Thursday, May 31, 2012


Have you ever noticed, especially if you are a stay-at-home mom, that your husband's day off can sometimes feel like a bit of a let-down? Perhaps you had high hopes of how fun the day would be or all the little projects you'd get accomplished or how relaxed you'd feel with the extra help. But at the end of the day you just feel frustrated and disappointed.

I've been thinking about this for a while because I realized that this was happening to me but I didn't know why. I didn't feel like my husband was doing anything wrong. I was just disappointed by how the day unfolded.

Then it dawned on's totally a matter of expectations.

You see, all week long I am fully capable of loading kids in and out of the car by myself. I can arrange our day to prepare dinner without needing assistance. It doesn't frustrate me during the week that I am the only one who comes running when Sammy needs someone to wipe his butt.

But, when my husband is there, suddenly it can feel like a burden.

Andy has been gone for almost 10 days on a mission trip. I know that lots of people have been praying for me and God has given me an extra measure of strength during this time. And you know what? I've been fine! I'm not bitter that I have to do bed time routine every night. I'm not on the verge of tears because no one's helping me clean the dishes or put away toys. I'm not frustrated that I have to take the trash to the curb. I had prepared my heart and mind for this trip. My expectations were set and God has given me the grace to do the work.

Although I never said this to Andy (or even to myself), I realized that I was expecting Andy to pretty much come in and be the "mom" on his day off. I guess I thought, "I've been with these kids all week and I'd like a day off, too. So I'd like YOU to get the kids' shoes on, buckle them in their carseats, wipe their butts & noses (not with the same tissue!), notice household projects that need attention, voluntarily clean random things, and deal with this insurance mess than I couldn't figure out. Oh yeah, but I also want you to be the "dad". So make sure you wrestle with the boys and play soccer in the front yard and tell fantastic stories." And if all those things didn't happen just the way I wanted them to, I ended up frustrated.

That sounds really extreme and this is the first time I ever processed it in writing. I don't want to give the impression that I was harboring bitterness toward my husband. I wasn't. And I don't want you to think that Andy doesn't help out. He does. I would just would feel a ping of disappointment, and I didn't know why.

So here's what I've discovered...

I've discovered that I am a much more peaceful and joyful person when I intentionally shift my expectations. If I have the expectation that I will need to fulfill my normal "mom" role even on my husband's day off, then any help he provides is seen as a blessing. I stop holding him hostage in my heart for wanted to do something as scandalous as take a nap (gasp!) and give him the freedom to contribute in the ways that work for him.

I realize that parenting is a partnership and this post is not intended to absolve a father's responsibility to his family. I'm simply saying the I think you will be able to enjoy that man so much more if you will let him off the hook of your unattainable expectations.

God has given you work to do and He will give you the strength to do it. Sometimes we legitimately need help. But other times, it's just a matter of expectations. 

1 comment:

Prairie said...

Excellent post! Such a great observation that many of us can definitely relate to in our lives. Thank you.