If I had a dollar for every time a client said to me "it's so much easier when he's not at home" or "when he's there it's like having one more child to look after" or something similar to this, I would be a rich woman by now.
It's important to clarify that this is not about undermining the efforts of single parents or wishing to be one. Rather, it's a common observation shared by many mothers when discussing their parenting partnership with their spouse. It's crucial to remember that individuals have varied experiences and coping mechanisms, and there is no universal situation that applies to all wives or families.
In some cases, wives may find it easier to cope with their children when their husband is away due to several factors. Once I ask further questions of my client, it often comes to light that being on their own is not the norm - this situation is when it's the odd day of the week or fortnight when their partner isn't home.
Here is a summary of the factors that I've collected over the years that explain why some happily married mums enjoy an occasional day or evening without their partners at home, even when it means they're looking after the kids on their own:
- Sole responsibility and control: When the husband is away, the wife may assume the role of the primary caregiver and decision-maker for the children. This increased responsibility can provide a sense of control and empowerment, allowing the wife to establish routines, make parenting decisions, and manage the household according to her preferences.
- Adaptation and flexibility: Taking care of children requires adaptability and flexibility. When the husband is away, the wife may need to adjust her routines, schedules, and expectations to accommodate the absence. This adaptability can help the wife develop coping strategies and become more resilient in managing the daily challenges of caring for her children.
- Focused attention: With the husband absent, the wife may have more concentrated time and attention to devote to the children. There are no competing demands for attention or conflicting parenting styles, allowing the wife to establish a consistent approach to parenting and develop a stronger bond with her children.
- Independence and self-reliance: Being solely responsible for the children can foster a sense of independence and self-reliance in the wife. She may develop problem-solving skills, learn to trust her instincts, and gain confidence in her parenting abilities, which can contribute to a sense of empowerment and ease in coping with the children's needs. I also want to mention here that due to the fact that she has no other parent to rely on during this time, she knows she has to cope, there is no back-up.
- Support network: When the husband is away, wives often reach out to their social support network, such as family, friends, or other mothers in similar situations. These connections can provide emotional support, practical advice, and assistance with childcare, making it easier for wives to navigate the challenges of parenting. Personally, if my husband is away on a weekend evening, I will often invite a fellow mum and her kids over for dinner and we have the most pleasant night.
It's important to remember that these factors may not apply to every wife or every partnership, as individual circumstances and personalities can greatly influence how people cope with various situations. However, it is a common sentiment, and one which wives often feel some guilt over. The purpose of this discussion was to show you that just because you feel it's easier to parent your children when your partner is away, this doesn't 'mean' anything for your marriage or partnership. It is simply a consequence of these other factors that result when mums find themselves alone for a day or night, when that is not the normal.
To investigate this concept in more detail and discover others that will make your motherhood journey easier and more enjoyable, take our 5 week Modern Motherhood Method Program and discover the joy of being a mum again.