Thursday, July 07, 2005

Husbands, wives, and working together

I received a call the other night from a good friend. She wanted to know what I would do? Here's the situation:

The mom had just given birth to the second child 6 months ago. Their other child is 6 years old. After the birth, of the first child the mom returned to work part time in the late evening. She worked until the birth of the second child. Now that the baby is 6 months old, the husband would like her to go back to work The wife is not as convinced that this is the best idea. The hours are late in the evening and she would arrive home in the middle of the night. She is also homeschooling the older child with Abeka Curriculum. She understands the commitment to homeschool and the time it takes to run a household. The husband thinks that because she was able to manage it all the first time around things will go okay. She already feels more drained with two children and worries that the burden of working will make their family life more difficult. Sleep will be the first area to suffer and then with a lack of sleep we all know how stressful even the simplest tasks can become.

Here's what I told her.

Pray and seek God for guidance and wisdom. Both for her attitude and about how to approach her husband about the situation. Opening her heart to do what is pleasing to the Lord.

I would affirm my husband as much as possible. Letting him know that I want to do what is best for the family and follow his leading in all areas.

When the time seemed appropriate, I would ask her husband to sit down and work out a schedule. On the schedule I would have the day all parceled out into hour increments. Together, I would ask him to help her make it work. Make a list of all the things that need to be done during the week and any specific things that need to be done on a given day. After the list is made, I would begin to write in the logicial times to do these activities. As they work through the priorities, write down the the activities in the boxes on the schedule.

This accomplishes a few things,

  • It shows a willingness on the wife to make things work.
  • It allows both the husband and wife to work together to make it work.
  • It allows the husband and wife to understand the demands on each other during the day and hopefully the best way to accomplish them.
  • If the husband decides based on the schedule that working is not possible it will be his decision.
  • It will allow the husband to take responsiblity for the direction of the family.

The outcome of this schedule may be difficult for the wife to accept. The husband may see that the wife does have too many responsibilities and therefore returning to work would be deterimental. Or he may decide that it could she should go back to work. In either case, the wife should accept the decision. This is the difficult part for most of us. But the marriage is the priority.

What if the husband won't meet to make the schedule? I would still approach things the same way. But when he decides not to meet you are left to make it work on your own. I would make up the schedule on my own putting work in there since that is what he directed. And begin to follow the schedule as best as possible.

Does anyone have anymore helpful advice for this mom?

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