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5 Things My Husband Taught Me That Make Me a Happier Mama
My husband and I both have very different personality types and modes of operation. We also both like to be right. Sometimes we conduct ours lives so differently we annoy the bejeezus out of one another, but overall we work well as a complementary team. Sometimes we even subtly pick up on each other’s cues and soak up the positives (though we don’t always admit this to each other because we are proud people). Here are a few life-changing tips that I’ve gleaned from my husband:
1. Using a 3-in-1 shampoo/conditioner/body wash: This sounds like maybe not a big deal, but it is. Why was I wasting so much time washing and then conditioning my hair? I’ve found that the men’s products work just as well as the women’s one (they’re also usually much cheaper too) and this one halves the amount of time I spend washing my hair in the shower. It also makes cleaning the shower easier since there are fewer bottles to collect soap scum and have to move around when it’s time to scrub the tub. All those minutes add up.
2. Putting the kid to sleep and then walking out of the room. This one I learned early on, when our first baby was a little infant. My spouse and I take turns putting the kids to bed and one night I happened to spy on him as he was putting our daughter down. After whispering in her ear and reading her a book he gently placed her in the crib, her little eyes wide open, and immediately walked out the door. What? How does he know she’s settled? I remember wondering. But, she was just fine. It made me reevaluate how I was doing things and made me more open to learning how to help my child self-soothe and get to bed on her own. Now she’s a toddler and I feel like I still implement this same strategy, once the bedtime routine is over if I hear her call out, “Mama!” I often reply with, “I love you, goodnight!” and avoid engaging in her attention-seeking behaviors so she can get herself settled.
3. Saying what I mean when I talk. He often asks me questions like, “are you going into the kitchen?” Or, “ What do you want for dinner?” And historically my responses haven’t been answers, they have been questions in return. “Why? Do you need something?” Or “What do you want?” This drove him crazy. I was reading into what I thought he wanted as a response, when in reality he was just asking me a question. I’d catch myself asking him questions, and expecting him to read into those, like when I’d ask him, “What are you doing Saturday morning?” Instead of just saying to him, “I’d like to go to yoga at 7 on Saturday, does that work for you?” I am still working on this so when I catch myself inquiring about something and then not getting the response I anticipated I ask again, starting with, “My real question is…” and then making it clear what I’m really asking about. He’s taught me not to expect other people to be mind readers.