Originally this post was directed more to parents with young kids, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised it could also apply to parents with older kids and those without kids too.
Having been on both sides of the fence, I've been lucky enough to get that unique perspective that most men don't get. I'm talking about working full time and being at home full time. Nine times out of ten men don't get to see this side. Being at home with kids is a different beast altogether. I've spoken of some of the other challenges that I've had before in previous blogs, but today I thought I'd share what I've learnt about "managing expectations". For example...
Scenario 1: Being at work
When you come home from a long, busy day at work, sometimes you want to just kick back, relax and unwind. The last thing you want to do help cook or clean. A lot of the time intimacy with your spouse, physical or intellectual, is also not top of your list. Sex or a deep and meaningful conversation take a back seat to watching TV, getting to the gym, reading or doing something else to take your mind off the day you’ve had.
Scenario 2: Being at home
You've spent the day looking after the (terrorist) kids, cleaning up mess and doing household chores. If you haven't managed to leave the house, then the arrival home of your partner is usually welcomed. You can finally get a little help and a little adult interaction. You want conversation that is more that just "NO!", "Don't touch that" and "take your finger out of there". You might crave adult touch to remind you who you are. Sometimes, when you've been wearing your comfy clothes and you're covered in food and grime, you just want to feel sexy and wanted again.
Hopefully when you read this, you get what I mean because this is you! Or maybe you both work. Or maybe your situations are reversed. Or maybe it's slightly different, whatever it is, the outcomes are the same, which is that each person usually has different expectations. They see their day from their point of view. And when you've had a hard or long or busy day, it can be difficult to see things from your partners point of view.
I'll be honest, I don't have "the answer" because I'm not a relationship therapist. However, I always remember being told something along the lines of "When you put your wife first, you're putting your children first." Meaning that when your relationship with your partner is strong, it filters down to the children. So maybe next time, stop for a second and try to see things from the other point of view. Put their needs before yours. Maybe then they'll try to put your needs before theirs. Of course, it’s not going to work all of the time. But some of the time is a good start.
Do you have any experiences with having different expectations at the end of the day than your partner/spouse? Comment below or on my Facebook page!