Those who follow me on Instagram already know that I had to go back to Switzerland for a week for a funeral. On top of having to organize an overnight trip in the middle of a pandemic, I had to let my husband and kids in Mexico, as it was too expensive for us to do the trip together. We had an afternoon to make it happen. In the end, I left without us having had time to decide on details and my husband merely told me “don’t worry, I have it covered”.
When I set foot in Switzerland, it finally occurred to me that I would be away from my children for a week and that they were with their dad, without me. I instantly worried about a thousand things (him not getting mad too quickly, putting on sunscreen when going to the sea, enjoying school, what if they get sick?…). Not that my husband isn’t used to take care of our children, we’ve been living all together full time for 6 years and he’s been the one homeschooling them a lot in the past months. But still, I would ask for daily pictures and reports every evening!
Because let’s face it, no matter your family situation, you probably do more and take more responsibilities when it comes to your children’s education than your partner.
Even if he’s present in the daily tasks, the organization, the mental load, and the big picture are more on you. And it’s hard to let go!
Don’t have time right now? Download the PDF version of this article and read it with a good tea!
If Partner’s Trust Is So Valuable, Why Don’t We Rely More On It?
Who’s the one who sees Winter coming every Autumn and starts to go through the boxes to find the winter stuff, makes a list of what’s missing, and goes buy it? I mean, does your husband even knows your children’s sizes? Just an example among others that are poping to your mind, I’m sure.
But if you’re being honest with yourself: is your husband the only one accountable for this situation?
Just this morning, I had decided to stay quietly on the boat and write this article, hence, I would not be going along for the boys’ hairdresser’s trip. My husband’s first reaction was to freak out: « you’re not coming!? How am I gonna do? ». But ever since I had decided to write this post about partner trust, I had already put some thoughts into it and this had changed my mindset. Amazingly, it had a positive effect on this morning’s situation.
He who does not trust enough will not be trusted
Normally, I would have felt guilty at this point and would have joined the party. Sacrificing my time is a usual pattern for me. But not today. Today I said that I wanted to work and that I trusted him to do this without me. The most amazing part? My husband answered that I was right, that he was relying too much on me, and that he apologized. He would go to the hairdresser, I could work peacefully.
My! Why didn’t I do this before??? I really had to dig into this partner relationship thing!
The Origins Of The Mother’s Beliefs That Don’t Improve Our Lives
We mothers usually spend much more time with our children than their dads do. It seems pretty obvious that when our baby was born, we were the one who was most needed: babies need their mom a lot in the first months. No matter if you were breastfeeding or not, your baby was in constant search of your contact, your smell, your voice.
As a baby grows up, they open more and more to the world. They start spending time with their grandparents, with a nanny, maybe sometimes with their dad (without you). They become more independent and less needy. So maybe mothers are the ones who have a hard time letting go?
This being true or not, as they grow up, we keep on managing it all. Maybe not DOING it all, but MANAGING certainly. While the dad might take the kids skiing or to the park, the mom is still in charge of all the invisible tasks. So not only do we spend more actual time with our children, but they are very present in our minds.
That situation gives us mothers the feeling that we know our children better than anyone, including our partners. And because we believe we know them better than anyone, we also believe that we know better what’s best for them.
Our society and family models teach us that some roles are more for men and some for women. No matter what you intellectually think right now, those beliefs are deeply rooted in you. Who takes the car to the repair shop? Who buys the Christmas presents? Who plays with the children in the pool? Who knows what’s best for them?
So, between our education and our patriarchal societies, we mothers are quite doomed to feel responsible for our children’s education and happiness. No matter how many times you tell your partner how you’d like him to be more invested, without realizing it, you might not be giving him space to do so.
Why Your Partner’s Ways Can Be Trusted
There are two main beliefs that keep us from trusting (fully) our partners with our children:
- Mothers know their children better
- It is the mother’s role to raise the children
You might be reacting now, and thinking that you DO trust your children’s father. Of course, you do. But let’s have a look at the infographic up there: how would you feel if your husband was to choose your child’s pediatrician by himself? What if he would visit some new acquaintances without you and decide it would be safe for your child to go on a play date? What if he’d fill some form for school and choose some extra-curricular activities for your child?
Now, be honest: do not those facts tickle your control freak nerve a little? Don’t you feel entitled to overview what concerns your child?
Let’s look at those 2 affirmations I submitted before with some humility and honesty:
- Mothers know their children better
- It is the mother’s role to raise the children
Mothers know their children better
Truth is, there are many ways to know someone, and while we might know some aspect of our children’s personality better, the fact that we don’t share the same activities with them as our husbands means that they know some parts of them better than we do! Not only that, but your partner’s sensibility is different than yours and he might perceive things that you might miss or not understand.
I know that it is hard to hear, and some of you might actually not want to hear it, but we can never really know someone, not even our children. Think of your childhood: hasn’t your mom ever misread a situation? pushed you in the opposite direction you wanted to go?
