I promised to be a little more patient and my husband promised to be a little faster. That's the compromise we reached once it became clear that I had gotten used to barking orders: "Get the washcloth! Bring me the bottle! Go find him the tiny little stuffed dog he loves that is usually in his crib but not here right now!" Yes, I mean those exclamation points.
According to new research that I wrote about in a post on my Expecting Words blog, 90 percent of couples say their relationship is worse since they had a baby. I suspect it's because life tends to feel like an emergency all the time when there's a baby or toddler around. The sense of urgency means many of us push niceties, tactfulness and respect to the side for the greater good (the child).
I read a story a few months ago about a mom who was bathing her three young kids in the tub, and once they were nearly all clean, IT happened. The youngest pooped in the tub. I can only imagine what the mom yelled to her husband in that moment. She ended up having to take them out, clean the tub and then bathe them all again. I think she would deserve a pass on any barked orders.
But the truth is that in general, a child does not equal a state of emergency, and I have to remind myself of this for the other greater good (my marriage). If I don't have that exact toy my son wants for another five minutes, he can just deal with that, and so should I. If my back is hurting because I've been holding the kid for too long and my husband wants to go to the bathroom and wash his hands and change out of his work clothes before taking over, I should just put the child down. So what if he whines for a few minutes? (It'll be my husband's job to deal with our son's bad mood when he gets out of the bathroom anyway, but don't tell him I said that!)
Mostly, I need to remember that words like "Please," "Thank you," "Would you mind…?" and "Do you think you could…?" are meant for the man I love, too, not just for strangers helping me in a store or taking my order at a restaurant.
Share: I'm curious to know if other moms have barked more orders since having a baby. What's the worst thing you've barked? Do you try to say "Please" and "Thank you" to your honey? Would you consider yourself a bossy mom? Is your mate a bossy dad? If you need help becoming less bossy, check out my bestselling book Fight Less, Love More.
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About the author: Laurie Puhn, J.D., author of the bestselling book Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship Without Blowing Up or Giving In, is a family lawyer, couples mediator and television personality. Visit www.expectingwords.com to read her relationship advice blog for new parents and expecting couples.
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