It started with what I thought was a random suggestion to my husband on our way back from church one Sunday: “Babe, let’s go out and have lunch today. I am really not in the mood to start cooking.”
It had been a long week, like most weeks are, what with running my business and the home, all without a conventional domestic help. But this week, I knew I didn’t have any power for Sunday rice.
He agreed, and what started out casually is now routine on most Sundays in my home. We eat out or buy food and eat in.
Because, on that day, what we paid for food in that restaurant was small compared to the stress it would have cost me to cook.
I put it up on Facebook as a suggestion for couples, especially to help the moms who need a kitchen break, and the comments went off the roof. Moms talked about how this routine would really help them if introduced, others mentioned how they had been doing this since, and even more made suggestions on more activities that would give them a much-needed break as they rock out this stay at home mommy life.
A poll was birthed and I got answers from real stay-at-home moms on how their husbands can truly support them as they run the domestic affairs of the home.
Men, grab some popcorn, this one is for you. Best part is that some of them cost nothing, and even the ones that involve some financial commitment can be adjusted to fit your budget. No pressure. Just love. Plus, with valentine around the corner, who knows what points this post may score you.
Help Around the House (and don’t do it as a favor)
On weekends when you’re home and you see the home can do with a little clean up, grab a broom or duster and do some cleaning. Iron the already washed laundry. Fetch or buy water if water doesn’t run. Wash plates after she has cooked and served you. A mom said she absolutely detests doing the dishes, so as they use plates during the day, she arranges them in a neat pile for hubby to wash when he gets back. And he does. That is how she spells L-O-V-E. Find out little ways your wife spells love and please help out, even if it’s inconveniencing. Another way to help your wife may be by actually allowing her employ a domestic help. I know some men don’t like the idea of a stranger at home, but if she is swamped, you will not have a happy wife. Plus, she won’t have any energy to be a helper to you or even for sex. My brother, save her energy so she can use it on the things that matter which no one else can do, like being your wife.
Indulge Her In Places That Are Not Your Comfort Zone
So, if she wants to spend 20 minutes taking pictures on the one day she really dresses up, maybe Sunday, please indulge her. I know that you hate pictures, but there are so many other things she does for the family which she may not exactly enjoy. So, indulge her. Ditto, some of her favorite programs. Don’t always hog the TV at primetime, saying she has been home all day with the TV, so night time is yours. No, sir, some days, let us watch Tinsel, not Champions League.
Outinga, Date Night and Vacations
Guys, this one was everywhere. Looks like every woman needs that time out, whether for a couple hours or a few days or weeks. Sometimes alone, sometimes with friends and, (thankfully) sometimes with you. The common denominator remains “baby-free.” As a stay-at-home mom, chances are high that she is with a baby all day, so those hours are good to reset and refresh, especially one where she has to dress up and be pampered.
Give Her Baby Breaks
Most new moms agree that just you holding the baby sometimes, especially at night or during the day, allowing her to get some much-needed sleep, is one of the best ways to show love to them. Mommyhood is exhausting, especially for new and first-time moms, so share this work in a way that works for both of you. And even when they are not newborns, when you return from work, play with and engage your kids, don’t always say, “Go and meet your mommy.”
Give Her Kitchen Breaks
Well, I already mentioned that, but it bears repetition. And it doesn’t have to be just eating out. Some women want someone to come cook in bulk for them at home so they can put in the freezer. I know it is easy to think, “Oh, but what is she doing that someone else is cooking for her?” But my brother, every once in a while, a break is welcome, just the same way you take casual leave or days off work.
Be Involved in School Runs
While most of the school runs will be handled by the mom, she doesn’t mind you jumping in on some days. Maybe work half-day and go pick them, take a day off to be around for Open Day, do homework and school projects with them. If you are leaving late for work, bath them and get them dressed for school, etc. Just don’t let us do all the school runs by ourselves. Be involved, even if just a little.
Throw in Regular Surprises
And please, they have to be thoughtful and on-point, so you may want to involve some of her friends for this. Sometimes, breakfast in bed. Sometimes, tell her to take a day off, hand her some money, and let her just go do her, whatever she wants. Pay for a training for her which she has been showing interest in. She loves pictures? Plan a photo shoot complete with a makeup artist and stylists if you can afford it. She takes buses all the time? Send an Uber, maybe. Her towel and bras are old? Buy her a fresh set. Or just pick up after yourself, which can be a surprise in some homes. Whichever way, just surprise her, well within the confines of your budget.
Ah, you knew we were going to get there, right? This one was another winner. Give her money just because it is Tuesday. Or the 19th. Beyond domestic allowances, find something for her every month. Yes, she wants gifts, but she also wants good old cash, so please, whatever you can afford, give us.
The above represents a summary of the responses I got from stay-at-home moms. So husbands, I hope you take note and show your wife you love her, and appreciate all the work she does at home in a language she understands.
Trust me, few things beat a happy, loved and aware wife.
Thank you for reading.
Now, Moms, can I quickly talk to you?
You can actually sit your husband down and let him know what little things he can do that would make a great difference. He may not read this, or he may read this and none of it works for you or both of you, so it is okay to talk to him. Even if you think he will not listen, you have at least dropped that seed in his heart, and who knows what the future will bring. And make sure that whatever you want doesn’t end up being overly extravagant. You can do this well within your family budget.
If you have other ways your husband can show his love and support to you as a domestic queen, let’s hear it in the comments section.
Remain epic, Moms.
NB: This post was authored by me and first published on bellanaija.com.