It’s funny, isn’t it? You find out you’re pregnant, and everything changes for you instantly. For your husband, though, he’s got time to adjust without his body morphing into the kind of odd shape you’d find in a funhouse mirror.
True, some men are far more understanding than others, but every husband should understand what it’s like to be a mom. And to that end, if you’re feeling frustrated as a mother and wife, the husband that doesn’t understand the stay-at-home mom needs to open his eyes.
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What husbands should know about being a mom
Husbands that become dads don’t really start to feel the emotions we feel until the baby is born. Some may not feel it immediately, and that’s ok. Not every mama feels that sudden love when she holds that baby for the first time.
For me, my eldest was so strange in those moments I first held her. I was so freaked out, yet my heart swelled with love when I looked at her.
My husband seemed far more confused but soon became smitten.
Why? He wasn’t the one carrying her around in his belly all that time.
Once he had the chance to bond with her, it was a whole different story. As for our youngest, he was already in father mode, so when she was born, he held her constantly when I wasn’t nursing her or holding her myself.
I think he learned something there, but for him and all the dads out there, this is what you guys need to understand about being a mom.
It’s constantly changing
One of my friends had told me that just when I felt like I was getting the hang of this mom thing, a new phase would ensure, and I’d feel just as lost and clueless. She hit the nail right on the head.
When my girls were babies, I felt like I never knew what I was doing. And guess what? I still feel that way even now that they’re bigger. Because they’re going through new phases and challenges.
So, husbands, we feel lost and clueless. We feel alone. We need not feel like we don’t know which way to go. Sometimes, a hug helps, or a simple “Hey, you’re doing great” will cheer us onward.
It takes up all your time
Feeling overwhelmed as a mother and wife often is due to having chores and kids to manage throughout the day. When mine were little, I thought it was impossible to get anything done.
Even when the eldest was in preschool, my little one was here. We moved into a new house, and while my husband was at work, I tried to put everything in its proper place.
Only the little one didn’t want to be left alone upstairs, even with those cool toys.
Now that they’re bigger, they interrupt what I’m often doing when they’re on breaks from school.
And when my husband isn’t working and is sitting on the couch watching sports, guess who gets interrupted from work, household tasks, or even just trying to read a good book? Me!
The kids will always go to Mommy first. I know this happens to every other mama I know too.
So husbands, please, encourage the kids to come to you when you’re not in the middle of work. Or take over some of the chores. Pretty please with sugar on top!
It makes you feel lonely
My husband looks around and sees all my friends with kids and thinks I have plenty of people in my life. But when he acts like a child that can’t find the eggs in the fridge (front and center!), I feel like I’m raising another child.
He doesn’t realize that, yes, I have lots of friends that are moms. But not all of them live nearby where we can get together often. And for those that do, we all have other things going on, like work or chores and taking our kids to their activities. It may take NASA to sync up our schedules.
But you have the kids! Yes, I do. But I want someone my age to talk to and hang out with. Like you! So, please, husbands, don’t be another child to us. Be our partners instead.
It’s a full-time job
Motherhood is a 24/7 job that never ends. And you don’t get paid for it. So any mama that stays at home full-time is working her buns off. And if you also work a job on top of being a mama, you know you’re a rockstar too.
Husbands tend to come home from a day of work and put their feet up. I get it, you’re tired, and you worked all day. I appreciate you making good money for our family.
However, you made these kids too, and it won’t kill you to interact with them a bit so I can cook dinner. Or for you to cook dinner while I deal with them. We’re supposed to be a team.
Motherhood is a career, so please, husbands, pitch in a bit more. Those 15 minutes you spend cleaning up dinner and washing the dishes will be so appreciated so we can just sit down and read something that isn’t a kids’ book in absolute peace.
It’s all the emotions
Husbands don’t understand hormones. At all. Though mine is surely trying.
Depending on where I am in my cycle, I may just randomly burst into tears. For new mamas, those hormones are bonkers. So husbands, if you can’t understand hormones, understand that what your wife and the mother of your kids need right now is extra kindness from you.
Let her feel like she can come to you and talk to you about her feelings. She’s not looking for you to fix her. She’s looking for you just to listen and hug her. Try it, and I promise your marriage will improve instantly.
How to be a better mom and wife?
Naturally, it’s not all about what your husband can do to improve. It’s not that you’re not a good wife and mom already. But if you’re feeling stuck and frustrated, there are some things you can do to improve your situation.
I know every day is different. Every day is a challenge, but our best defense as moms and wives is to set a routine. If you do that, you get a better start to your day, and even when things go haywire, it’s easier to get back on track.
But aside from routine, I urge you to do something to be a better mom and wife…take care of YOUR needs.
Oh, but Leslie! How can I put MY needs before the baby?
You HAVE TO.
If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll have nothing left to give.
It’s not selfish to fulfill your needs.
And by needs, I mean taking care of your mental and physical health. I don’t mean leaving the baby at home alone so you can take that painting class you wanted. Though signing up for a class is a great way to fill your cup (as long as you have someone to watch the baby).
One way to take care of yourself, which I’m probably going to get lots of flack for, but I don’t care, is to get up earlier.
I know. I KNOW.
I hate mornings. HATE THEM.
But when you have kids in the house, get up before them. It will take a week or two to form this habit.
Why would I tell you to torture yourself like this? Because the house is quiet when everyone is asleep. You can make your coffee, start your day reading, or pick up a bit, so the house isn’t a mess. You can get those lunch boxes packed. You can get out of your pajamas and put on some makeup to feel like yourself.
You can also do yoga or exercise, something else that should be in your plan for putting yourself first. Mornings are a great way to get things done without being interrupted. So use them wisely. Here are some me-time ideas for moms.
Additionally, you can be a better wife and mom for those wakeful hours by keeping off your phone when present with your kids and husband. And I ask your husband to do the same.
We teach our kids habits for devices even before giving them one of their own. They will model that behavior if they see you constantly on your phone.
Show your kids that there is more to life than what appears before them on the screen. Take them to the park, so you all get fresh air and a chance to run around.
The bottom line is this: if you want to be a better wife and mom, be present and take care of yourself. Everything else will naturally fall into place when you feel happy and fulfilled.
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.