Ask Dr. Phelan: Firing Manager Mom
This next question is from Melody, and it relates to a new program and book we’re working on. It’s called The Manager Mom Syndrome, which we hope to publish in the fall of 2019.
Q: What do you do with a husband who is a real traditionalist? Housework, child care, cleaning discipline, etc. all fall to the female in the household. That's the way he says he was raised.
Well, Melody, don't give up hope. There are a number of things that you can do. One of the worst things to do is to nag or argue or yell.
1. Politely stop doing your husband’s chores.
Transfer some responsibility to your husband. What I like to start with when it comes to Manager Mom problems is laundry. In a nice way, you tell your husband you're not going to do his laundry anymore. You'll do it for the kids (if they’re seven or older, they can do their own), but your husband is going to start doing his own laundry.
2. Secondary childcare
One of the issues you have is childcare. If you ask many moms what they would like for Mother's Day, they would say, “Free time!”
So how can you get more free time with a traditionalist husband? If you look at your husband's schedule, there are probably a lot of times when he's home and the kids are there, and you can consider leaving the house and taking some free time for yourself. You could take one child with you or you could go by yourself.
It may make you feel guilty. You may have to have a do a little soul-searching. But using available secondary childcare from husbands who tend to be traditionalists can be a very useful way of getting your free time.
Some women say, “My husband's not a good caretaker of the kids. I don't want to leave them there.” Your husband is about as committed to their safety and their welfare as you are, and in fact he may be a better father when you're not around.