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My husband won’t chip in!
Q: How can I get my husband to help out with the family chores more? He works full-time and I work part-time but am on call at home 24/7, as I take care of our two small children. He feels he does his part by working full-time and doing some of the “guy things,” like cutting the grass and taking care of the cars. I need help with the children, but he seems to think this is my role. Please help!
Tawny Springfield
A: When a mum becomes a parent, her work becomes endless. If a father persists in arguing that he is the full-time earner in the family and therefore does not need to fully participate at home, he will lose in two ways:

One, he will end up putting a wedge between himself and his wife because women feel unappreciated and abandoned when their husbands refuse to help.

Secondly, he will lose out in not parenting his children. Being a parent means nurturing, bathing, feeding and taking care of kids when they are ill. It means giving mum a chance to recharge by helping out. There are so many ways a man can help out at home. For example, children need help getting ready for school, at bedtime and with homework.

Many men do not realise that giving at home will not only enrich their lives as a parent but also strengthen their marriage. In my opinion, the number one cause of divorce in this country is men’s refusal to parent as a team and their refusal to share household duties.

I hope your husband will read my response, and that he can appreciate what I’m saying. He has everything to gain by joining up with you. For your part, help your husband by avoiding two mistakes women generally make:

The first is insisting that your husband do things at home your way. I call this “the mum-Knows-Best Syndrome.” Men are different from women and will do things differently. This doesn’t mean they are doing things wrong.

The second mistake is to avoid leaving the children home with Dad so he can fully enjoy them. Mothers are so powerful in the eyes of their children that they almost always go to mum when she’s home. When mum steps out, the children have to go to Dad. Dad and the children then begin to discover a whole new world with each other.

Please consider my advice. I spend a good part of my career talking with wives who resent their husbands, and husbands who wonder why their wives are no longer fun and affectionate with them.

Kenneth N. Condrell Ph.D Child Psychologist