By the next morning I was prepared for a difficult conversation. I couldn't blame my husband for the situation; I had tacitly agreed to it. And the truth is, how could he know what I wanted if I never said it? Now was the time to renegotiate our evening parenting responsibilities. The de facto split of 95 percent me, 5 percent him, was not acceptable. I took my own advice as a family mediator and I revealed my feelings without blaming him. I told him that I wasn't asking for him to be in charge all of the time, or even half of the time. I just needed him to spend a portion of each night as the truly responsible party, so I could have a chance to truly relax, knowing our son was well taken care of.
I'm not kidding when I tell you this: From that day forward, after I offered some simple suggestions for dividing child care, my husband stepped up to the plate. He created fun little games with our son that they play every night. They have their own sayings and jokes. When our son needed his diaper changed during the "Daddy play period," my husband would do it, without yelling for my help.
The result: By asking for what I wanted without blame or demands, our evenings as a family became more rewarding for everyone.
Laurie Puhn is a Harvard-educated lawyer, couples mediator, pregnancy and parenting blogger at www.expectingwords.com, and bestselling author of Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship Without Blowing Up or Giving In, who frequently appears on CNN, "Good Morning America," and "The Early Show" to offer relationship advice. She lives in Westchester with her husband and two children.
Laurie offers the right words to say to your spouse, at the right time, to inspire a lasting and happy relationship (keeping in mind that kids are in the mix) in the following articles: