Mamas on Bedrest: 5 Tips on Boosting Hubby’s Morale

November 14th, 2012

We’ve been having a lively discussion in response to the following question from Mama on Bedrest Jenny on our Facebook Page (head on over and weigh in!!),

“Tips on boosting husband morale? Hubby comes home from work and has what we call “sunset fatigue.” That combined with a wife who can’t do much around the house, I think the added responsibility (or the idea of it since he hasn’t changed much) is getting to him. I end up pushing myself down chores around the house (a BIG no no) just because I can’t handle it and feel terrible asking him.”

First, this is an excellent question! We all must keep in mind the fact that when mamas go on bed rest, the entire family is impacted, and dads/spouses/partners often bear the brunt of the burden.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, that’s not really a bad thing. I think that men should know what we mamas do at home-many of us after working long hours outside of the home! I say this not to “man bash” but to raise their awareness of all that we mamas do. So all that being said, when mamas go on bed rest, you essentially have to teach dads/spouses/partners how to multitask as we do. This is no easy feat.

There is an actual physiologic reason that women are able to better balance the demands of work outside and inside the home. Women are blessed with larger corpora callosa, the fibrous tissue that connects the two halves of the brain, and as such, we have many more neurons skipping back and forth between each side of our brains. This is why we can cook dinner, talk on the phone, keep an eye on an older child and bounce a baby all at the same time. While men have a larger, heavier brains, their corpora callosa are not as thick and don’t have as many neurons skipping back and forth across their brains’ hemispheres, so consequently, it’s a lot harder for them to multitask.

But it is not impossible. I have seen some dads/partners rise to the occasion of their wives being sidelined by bed rest in fine fashion. Some men will just rise like fine cream in a difficult situation. Others need a bit of coaxing. There are 5 excellent tips from mamas on bed rest on the facebook thread and a few more here for those not yet in the conversation.

1. Talk with your partner about your bed rest. Many people really believe that women are “trying to get out of working” when they go on prescribed bed rest. We all know that nothing is further from the truth, but as they head out each day and you recline back into the pillows, you have to admit, it may seem a bit enviable. If your partner was not with you when the prescription was given, explain as explicitly as possible why your doctor placed you on bed rest and  the exact parameters of your bed rest. If necessary, have a little “conference call” with your doctor so that your partner can hear directly from the doctor why this bed rest prescription, and why its so important that it be followed.

2. Talk with your partner about what you do. How many of us really talk with our partners about what we do around the house? It’s an unspoken code that we get things done, our partners see that everything is done and assumes everything is kosher. We continue in this unspoken trance until a situation like bed rest occurs. This is a great opportunity to share with your partner how you “make it all happen” and with such ease and grace (and yes ladies, you do it with ease and grace! Take a bed rest bow!!). If necessary, sit down with him, give him a pad of paper and a pen, and give him clear details on how you do things (especially if there are things you want done a very specific way.) Most guys really appreciate clear, specific instructions and will like knowing exactly what and how something should be done.

3. Write out what you do and prioritize what he needs to do. Now some people (and I would have fell into this category!) may feel like, “Well if I have to do all of that, I may as well get up and do it myself! I can do it faster and right.” This may well be true, but I refer you to Mama on Bedrest Vet Lisa’s response on the discussion of the potential consequences of not adhering to bed rest. Mamas, you need to stay in bed (or on the sofa), no ifs, ands, or buts!! Put your tush to the cush and stay there! Give your guy the list and let him handle it. Accept that things won’t be done exactly as you would have done them, but I can assure you, that on the most important things, your partner will get it done sufficiently enough.

4. Relax your standards. (This would have been next to impossible for me.) I am not saying that I am a neat freak, but I do have ways of doing things and tend to get a bit pissy if things aren’t done how I prefer. This is an exceptional time ladies. It’s really okay if your house isn’t spic and span. It’s okay of your older children have sugary cereal (a real bone of contention in our house!!) for a few weeks in their lives. It’s okay if the clothes aren’t folded immediately out of the dryer (or your could share this responsibility if your positioning permits-he can wash and dry and you can fold!). Life will go on, your family will rally and most importantly, your baby will thrive inside of you as you stay in bed!

5. Give him praise and credit. Some of you lucky gals have men that really pitch in around the house with as much ease and grace as you. Others of us have guys who are loving, but somewhat skill challenged when it comes to household responsibilities. For these guys, I recommend that you prioritize the most important things that need to be done and table the rest until help in the form of mom, neighbors, friends or a wonderful service like Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond arrives on the scene!! (okay, shameless self promotion here!) For those things that he does do, generously pat him on the back. It’s not easy to be out of your comfort zone. Add to that the fact that they are also worried about you and the baby and it’s a tough road. Give your guys some credit for what they do accomplish and take some tips from Mama on Bedrest Megan, who recognized that her guy was running on empty and found ways to allow him to recharge his battery.

These are just 5 tips on how to help your guy survive bed rest. Do you have other tips? Share them below or mosey on over to our Facebook Page and chime in on this thread!

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