by Jamee Tenzer, PCC, BCC

Why do women sometimes feel guilty if their partner steps in to take over certain responsibilities?  After all, we really want them to take over sometimes, don’t we?

And yet, when we come home late and the kids are already bathed and put to bed, we may experience a little pang of guilt.

Or if our child says to us that they would prefer it if “Daddy” takes them shopping for back-to-school supplies, we may hesitate.  We are the ones that are supposed to fight the crowds at Target to find the “perfect backpack” and choose the #2 pencils.

And while it makes sense that we would happily turn over these tasks to our capable partner, there is often a “Should” lurking somewhere deep in the dusty file cabinets of our mind.  It seems at some point we incorrectly filed these items on the “to-do” list as “mom” tasks as opposed to “parent” tasks, and so we feel we are obligated to check these items off the list, personally.

And boy, those dusty shoulds are powerful – they can linger like a funny smell in the kitchen that is so hard to find.  We look around and see that our friends seem to be able to “do it all,” or remember that our mother was so good at (fill in the blank) and we put even more pressure on ourselves.

The truth is we would welcome some help and would love to turn over some tasks.

In fact, we often feel overwhelmed and frustrated by the fact that we seem to be managing more than is humanly possible.   We may even, on a very bad day, complain.

But when our knight in shining armor swoops in and saves the day – we feel unsure.  Is this really what we want?

Can we let go of responsibility if it means letting go of control?  Is it possible our spouse is even better at some of this stuff, than we are?

And are we willing to let him handle these tasks in his way without looking over his shoulder?  These considerations are the makings of a lumpy stew that can be hard to swallow but mighty good for us.

Maybe it’s time to consider changing our expectations and welcome some assistance even if it means letting go of some of those shoulds?

Here are 5 tips on how to get your husband/dad to help around the house:

1.  Practice asking for help before you are in a crisis.  If it would make your life a little easier to give away an errand or a small task around the house today, why not ask?

2.  When your knight in shining armor surprises you by doing something unexpected, give him lots of appreciation and zero criticism.

3.  The next time you find your spouse doing something that you feel you should be doing, notice the “should,” but don’t fall for it.  It’s just a dusty old file.

4.  Notice that when you and your spouse share responsibilities with ease, you are giving your children a wonderful example of true partnership.

5.  Remember that giving feels great and it is important to allow others to do that for you.


Feel free to email me with any questions, or leave your comments below!