any housework done. The smaller your kids are, the more true this is.

Then, with older kids, you become a constant chauffer. You have to drive them to all of their activities, and it can take up a bulk of your day. Your schedule is determined by their schedule.

You have to take them to sports and clubs, you have to take them to go get their braces tightened, you have to take them to all the things they want to do with their friends.

It can take up the bulk of your day just taking them somewhere. Not to mention if there are younger kids too, they all have to be packed into the car for all these errands. Sometimes just getting kids in the car can take as much as half an hour. And that's on a good day.

Then there is the shopping to be done. The cooking. The cleaning. And kids are such a constant mess that even if you cleaned a room five minutes ago it will probably need to be cleaned again.

And if your wife works, even working from home, you are adding meetings and deadlines to the mix.

Your wife is probably getting up early and staying up late to make sure that everything is done for the kids and the house. Making lunches, finishing laundry, making sure that everything is ready for the next day.

I have heard horror stories of moms staying up until 3am to make sure the house is clean for the next day.

I get it that working a full time job is exhausting. I was always the working partner in my relationship, but I still came home every night and took over mommy duties, even if I was getting home at 10pm and I just wanted to go to bed.

You might be tired, but your wife is tired too. She needs help, even if she never expresses that.

Having time for self-care is important too, so that you can recharge your batteries. Even more so when you are caring for kids all day. You have to constantly be on your A-game with little kids, to meet all of their needs. They don't care how little sleep you have had, or that you haven't had your coffee yet.

Your boss might be demanding, but not as demanding as any toddler that I know.

And if your wife is nursing, she is probably sleep deprived too. Getting up with a baby all night is no piece of cake. Sleeping in 2 hour chunks broken up by feedings is exhausting. Physically and emotionally.

Chronic sleep deprivation is bad for your health too.

According to Mind, if you are sleep deprived you are more likely to:

  • be more likely to feel anxious, depressed or suicidal

  • be more likely to have psychotic episodes – poor sleep can trigger mania, psychosis or paranoia, or make existing symptoms worse

  • feel lonely or isolated – for example, if you don't have the energy to see people or they don't seem to understand

  • struggle to concentrate, or make plans and decisions

  • feel irritable or not have energy to do things

  • have problems with day to day life – for example, at work or with family and friends

  • be more affected by other health problems, including mental health problems.

Please, think about all of these things when you are relaxing on the couch after a long day's work. Even if your wife is sitting with you. She probably stresses about that too, because there is so much still needing to be done, and she doesn't have time to relax with you.

When you help with chores, they will get done better and faster. Your wife will have a few minutes of down time while you read the kids a story or get them into the bathtub.

Also, kids with involved dads do better in school and have more confidence throughout life too.

According to First Five Nebraska,

An abundance of research shows the many ways children benefit from involved fathers, especially during their earliest developmental years. Kids who grow up with engaged dads have stronger cognitive, motor and verbal skills, increased confidence and attachment, enter school better prepared to learn and make wiser life choices.

So, you aren't just doing your wife a favor by being an involved dad, you are helping your kids too! Think about them and their future when you decide to play one more video game or have a beer on the couch.

Not only can it help your wife and your kids when you help around the house, it can help your relationship too. Your wife is likely to have less stress, be grateful for your help, and be more committed to you if you feel like a true partner.

When you don't help it can lead to resentment.

According to Psych Central some signs of resentment in relationships are:

  • passive-aggressive words or actions, or an increase of sarcastic remarks

  • increased agitation directed toward your partner

  • feeling like you want to escape the relationship

  • reduced feelings of empathy

  • less interest in sex or intimacy

  • feelings of disgust or disappointment

  • frequently complaining to others about your mate

This isn't good for you, your relationship or the future of your marriage. If resentment builds up, it can lead to arguments and dissatisfaction with the relationship. None of these things are going to help your relationship in the long run.

If you want to help your wife, your kids and your relationship, it is critical to help with the kids and around the house!


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