All Hail the Catty Queens!
Long time reader, first time writer here, and I want to say you make me laugh, you make me cry, you make me spit on my screen in rage! So here’s my issue, I travel often for work. As of last count I’ve been away from my wife and child for about 1/5th of the year (between 60-70 days so far, with another 10-15 to go probably). So here’s the issue, how do you handle the going and coming transition? With Mom taking up so many of the duties (homework, bath time, etc.) how does Dad (me) handle that when in town, especially when Mom has trouble letting go? It’s not fair to me or my wife having issues coming and going. She is cheating herself of time when she won’t let me help our child do homework or get ready for bed. And I lose some of the precious hours I would otherwise get because she doesn’t want to let me do for the child. What’s the compromise? How can we survive? How can we transition in such a way that we are both happy?
Thanks for your thoughts, catty and constructive, Tom Catt
Dearest Tom Catt,
First and foremost, you have no idea how happy it makes the AIBC team to hear you say we make you laugh, cry, and spit on your screen in rage. We are pretty sure more rewarding words have never been spoken. <grin>
First, it is important to point out your acknowledgement that this situation isn’t working for your family is the first step! Now, let’s hash out some possible reasons WHY this issue is occurring:
1) One possible explanation is that the world’s best wife (see what we did there?) may be trying to be efficient with your time at home by letting you have some down time since you have to take on the burden of being gone from the family. (However, many of us being mothers and wives, ourselves, we find this unlikely)
2) Additionally, the types of jobs that require lots of travel typically compensate one financially for being away from his/her family a lot. Is there a chance you are the bread winner and mommy dearest is trying to make up the difference (read balance out her insecurities and justify her purpose) with chores/deeds? Some of the AIBC team members have experienced these exact feelings!
3) Lastly, this may be a control issue. If Wife Supreme sees what is best because she is around 100% of the time then you need to respect her as a parenting SME (corporate jargon for Subject Matter Expert). She has done that rodeo before and knows what works. There is a chance you may be coming in and unintentionally planting flags, trying to justify your parenting existence at the detriment to everyone’s sanity. THAT BEING SAID, you can likely come in and offer a new perspective that is valuable because we humans are known for getting stuck in ruts and never seeing a better way as a result.
Please note that the three reasons listed above are intended to get your brain gear a-turning, and your situation may not fall under any of these reasons specifically.
So, now that we’ve discussed the potential WHYs, let’s discuss possible next steps:
1) This all falls back on communication or lack thereof. We suggest talking t her during a scheduled date night to express your desire to help.
A: You must communicate to her that you want to help
B: You must communicate to her how it makes you feel that she won’t let you help (this can potentially be taken as a stab at your parenting/homework/housework abilities)
C: She must communicate to you why she won’t let you help (is it because of a reason we mentioned or some other reason?)
2) We think the two of you should sit down together and make a list of things that need to be done daily, weekly, and monthly. Cliché? Yes, but honestly it is cliché because it works! Make a list of the things you would like to take over when you are at home. Both of you should agree on what and how things should be done (i.e. homework first, 20 minutes of a game or reading, any chores, etc…) Have an agreement on the front end about expectations and what will happen if they aren’t met. You take equal responsibility for holding your partner accountable! For example: When both parents are in town, Dad cooks dinner and Mom will do the laundry. Whatever works for the pair, but if Dad drops the dinner duty, well . . . let’s just say Mom probably has a few aces up her sleeve if Dad’s uncooperative.
3) The thing is, if you say you want to help out then step up and start helping! There is nothing sexier than a man that sees dirty clothes on the floor, scratches his head in wonderment musing to himself about why they’d be on the floor instead of in a hamper!
This could be an amazing way for Mom to get some down time when Dad IS in town and helping out. Encourage her to attend a movie with a girlfriend, shop for herself, or have a glass of wine in the bathtub. She probably just struggles letting go a little when she’s “on duty” so much of the time.
We can almost guarantee that any man will ALWAYS be able to speak to his wife about wanting to “step up” and take on more house and dad duties. That is the shit we women WISH romance novels were made of.
So, good luck, Tom. We admire your industry in reaching out to us as the opposite of a Dead-Beat Dad. We’re willing to bet your wife is pretty lucky to have you.
If you think we’ve hit the nail on the head with our response, feel free to have her read it. We’ll happily say it for you, but I can almost guess it will be much better delivered straight from your mouth complete with a box of chocolates, red wine, a spa day, and a dozen red roses. What? Too much?
Now please get to work,
The Am I Being Catty Team
- Not Your Mom’s “Dear Abby”. (amibeingcatty.wordpress.com)