By: Daina Sparling
We’ve all said it. When asked who’s babysitting while you’re out for the night, the reply comes out easily …“my spouse”. Seems harmless, right? We expect our partners to be equals, but routinely fail to treat them as such. And here are three reasons why.
They know more about your kid than the babysitter does.
As a stay at home parent you have the advantage of hearing 8 to 10 hours daily of what your child likes and dislikes, what sets them off, or what they’re trying to tell you when the words just aren’t there. Your spouse is at an immediate disadvantage. It’s tempting to leave a huge list of instructions when you go (typically we want things done our way, after all). Don’t do it. Expecting our partner’s parenting to be exactly the same as ours is neither realistic, nor is it fair. It’s time to relax. So the baby didn’t get his diaper changed before bedtime, or supper was served to your fussy toddler on the blue plate and not the pink one. These things aren’t the end of the world; the kids are all alive and well upon our return. No one is missing, there were no fires and no visits to the ER. Success!
You aren’t paying them.
Oftentimes we expect more of our spouse than we do of ourselves. While it would be nice to have the dishes done and the floors swept after coming home from a night out, it’s time to throw your spouse a bone. Accepting that the house is in the same state of chaos (or greater) than when you left not only allows them some grace to be human, but also sets the stage for the next time you don’t feel like getting out your pajamas for the day. There’s always going to be another table to wipe, or carpet to vacuum, but the time we spend with our kids is precious. Take it when you can, and let your spouse take it too.
Your kids are their kids.
Downgrading your spouse’s status to babysitter when you talk to your friends is not only insulting but untrue. It’s time to take into consideration how your partner feels and it’s also time to raise the bar a bit. If we start treating our partner like an equal parent we can expect them to act like it; whether that means them being the bad guy instead of you, changing a few of those dreaded poopy diapers, or just being “checked in” instead of cruising Facebook on their smart phone.
So the next time you head out for a much deserved night on the town, remember this: your spouse is doing the best they can for your family. Respecting their style of parenting will go a long way in the end – and the fringe benefits aren’t bad either.
Daina is a wife to Darryl, mother to Jacob (2 years) and Audrey (3 weeks) who lives in Edmonton, Alberta. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends and looks forward to the day where she can once again have more than 3 hours consecutive sleep.