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It’s no secret that moms are tired all of the time. I don’t mean, the “I could take a nap” tired that most adults over the age of 30 feel. I mean the, “I could sleep for days, I have no energy or motivation to move” level of exhaustion. Moms have it hard and their desire to satisfy everyone’s needs around them leaves them feeling exhausted. If you’re a husband who feels like you do a ton around the house to support your family and your wife but still feel like your wife is tired all the time, stick around, keep reading. I will let you in on a little secret. Your wife is tired, and guess what? You are partly to blame.
It’s time for a little story.
Just last summer, we planned a little mountain getaway to try and escape quarantine. It was only for a few nights, and just a two hour drive away. With a family of five, even a little weekend trip takes a lot of work. I spent the days leading up to the trip, planning the grocery list, packing the bags, organizing doggy daycare, setting our budget and planning our activities.
When it came time to leave. My husband, who is a wonderful helper, grabbed the bags, did some serious heavy lifting and loaded up the car. He made sure the house was locked up and secure. Got the kids shoes on, and buckled them in. He even made me a coffee to go and we hit the road.
No less than two minutes into the drive my husband, who was driving, asked “do you want me to take the highway or should I take the toll road?”
I lost it.
I was furious. I looked at him and in a not so nice tone replied something along the lines of “you seriously cannot pick which way to go?” He was so confused. You know that look husbands give when they know they did something wrong but honestly don’t know what it was? Yep, that was the look he had on his face and rightfully so.
I know he was thinking, “I have been so helpful today”. And he had. He loaded the car, he did all the physical grunt work and didn’t even complain once. He waited for me to let him know bags were ready to go and then he lugged them out to the car. He made me coffee. He helped with the kids. He got up early. He filled the cooler with ice. He totally chipped in, so why was he in trouble?
Here’s the deal. After reflecting on that moment in the car, I realized that I couldn’t make one more single decision because I was mentally exhausted. That’s just it. My husband did all the heavy lifting. All the physical heavy lifting that is. I had done ALL the mental work in preparation for the trip. I had planned everything. I picked the weekend, scheduled lodging, arranged doggy daycare, planned the clothes and what needed to be packed… so much so, that deciding which route to take literally pushed me over the edge.
I was so exhausted from the preparation that I literally resented my husband for his ability to just “show up” and have a wonderful vacation planned for him.
Decision Making is Exhausting
Husbands, it’s wonderful that you chip in and help out around the house. I have a wonderful husband that cooks and cleans and does laundry on the regular. But you know what?
Your wife is tired because she’s asked to make a thousand decisions every day.
She doesn’t want to parent you too.
Share the mental load with your wife. Don’t wait for her to tell you what needs to be done around the house. Just do it. If you see something that needs to be cleaned up, just clean it. We know you mean well when you say things like “how can I help?”, but even that phrase is putting the burden on her to tell you what to do.
Even worse, don’t say things like “all you have to do is ask and I’d be happy to help”. Ugh! I hate this one. Does my husband ask me to clean the toilet? Nope, I just do it because it needs to be done. Does he ask me to make the kids lunch? Nope, I just do it because it needs to be done. So why is there some expectation that all a mom has to do is ask for help and her husband will be happy to do so?
We Don't Want to Have to Ask for Help
Don’t get me wrong. We appreciate when our husbands chip in and we completely understand that you offering to help is you trying to support us but, we need the mental support too. We need to not have to make decisions. We need to not have to ask for help. We just need to turn around and see that things are done.
One of the worst chores, in my opinion, is grocery shopping. Actually, the shopping part is fine. It’s the planning the dinner menu for the week, so that you know what ingredients you need, so that you know what to put on the grocery list, that is the hard part. My husband knows that grocery shopping is not my favorite thing so he offers to go every weekend, but I wish that he would make the menu and list and then go to the store. I wouldn’t mind doing the shopping if all I had to do was take a prepared list and go buy the things on the list.
See husbands, the hard part is the planning.
Going on dates with your husband is fun, but you know what is even more fun? Not planning that date. Having a babysitter all set up, being told what time to be ready and then being taken out to somewhere that you didn’t have to pick. Now, that’s a perfect date.
Make Decisions For The Family
Don’t ask your wife to make decisions. Make the decisions for her. She will thank you for it. I promise.
Worst: “What’s for dinner?”
Better: “What would you like me to make for dinner?”
Best: “I am making meatloaf for dinner, sound good?”
I know that you asking your wife’s opinion on what she wants for dinner, or what time she’d like to go to the movies is your way of giving her choice on what she wants. I’m telling you, what she wants is to not have to make yet another decision in her day. She wants some to take the burden of the mental load off of her plate.
You Are Appreciated
Husbands, don’t get me wrong. Your wives love that you help out. They really do. Your wives appreciate you and all of your hard work. Your wives are so thankful that you load that car up with the luggage. Your wives are thankful that you ask how you can help. Just, at the end of the day, they want a partner in everything. Even in the decision making, planning and mental chores.
If you want to know why your wife is so tired at the end of the day, despite the fact that you did the dishes, folded laundry and ran to the store to give her some time to rest. It’s because she needed support with the mental load too.