As a parent, having children comes with a lot of responsibility. It is truly a full-time job that you never get a vacation from. Are you struggling with the feeling that your partner is not helping you with the parenting of your child(ren) the way you would like them to? Do you feel like you’re often doing the work alone? We know this can be very frustrating on the partner who feels they are doing more of the parenting tasks. It also can cause feelings of overwhelm, irritability, and resentment, which can increase the likelihood of relationship conflict. The longer this goes on, the more challenging it can be to navigate and cope with.
There are many reasons why one partner might feel like they are carrying the brunt of the responsibilities when it comes to childrearing. It’s important to distinguish a key difference in these reasons.
Ask yourself, “Do I feel like I’m doing more of the work because my partner is unable to help OR because they can help but do not seem willing to?
For some, it may feel like your partner doesn’t help with parenting because they are unable to. Examples could look like: being in the military, traveling often for work, living in a different state, demanding work schedules, or other reasons they are often legitimately absent from the home. For others, it may feel as though your partner is available and present to help out more, but makes you feel that don’t want to or are incapable of it. Either way, both of these situations are valid and frustrating.
If you’re partner is unavailable to help more with parenting in this phase of life for whatever reason, it is very likely this is temporary. In the meantime, you’re still likely needing some support. Consider what support might look like that could come from others. Maybe this could support could come from family, friends, a church group, your local community, a mom’s support group, or other avenue. Perhaps you and a friend or other mom take turns with school pick ups and drop offs. Or perhaps a family member would be willing to help out one day a week with childcare while you get errands or work done. Support is out there, we just have to ask for help.
But what do I do if my support person IS available but does not want to or seem able to help out? This can be a very upsetting and frustrating place to be in. If your partner is capable to help out more, consider identifying two to three things you could really use their help with, and be specific. Examples could look like, “I need your help with drop offs. Can you take the kids to school Tuesdays and Thursdays when I work?”. It could also look like, “I need more help in the evenings and it would be helpful if you started doing bath times. Is that something you are willing to do?”. Our partner’s and co-parents do know what we need unless we tell them, which may mean we ask for help more. If you do this and your partner is still not helping out the way you’d like, talking to an individual therapist or couple counselor could also be helpful.
No matter what phase of life you’re in, whether that’s diapers, tantrums, extracurriculars, school schedules, or somewhere in between, parenting is a lot of work. Having a supportive and helpful partner really can make all the difference, and we also know that sometimes partners are unable or unwilling to help for whatever reason. If you are struggling with feeling alone in your childrearing and would like more support, please reach out today for a free consultation. Let’s talk about how we can support you in getting the help you need.