Women are hard on men. I may be over-generalizing, but some of us are. We take ownership of our children, often preaching to our husbands how it ought to be done from bathing baby to cooking, shopping and even socializing. In her book The Superior Wife Syndrome, Dr. Carin Rubenstein describes women who do it all and act and feel superior in their marriages. I am one of those women. Based on her research, two-thirds of married women have Superior Wife Syndrome. This condition prevents us from seeing what our men bring to the table. In my case, my husband brought a sense of family.
My back story: I was raised by a single mom and an absentee father. My mom was busy trying to keep food on the table (apologies for an overused expression) and was not, even by her own admission, an overly involved parent. With her hectic schedule, my brother, sister and I often looked after ourselves.
In a world of helicopter moms and bubble wrapped kids, I have worked hard to figure out how to be a good mom and adapt to the ever-changing definition of what being a ‘mom’ is. Is it being a nutritious cook, organizing constant play dates or is it simply being a loving and caring parent? Either way, it has not come naturally to me.
Enter Michael. Michael and I have been married for 20 years and his childhood résumé is as close to “Leave it to Beaver” as I’ve seen. His parents are still in love and together after 50 years of marriage. He thrived in a stable home environment. Dad worked, Mom cooked, and his parents never missed a kid’s game. It was a loving and close family; affectionate, and warm.
I chose well (and was lucky to be chosen), as Michael has brought stability, warmth and security to me and ultimately to our family. He has taught me how to be relaxed during stressful situations like when our one-year- old son was choking on a discarded Christmas tree needle (I panicked, he saved). He has taught me how to trust my decisions for our kids and to show affection freely. Truth be told, he taught me how to hug. Serious hugs! The big fat hug till your ribs hurt kind of hug. Before Michael, I thought a warm nod would do the trick. Fortunately, our two boys have adopted his relaxed and affectionate manner and are both comfortable in their own skin.
Michael is my rock. I may be the family CEO, like many moms, but what he has brought to my life is invaluable. He has given me confidence with his calmness, his own confidence and his relaxed love of life. He has given this to our whole family.
I still suffer from mom anxiety when things aren’t ideal, and I worry far too much about the little things, but with Michael round, he levels the anxiety playing field. So, at the end of the day, dig deeper, dear reader, and look at your man and think how he has enriched your life and your families. I am grateful for what my man has brought to me.
Honey Don’t List
You’ve likely heard of the dreaded Honey Do list, and I, a list-maker extraordinaire, am an expert! With that said, I have worked hard with my husband to become a team so he feels that he is working with me and not for me. We all want a partner but some women have a tendency to take on the Alpha role. I have learned, with difficulty, because I am a control freak, to trust that my husband can do it our way or even HIS way. The lesson is that family life is a whole lot sweeter when you live in a democracy rather than with a fascist dictator.
Tricks from Dr. Carin’s Book:
- Just ask for help.
- Tell him what you want as men are not mind-readers.
- Educate with logic (many women educate through their emotions).
- Silence your inner critic.