When I was 12, my mom gave me a fabulous present, a week in a zoo, taking care of the animals. I was so excited.
After a couple of days there though, it became clear to me that I hated it. Not because of the job, that was great. But the owner of the zoo was weird, coming into our room in the evening to talk about how monkeys have sex, always being too close during the days, making sure a girl would ride his horse with him. My instincts were screaming.
On the 3rd day, my mom came to visit with her best friend. I told my mom that I wanted to go home, but couldn’t tell her why. My mom, thinking that I needed more time to adjust because I was shy refused and told me I’d stay. I was devastated.
Her best friend took one look at me and told her “no, we’re taking her with us”. Which they did. A few months later this man was arrested for molestation and my mom cried, she felt so bad. She never stopped thanking her best friend.
You see, my mom was right, I was shy and I was never comfortable in new places. But she was so sure she knew me that she didn’t see I was distressed because of something else. Of course, in most situations of my childhood, my mom took great decisions that helped me grow up, but one should never assume he knows everything.
This story illustrates what I am telling you: yes, you know your children very well, we are connected to our children in an almost magical way, we feel pain when they hurt, we feel devastated when they’re sad, but this lack of distance can also be an obstacle to a clear vision.
Your partner might think differently, or do things in a way you wouldn’t have thought of, but different doesn’t mean bad. Different means more richness.
Download our cheat sheet in 2 clicks and start growing your relationship
It’s the mother’s role to raise the children
I recently read a French study about studying how the mother and the father were pictured and what roles were given to each one. To do so, they looked into professional and parenting magazines for two years.
Traditionally, the father has several functions: symbolically separate the mother from the child, help the child to understand genders, a function of opening to the world, and of course, authority. As for the mother, her functions are to be present, to give benchmarks, and to hold and contain.
Those functions are different than roles. Functions are unconscious and unique, it depends on the sex and no matter how much you’d like to take on the other’s functions, it would be impossible. While roles are defined by behaviors and actions, which make them are interchangeable.
Nowadays, a lot of families are looking for a more equalitarian running of the family, and I think that it’s great! Children have much to gain from a more balanced parenting model, and it is way valuable.
What is important to keep in mind, is that functions cannot be shared or exchanged, but roles can. And what shows that French study, is that fathers are asked for participation only in certain fields like playing, or opening to the world. When an article is about caring for young children or about attachment, the father isn’t even mentioned…
This illustrates what I am saying in this post: we claim that we want the fathers to be more involved, but we often give them the role of helper, and we request their support in some situations only.
Why Knowing It All Isn’t Enough To Improve Your Life
I can give you all the cartesian explanations in the world, the fact that the matter is rooted in our beliefs makes it hard to change. Because beliefs are emotional, not intellectual.
Have you ever noticed how giving a rational answer to an irrational question doesn’t work? It is the same here. You might have read the previous chapter with interest, and even agreed to what I said, but this will not change the way you operate. So let’s see what will!
It is important to listen to your emotions and accept them. There is no need to pretend that everything’s fine and then act on repressed feelings. So a first step is to give yourself room to feel, to reflect, and to consider.
Turn this article into a life-changer with our Cheat Sheet
How to manage your emotions in order to change the habits you already have:
- Recognize the emotion
- Accept it
- Express it
- Distance yourself from it
A second powerful step that you can take to create a better balance in your couple regarding your children is to take a quiet moment, maybe 15 minutes, and do this visualization exercise:
Close your eyes and breathe deeply a few times. Focus on your breath and imagine your energy gathering somewhere in your center, in a warm, quiet place. Now, with your eyes still closed, open your mind and think of your family, of your children, of your life together and their life after that. You can create the most perfect movie here, or it might be a picture. For some, it will be precise while for others it will be more diffuse, like colors and feelings. This is your ideal vision of what your children’s education should look like. This is the goal you tend to, the perfect you dream of. Now, ask yourself, what is your role in this scene, what is it that YOU need to do to make it happen? Where do you add yourself to this vision, what are you doing?
THIS is your role, and every other role that you take on in your daily life, out of guilt, out of fear, out of lack of confidence are an obstacle to your ideal. You will see that the less you take on those roles that you don’t even like (that’s a good way to spot them), the more you will give room to your husband to develop new abilities and find new roles.
Thanks for reading this article! As always, I hope it gave you some line of thoughts to explore as well as ideas to act and create a positive change in your life.
Don’t let the inspiration fades and take action right away:
1. Download our cheat-sheet, it’s on the house
2. Decide on the one action you will implement today and write it down
3. Share this article with 3 friends who could benefit from it
4. Join us on Instagram for more great content
I wish you all the best with your kids, always remember that we all do the best we can at a given moment, so never judge yourself harshly. Be confident and listen to your intuition. If what you do comes from a place of love, then you’re on the right path.
See you next week for another exciting article!
Other Blog Posts You Might Be Interested In