Marriage isn't fair, and it shouldn't be. Say what?
After kids enter the picture, the marital relationship undergoes a natural and substantial shift. Mom is good at some stuff. Dad is good at some stuff, but those stuffs are usually different.
Sometimes Mom's strengths are required more than Dad's, like when there's a newborn in the house. It's just par for the course that your husband is kinda out of the loop, for several months, especially if you're nursing. Not to say that my husband didn't clock a lot of hours rocking and singing colicky babies to sleep, but I did the heavy lifting during the first year of all three kid's lives. I had the uterus and the boobs. My fate was sealed.
Even still, there was resentment. I knew on a rational level that none of this was my husband's fault (or was it?), but watching him lost in peaceful slumber, on the other side of the bed, while a baby slept on my face, got to me. Curse words were mumbled in his direction from time to time, or maybe every time.
There are plenty of moments when his strengths out shadow mine, like in Every. Single. Emergency. I'm howling on the side line, and he's the force of calm, cool, and collected. Or, when the babes are sick, he's the one on graveyard shift, sleeping on their bedroom floors, administering medicine, and taking temperatures all night long, because I'm a useless lump after 7:30 p.m. He's also the voice of reason when I'm too indulgent with the kids or have gotten into the habit of lazy discipline, because I've taken leave to my mental happy place and have lost awareness of the children playing with swords in the corner. He gives me subtle nudges when I'm overexplaining, or showing the kids real life brain surgeries on YouTube. Yeah, that happened last week. Regrettable.
There will be seasons when one person is doing more, because their strengths are required. Not to say that the partner should straight up bow out, but it's just not their time to shine. Acknowledging and honoring one another's strong suits, while viewing the inequity as natural, can help to allay resentment. We've taken on these rolls in our households because we're good at them. Part of being a mom means multitasking and storing mass quantities of small bits of information, pertaining to each child's life. Most dad's can remember every line from every movie made in the 80's, but birthdays elude them. Your kid has to go to somebody to watch The Goonies with. That's a skill set in and of itself.
The best thing we can do for one another is to show appreciation, all the time, even when you just want to linger in a lil' bit of bitter. If you're anything like me, appreciation means just as much, if not more than a helping hand. When I know I'm handling something, and handling it well, I'm fine with my husband stepping off. But, I still want to be acknowledged. Over the years, I've come to notice that gratitude is most scarce when I'm not practicing what I preach. It's easy to lose cognizance of what your partner is up to around the house when you're sulking about a lack of recognition.
Praise well and praise often, because you get what you give. I'm learning that if I want my husband to shift his behavior, I first need to mend my own. It takes humility to pull it off, and some tongue biting, but it's got about a hundred percent success rate. Appreciation is cyclical. So, maybe tomorrow morning you should make him a couple eggs and some coffee, or throw a love note his way. You never know, you might come home to folded laundry.