I recently had a friend call me, crying about how her husband wasn’t helping her when he got home from work, and she felt helpless. She said he was a lazy husband. They both work 40 plus hours a week and have two young children. They want to relax when they get home, but life and kids just always keep them busy. My friend’s husband was oblivious to his wife’s needs and would come home and isolate himself from his family, barely helping his wife with any of the household needs OR the children’s needs.
She was having a hard time surviving every day; she was broken. I told my friend to write a letter to her husband telling him what she needed from him and why he was hurting their relationship; specifically, why he needed to contribute more to their family. If I had to write a letter to him, these are possibly the words I would use to convey my needs and emotions.
I need you. I need you to help me. We have a family and a home that needs you to contribute. We have children that need a father to play with and to love. I don’t understand why you ignore us and isolate yourself, but please help us. We need you. If you need someone to talk to, speak to us. We are here for you. We love you no matter what and we will be here for you through any situation.
I briefly spoke to my friend about her family dynamics and when she noticed her husband not being helpful. She began to notice it when their second child was born, after all their friends and family stopped coming over on a regular basis to help out. They were both back at work full time and figuring out their new schedules with two kids. She said he was clueless as to how much additional responsibilities were involved with another kid added to the picture. She admitted he was somewhat helpful with the first kid, but she would still have to ask him to help on many occasions.
After being frustrated for so many months, she realized why he wasn’t helping and it wasn’t truly because he was lazy or oblivious. She noticed that with her in laws, his mom was always cooking and cleaning at her home and his dad would usually be sitting and relaxing on the couch. He wasn’t being lazy; it was how their family operated. It was a cultural thing that the men worked and provide the income and the women stayed home and cared for the children and maintained the home. My friend’s husband wasn’t used to his wife working a “normal 9-to-5 job,” so he assumed she was able to take care of the children and the home on top of working full time.
My friend finally couldn’t take it anymore, so she spoke to her husband and told him he needed to be more involved and helpful in their family. He was understanding and didn’t realize she was so unhappy and stressed out all the time. My friend and her husband are currently working on how he can help more at home and with the kids. She encourages him every time she sees him helping and constantly tries to involve him in anything she is doing with the kids. Whether stay at home, work at home or work outside the home moms, we shouldn’t bear all the responsibilities when it comes to raising our families and maintaining our households, so I encourage all of us to speak up and get dads involved as much as possible.