My oldest kid has now been in school for six years. This is the first year that all 4 of my kids are in school for a full day! This is where I take a minute to do the happy dance! This is also the first year that my husband called me during the first week of school and asked me “How can I help this school year?” Before you read that and think he has not been present for the last six years, let me explain!
With four kiddos under the age of 10 we’ve been a little busy just keeping our heads above water day in and day out. Although we are both planners, maintaining a schedule for four little people is quite a feat. So my heart skipped a beat and I think I may or may not have had butterflies as my husband was speaking my love language when he called (acts of service BIG TIME in this season of life - insert swoon!!)
So what does all of this have to do with you? Well, I can’t tell you how many women I meet who wish their husbands did more to help with the kids. My question is always, have your expressed your expectations?
I learned in our newlywed years that the things that I saw and assumed my husband should see as needing to be done just didn’t strike him the same way they struck me. I was left with two options: expressing my expectations or becoming offended. I chose the former because effective communication always beats not expressing your needs!
So how do we do this for the school year? Here are some practical tips that will help you get the conversation started. If you'd like to dig in a little further in this area click here to schedule a complimentary 30 minute discovery coaching call with me. Let’s get started!
1. Figure out what needs to be done
Will you need help with carpool? Do you need to map out important dates on the calendar for parent/teacher conferences, recitals, and sporting activities? Who will be responsible for getting the kids ready for school? Who will lead conversations and communication with teachers?
These are all things that you should sit down as a couple or co-parents and navigate. The more you can get clear on who is responsible for what the better.
We also leave margin and grace for busy seasons of life. For example my husband is in a new position at work, which is requiring a lot of his time this year. I am very clear, and so is he, that this is just a season. This means that a bit more of the weekly kid duties falls on me. We have had a conversation though about making sure I have adequate help during this season.
2. Divide and conquer
This is not going to be even stevens, but you can figure out how you will both be involved. All of the work should not fall on one person. This means, as moms, we are going to have to allow the men to do things their way (without cringing!)
Remember, kids enjoy the time they get to bond with their dads and the way that dads do things. On the first day of school my husband and I both took our bunch. But they made it real clear that they were all going in dad’s car! I happily followed them in my quiet peaceful car - insert praise dance!
3. Show appreciation and show your spouse how they can help
Sometimes people don’t help because they don’t want to get in the way. If that’s your spouse or co-parent be patient enough to teach and show them how to do things that they don’t normally do. Of course you want to build margin in for this. If you are teaching a new skill remember to do it when there’s time, not in the moment it needs to happen. Encourage and praise the behaviors that you like and want to see more of. People always respond well to being acknowledged for their efforts.
4. Remember you are on the same team
Those sweet little faces should remind you that you are working towards a common goal, especially when the going gets tough! It’s not easy raising any amount of kids so be diligent in having open communication with your spouse or co-parent and remember you both want your child/children to be successful!