9 Things We Can Do For Our ‘Stay-At-Home-Parent’ Partners (a.k.a ‘Constant Naggers’)

Posted: April 18, 2019

Stay at home parents – usually the moms – do not have an ‘easy life’. Respecting each other and the work they do, whether in or outside the home, is essential to create a truly happy family. 

It felt like I live in a Utopian world when I decided to replace the much-expected word ‘Mom’ with ‘Parent’ in the headline. But I also despise myself in equal measure, to have begun the article by recounting, that even today the discussion around gender-based roles in the context of a family holds so much significance. Though gender inequality is a menace prevalent in all walks of our lives, yet what we see inside our homes, where we are surrounded by our own family members, is far more ironical and dichotomous.

The irony of a ‘modern’ household

We have very triumphantly shed away the traditional and embraced the modern ways of living. We have smart homes, we have grown to place our trust in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. But we have miserably failed to even scratch the surface of an issue that has been staring right in our face since time immemorial.

It’s never a moment of epiphany for any of us when we witness these disparities breaking the emotional and psychological walls of our so-called modern homes. That is because we have been deeply conditioned to think like this and to no one’s surprise we also refuse to push back, question and challenge any of it. It’s so ingrained in our thought process that it has become a blind spot for everyone involved in the process.

The result? Women’s dual burden…

The result is that the lion’s share of managing a household workload continues to be borne by the ‘women of the family.’ This is irrespective of the fact as to whether they have a full-time day job, outside or inside the premise of their homes.

We increasingly encourage our young girls to chase their dreams and become financially independent. But we are also quite organically missing out on making our young boys independent too. This is especially true when it comes to sharing household responsibilities. I would rather say that the modern day men, who pitch in household work, definitely need and deserve an appreciation. This is because they do it against all odds of societal expectations of being born as a Man.

It is time that we start questioning and neutralising these archaic concepts. We can do so by consciously developing a perspective and stepping outside the set boundaries of the patriarchial system.

The birth of the ‘Nagger’

Now hold on to your thoughts if you are expecting some sob story from the seemingly underprivileged partner and the ‘stay-at-home-parent’ that I am to my daughter. It is merely a testimony to the fact that I narrated above. We need to look inward and see what examples are we truly setting in front of our kids with regards to gender equality and feminism.

This article intends to address only those sets of ‘better-halves’ who have no idea about what their partners (parents) are up to when they themselves are out working hard at their workplaces. That, of course, gets food on the table. However, it also creates a lack of empathy for their partners who run the complete show of managing the household that as much belongs to them also. They are someone, who happily take the liberty to feel entitled but also constantly judge their partners to be “naggers.” It even defies all scientific data that proves that women fare better than men on multitasking and juggling between a multitude of roles.

So, what really is “not right“?

Have we ever wondered – why do our partners nag?

What can we do to help the situation or make them feel better?

Well, I have a limited experience of having an independently managed nuclear family of my own for over a decade. I have played the roles of both a wife (who had a full-time day job) and now a ‘mother’ (who stays at home and pursues her passion because of a supportive partner). I have tried to put down my thoughts, a few simple gestures and efforts, that could help. This also stems from the fact that I and my partner have grown and evolved in our relationship over the years. We have learned from situations that life threw at us, basically tried to understand what each one of us could have done to break any sort of a ‘glass ceiling’ in our family.

This also helped us realise the fact that the only passion of a stay-at-home-partner isn’t just to stay at home and manage the household. It is a lot more than that. It can be perceived only if we keep an open mind and are able to adapt.

Please read further – only with an open mind.

  • Acknowledge – The mother becomes the primary caretaker and default parent, essentially due to reasons which are biological in nature. But when did it become any easier for her? It’s the world’s toughest job that drains her out completely – physically, emotionally and mentally. Then why did we stop acknowledging all that she goes through right from conception till forever? No amount of kind words or gestures of appreciation will ever be enough to complement motherhood. But at least we can genuinely acknowledge her efforts at every step. All that she needs to know and hear is that she is the best and she is doing her best. That she is loved and respected for exactly who she is; that we have got her back, and she can talk to us freely. That we will never judge her for her temperament and apprehensions.

 

  • Be kind – She may not ask for or even take help when offered because she is constantly simmering under the heat of her own guilt. Believe it or not. All that a mother gains out of the entire process of motherhood is – a pang of big fat guilt- and that is not going anywhere, anytime soon. It’s self-created, self-inflicted and self-sabotaging. Can we not at some point make an effort to fathom, that this mother who is incessantly prioritising every moment, keeping everything else above her own needs, can be, or will be frustrated perennially? That she has all the valid reasons to break down on several occasions? What does it take to just be kind and patient with her? Help her figure out a way out of this guilt. Not every woman who is a mother is emotionally independent. That’s how diverse our background and upbringing is. So it would help if we could empathize.

