By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
Studies come and go.
Some seem like hogwash. Others seem like genius.
Here’s an excellent example of the latter: A British economist reports that divorce rates are lower in families where husbands help out with the housework, shopping and child care.
I could have saved Wendy Sigl-Rushton a lot of time and expense, as she studied 3,500 British couples.
“This research … suggests that fathers’ contributions to unpaid work at home stabilizes marriage regardless of mother’s employment status,” Ms. Sigl-Rushton notes.
Her study analyzed married couples who had their first child in 1970, a time when most mothers of young children stayed home.
Sigl-Rushton says her result suggests that the risk of divorce among working mothers, while greater, is substantially reduced when fathers contribute more to housework and child care.
Hands up, ladies: How many of you would be happier if hubby helped more around the house and with the kids?
Next question: Have you told him you need his help?
Don’t expect Dad to have the same brilliant intuition that we females have. He’s sitting over there in his boxers with the remote in one hand and a dull stare on his face. He’s not naturally given to thinking, “Gee, how can I help my wife today?”
Dad, what you should be thinking is that the little lady of the house is likely to be in much more of a companionable, nay I say romantic mood, if you will give her a real bit of participation in what needs to be done.
Frankly, Dad, if you think about it, Mom probably has a day job. She’s out there at least as long as you are every day.
But she’s the one expected to do the shopping, cook the meals and keep the little house tidy so that varmints don’t decide it looks like fun to walk across your sleeping face at night.
Mom, you are not Super Woman. I tried that back in the early ’80s, and, frankly, it was a disaster.
Oh, I could do all those things, have a couple of children, oversee new-home construction and work a job that took 24/7 devotion.
Sure, but “crash and burn” is not where you want to end up.
So, it’s up to you, little lady, to ask for his help in a calm, confident tone. Dad, I’m just feeling overwhelmed by all the work it takes here and at the office. I believe I can maintain my sanity and sweet disposition, if you will help me. Can we talk about how we can work together?
Then make a list of who’s going to do what, how and when. Post it on the fridge with a spot for a check-off. Set a monthly couple’s meeting to talk about how it’s going.
And just like that puppy you’re also working to crate-train, positive reinforcement is the best way to continue improvements.
Say thank you. Cook something nice for Sunday dinner.
Spray on that new perfume just before you retire for the night.
Be a good partner and the facilitator for making it work.
It’s a shame you have to be so intentional, but that’s just the way it is. Success will be delightful. Keep that in mind.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.