Maybe it started during pregnancy—when I was trying to control every variable and outcome for a healthy baby. Maybe it was during those toddler years—as I tried to keep my little one from choking or falling.
But somewhere along the way, I became a total control freak. I got so good, in fact, that letting anybody help only got in the way. Including my partner in life, my husband.
Sure, I let him cut the lawn the way he likes and decorate the living room with his album covers. But everything else is on me. And usually, that’s the way I like it. Except when I don’t.
See, by being a control freak, I’ve let my guy back off. And the less he does, the more I resent him for it.
It all came to a head on Father’s Day weekend. I had spent the Saturday afternoon doing a million errands, as us moms do, and I returned home, exhausted, only to find my husband, sons and daughter in the exact same positions that I left them—on the couch, in the basement and in her crib napping, respectively. The desire to scream was almost uncontrollable. You did nothing!
Before I even uttered a word, my husband could see I was going to blow.
“We just came in!” he swore, in a panic. “The kids have been outside all day!”
I stalked off—it was Father’s Day after all. I wanted to give the guy a break, but first I needed to cool down. And that’s when I realized: He wasn’t the problem. I was.
I know I’m not alone. Even this morning, I overheard a couple of moms at the park complaining about their husbands. When one woman asked the other why she didn’t get her husband to help out more, the other woman answered, “Because I don’t like the way he does it; I like it my way.”
And that’s the crux of the problem.
See, if we want our guys to step up—and I know many of us do—we need to get out of the way. And that means letting go of the outcome.
Whether it’s putting away the dishes, making the bed or keeping the kids busy on a Saturday afternoon, we have to let dads do it, and let them do it their way. It’s not going to be perfect. It’s not going to be the way you would’ve done it, but at least it saves you the trouble of doing it yourself.
The alternative is doing everything yourself, and that’s not really sustainable, is it?
If you were the boss of your own company, would you hire everyone the same? Or would you hire people with different skill sets and experiences to fill the gaps in yours? And wouldn’t that mean having to be more flexible in style?
It’s not that different at home. No one likes to be micro-managed. And if you want to engage your team, you need to give them ownership, over tasks as well as decisions.
At home, that means letting dads steer for a change. That way, us moms, too, can enjoy the view.