 

  • Listen – Many men feel that women are some strange creatures, high on hormonal steroids, who can never be understood, so why care? But when it is obvious that she needs you, just be there to hug and comfort her. Be completely present at that moment when all that she needs is a little attention from you. Or is it that multitasking isn’t your forte, so again, why care? From being a husband or a father, just try and step into the shoes of being her best friend, a true ‘partner-in-life’ who is always by her side. Someone who doesn’t mistake her meltdowns, lack of confidence, tears and emotional inadequacy to handle herself as a sign of weakness? Just be her ‘punching bag’ ( you will never get hurt physically, you know that, right?)

 

  • Take over – I often hear the fathers say, “I take care of the kids completely at the weekends.” My only question to you is – When you come back from a long day at work, you need space and time to recharge, don’t you? Then, how is it any different for her? Share the responsibilities as soon as you step into that world. It’s not about one day or weekend, but every day. Small meaningful breaks can do wonders to the morale of the person who is neck deep into responsibilities of running errands (Do we also forget, that this is a basic physiological and psychological need if nothing else?)

 

  • Reassure – You could always find yourself in a situation where you are constantly being subjected to nagging, crying, and cribbing. Understand and figure out ways you can pitch in. And once you understand, pitch in with all your might and honesty. Women are highly emotional creatures. They can read through your faces, body language, and vibes. If anything is just a show tell, she will just know it. Your reassurance of being with her at every step builds her confidence and makes all her efforts so much worth it. She would eventually stop seeking your attention negatively and focus her energies on more constructive work (nothing is guaranteed though). Yes, I know what you are thinking – indeed it is a lot of hard work and I agree.

 

  • Motivate – While postpartum depression is real, it is often more prevalent in the first year of childbirth. But mommies tend to make the art of mommying to be the sole driver and essence of their days. That’s all they have to brood over the whole day. In the process, they tend to get frustrated, feel dependent and stuck. They feel helpless and are unaware of any conscious efforts they can make to come out of it. While some women are more self-motivated and aware than others, a lot of us are not. Most of us need help and motivation from our best-halves who presumably have their sanity in place.

 

  • Respect – Many people don’t view a SAHM’s work as work because she doesn’t receive a paycheck for the 24 hours*7 days *52 weeks a year that she is on duty with no/less number of holidays & leaves as compared to her working counterparts. An interesting study shows that a stay-at-home mom would earn $143,102 a year for all the jobs she performs if she were paid. Though her unwavering passion and dedication towards her family aren’t worth putting a price tag on, the least we can do is respect her, and never compare her to others. Just imagine, if someday, she decides to return the favours – by comparing you with other men. You won’t like the taste of your own medicine, would you?

 

  • Rekindle the Love – Date nights or alone time away from kids is a no-brainer. But it needs a plan. Yeah, it may seem quite orchestrated, but that’s how it is. We are no longer in that phase when we can wait for things to happen organically. You need to make it happen. Fostering emotional intimacy can help you stay connected. It can also help iron out other peripheral issues which can get difficult for both of you after the addition of a new member in the family.

 

  • Prioritise – You have only as much time to achieve so much after you step into the world of parenting. You have to be good at prioritising too, along with your partner. You have to be ready to work your way around tight schedules to pursue your individual passions. Parenthood, in no way, means putting an end to what defines and motivates you as an individual. You, along with your wife, should have space and time to chase individual passions (scrolling through social media updates isn’t what I mean here). Doing these things can have a delightful impact on your relationship.

Well, this list isn’t infinite, and that makes it workable, right?

They say it takes a village to bring up a child. Some of you might be lucky to have a constant support system- a village, to come to your rescue. But if you are not, then it is all the more reason to become a real ‘partner-in-life’ to your wife now, isn’t it? Someone, that she could give examples about, to her gang of girls when she goes out on a coffee date with them. She could take a mommy break, while you enjoy your date with the kid(s) back at home or anywhere else.

Doesn’t it paint an image of the family that ‘Lived Happily Ever After’ in your mind?

Top image is a scene from the Hindi movie Tumhari Sulu

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Hello! I Am Tanushree - A Digital Nomad Mom, Traveler, Travel & Lifestyle Blogger, Instagrammer, Freelance Writer,

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