I’m not the Primary Parent Anymore


This past summer my husband and I hit the roughest of rough spots in our marriage. It kind of took me by surprise, I mean, we are on year 7, I thought we had this marriage stuff down?

But the truth was, we had fallen into the role of primary parent (me) and dad who was present physically – but not so present mentally. We had done this without realizing it, but once I saw it, it was hard not to be bitter and angry.

Why am I the only one who knows what bills are due? Why am I the only one who can do dishes or take out the trash without being asked?

I never wanted to be the nagging wife, but for us, this turned into passive-aggressive arguments without even speaking a word. I ended up doing, well, what felt like, was everything. I planned, I cooked, I helped with homework, I kept kids entertained, and on and on and on….All while my husband was OBLIVIOUS to the day to day goings-on in our house. I finally reached a point where it was taking a lot for me to even get out of bed.

I was snapping at everyone, all the time. I was yelling and it took everything I had in me to just get through the day.

My saving grace was that I had a few bright spots that I clung to – like church and serving on the worship team. After Sunday service and rehearsal, I felt full and hopeful.

But then I would go home and things would remain the same and slowly my cup emptied.

One day I finally hit my breaking point and I couldn’t keep it in anymore. I laid it all on the table. If I’m being honest, I was ready for a fight, I was ready for him to dig his heels in and tell me that he was the provider and that was that. And I was really ready to walk away if that what was necessary for my mental health and my relationship with my kids.

But he surprised me.

Through all of my frustration and holding it all in, what I had forgotten, was that my husband is genuinely good guy. And that although he had checked out mentally, he really did love his family…and me.

So, after a summer of really hard-stuff I feel like we have righted the ship: I’m THRILLED to say I’m no longer the primary parent.

My husband has his own calendar – which is not only full of his schedule, but also full of my events and the kids’s events. He sits with me weekly/biweekly to go over finances. He goes with me for school dropoff and pickup whenever he can. If he is home in the mornings, he gets up and helps me get kids dressed. He has done the dishes more times than not. And although his new willingness to jump in and help with the daily chores is by itself amazing, it is so much more: It is the feeling of being balanced. It is the feeling of being supported and heard. 

There are additional things I’ve noticed in these last few months: my kids laugh more, they ask more questions, they don’t walk past their dad to come ask me to do things for them! 

I am actually able to get out and do more things with the kids – even if I am on my own – because I have energy and am SIGNIFICANTLY less stressed. And when I DO feel stressed or my anxiety rears its ugly head, I no longer suffer in silence or become comatose in my room for days. 

I don’t feel like ours was an uncommon situation. Any marriage meme will tell you most wives {in my opinion} take on the role as primary parent. Maybe that is what works best for your family, but if it is not working I strongly suggest making an effort in splitting the household chores more evenly {to start}.

You’d be amazed at what even an empty laundry hamper can do for your spirit. 

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