Do you feel like there’s a competition with your spouse over who does more work? You feel tired. Your spouse feels tired. So you argue about who has done more work that day. Winner gets to sit on the couch while the loser cooks dinner, bathes the kids, and gets everyone ready for the next day.
But truthfully, nobody wins, right? The competition drains your energy and causes distance and resentment. All things you don’t want in a marriage. No one wants that but it’s very easy to get stuck in a competition when you both work. All you want is a break!
How can both of you work as a team instead of enemies and tackle the second shift together? Let’s figure this out so the competition can be settled.
Start Acting Like You’re on the Same Team
You didn’t marry your spouse because they have the same strengths as you. Instead of criticizing your spouse for what they’re weak on look for things your spouse does well. Then tell them why you think they’re good at it and encourage them to do it more. You could even point out that what they are strong in you can be weak in and so you appreciate their efforts. When you begin to cooperate you stop the competition.
Your Team is Only as Strong as Your Weakest Link
How could you find it in you to praise your spouse especially when you don’t feel like it? Focus on the qualities that you love about them. Can you think of five qualities you idolize about your spouse? These may not be household chores you love when they do. It’s more like loving their resourcefulness, creativity or their humor. When you compliment your spouse you raise them up! And when they’re in a good mood they can be more giving and understanding. I’m not saying to butter them up to get what you want, but kindness can go a long way.
Practice Extreme Empathy before Starting a Competition
If you dream about your spouse saying, “Yes! Your life is more stressful and busier than mine.” it’s unlikely that dream will ever come true. So instead of starting another argument over whose done more work put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. Imagine what their day was like and how tired they probably feel.
This can feel extreme because all you want to do is be the one sitting on the couch. And honestly, nothing is stopping you from taking a five to ten minute break. Sit next to your spouse and ask about their day. Then ask if you can share what you did today. Say that you’re tired. Then ask for help on specific tasks like, can they stir the pasta or can they empty the garbage. When you get up, high five each other and then get to work. This positive thinking can move you past the competition and toward being a positive partner.
Talk about the Competition to Defuse It
This takes audaciousness but talking about the competition you feel could defuse the tension you feel. Start the conversation by asking if your spouse can feel the competition between the two of you. Then ask them how they think you two could stop it. Open honest communication isn’t easy but it’s important in a healthy marriage. If the two of you can’t find a solution at least the topic has been brought up and it’ll be on both of your radars.
Instead of competing focus on how you can cooperate to get through the second shift of raising a family and managing a home. Fighting over who is more tired isn’t going to get the work done quicker. Competition can feel like a wedge being put between you and your spouse. How will they be able to support you if you grow apart? Instead focus your efforts on working as the team you promised to be when you said “I do” and show your kids what it takes to succeed at marriage and at life.
Working Mom, do you find yourself silently competing with your spouse? How can you stop this competition and get on the same page? Leave your comments down below!
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