When a stay-at-home/work-from-home mama (SAH/WFHM) is juggling a lot of balls (and she always is), it can be difficult to see how there’s space for teamwork. Often she’s so busy rushing from one thing to the next that her poor Papa Bear feels powerless to do anything more than watch. And you just know she’s too busy to ask for help.
To be honest, it probably doesn’t even occur to her to do. Her mantra is “This is my choice. I can do this. I MUST do this.” And, chanting that to herself as she gives the treadmill of her life what for, she soldiers on.
But just because she can do it all, that doesn’t mean she should. In fact, deeper inspection will probably reveal that she actually can’t do it all, and this is where the thoughtful Papa Bear comes into his own.
The first thing he can do is notice.
Be aware of all she does. Be cognitive and present. Be appreciative. You have no idea how far those 10 little words, “I really appreciate all that you do for our family” go in the heart of a frazzled Mama. What you don’t want to do here is be sarcastic, or in any way demeaning. Implying that the only reason she can do so much is because there’s something wrong with her (OCD, Control Freak, Maniac – these words come to mind) is counter-productive. She’s probably doing it all because she thinks she has to. Just say thank you.
The second thing he can do is innovate.
Our on-the-go Mama can’t see the wood for the trees. If you’re like the Papa Bears I know, you’re kind-of on the outside, looking in. That means you get to be objective. You might see ways to streamline operations: get the kids to help more. Take on some of the responsibility yourself. Hire a maid if you can. (It’s not a luxury when she’s homeschooling, breadwinning and getting just four hours of sleep a night. It’s a sanity saver). Helping to identify and implement practicable solutions – and see them through when she’s too tired to be consistent – will save your marriage. Seriously.
Finally, be reliable.
It’s no good saying you’ll be responsible for the laundry, then leaving it to pile up and fester around the house. It doesn’t help to identify creative solutions for managing the chores, then doing nothing to see things through. Just be there, do what you say you will, keep calm, and carry on. That’s what she needs most of all, and it’s really not that hard to do.
So go do it.
And let me know how it works out.
I’d like to help stay-at-home/work-from-home Mamas find balance and purpose in their busy lives. Let me know what I can write about to help you be the best version of yourself you can be.