Yesterday I encouraged you, young mom (and even you too veteran mom), to write a list of expectations for yourself. It’s hard to know how to be a mom even when you’ve read a zillion books about parenting, until you actually become a parent. Still, it’s good to know what you expect of yourself as your role as a wife and woman has changed and it’s even better if your husband participates alongside you. After all, he has expectations of you with the changes to your family and YOU have expectations of HIM.
My Mister and I sat down at the onset of our second child, when I thought the adjustment was just a bit more than I expected and my sleep deprivation was taking its toll, to have a “What do we expect of each other” conversation. It was at the behest of an older and wiser mother (friend).
I wish I had known it at the start of our marriage! Because our quasi-verbal-understanding of ‘expectations’ as two became one looked like: Me- in charge of the inside (cleaning), writing out the bills, laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, holding a full time job. Him- in charge of the outside (lawn, trash, snow shoveling), car maintenance, holding a full time job. It seemed pretty easy but we had never lived with another person before and it was much more complicated than the basic division of inside and outside responsibilities. After 7 years of marriage and 2 kids we finally had the serious talk and actually wrote down our answers. But now the expectations were of a mother, spouse, and woman and vice versa father, husband, man. Click here for the expectations worksheet printable pdf.
And Here’s the Key…
I wrote what I expected of myself as well as what I expected of him.
He wrote down what he expected of me as well as what he expected of himself.
We compared lists— and have a conversation; don’t just swap papers.
AMAZEMENT at the differences. There weren’t many but there were some big ones.
My new expectations included him helping with the “inside” of our home. Though I became a stay at home mom and didn’t work outside the home, my full time job was loving, training, disciplining, our babes and I added two more people to cook for, clean for, and shop for, launder for, etc. etc. and I was tired—sleep-deprived-tired. The problem was I forgot to tell him I needed him to help. I just assumed he knew.
After we talked and we both needed to adjust our responsibilities and life was much happier in our home.
Now that we have four kids I thought I’d ask our oldest two (7 and 9 yrs) to participate in this activity. In fact, one of the comments on yesterday’s blog post inspired me to give the girls a voice with their expectations of being a daughter as well as to share their ideals for their parents. The conversation was enlightening, expected, funny, and confusing—does that sound about right for a 7 and 9 year old?! But it was very worth it!
Tomorrow- Chapter 2 thoughts/reflection for the book Desperate …. Join me!