Parenting has come quite naturally to me, maybe it’s because I am the oldest sister in a reasonably large family and have been surrounded by children my whole life. The bathing, dressing, organising dinner and playing I can do with my eyes closed and I really (I mean really!) enjoy it. Maybe it’s the aspiring mother in me?
That’s why; when I became slightly resentful, tired and anxious about step-parenting I knew something was wrong. I was coming home from my 8 hour day at work completely exhausted. To be honest, my only thought was a shower and bed, but I couldn’t. I had to come home (or at least that’s how I felt), face my messy townhouse, organise my stepdaughter for dinner and bed and then maybe I could think about my shower.
I had countless arguments with my boyfriend and heard myself saying over and over again “I do everything” and “You don’t appreciate me!”
He turned to me and said he did appreciate me, he noticed everything I did and that he thought I liked doing it all. He has heard us girls giggling at bath-time and bonding while we get ready for bedtime, how could he think I didn’t enjoy it? And obviously he loves seeing me building a relationship with his daughter.
So basically I had actually complained about doing something I like? Try making sense of that!
Confused and tired I realised I did really love what I was doing, I had never given him the opportunity to help me and I defiantly had not asked for it either.
You see, all I needed was words of affirmation.
I needed him to tell me each night he noticed what I was doing and thank me. The moment I asked for this, and he told me how grateful he was, I felt 200% better. He had filled my heart back up with Loving words kicking out any of that resent and anger I was holding onto before. When I asked for what I wanted, I got exactly that. My partner DOES appreciate what I do, and I guarantee yours does too!
My BF is different; he shows his appreciation and love in other ways that I was not noticing. He would give me quality, uninterrupted time after little one had gone to bed and he would always ensure I was being kissed and cuddled enough. I did not realise that in fact that’s how he was trying to show his appreciation.
Others may have noticed these signs straight away, but for me all I needed was “Thanks-yous” and verbal acknowledgement because that is my way of showing my gratitude towards him every day.
So, what I am trying to say is if we continue to be in relationships with these men there is always going to be things we want to be thanked for, and acknowledged for. It may not just be the household chores, it could be having to meet with his ex-partner or dealing with a temper tantrum. Things are ALWAYS going to come up. And we are always going to need that pat on the back and appreciative glance from our other half because what we are going through is hard, it pulls your heart strings, pushes you do things you usually wouldn’t do in “normal” relationships. And you do it all for you man, so they should be god damn appreciative!
So to keep your sanity and your heart full of love ask your partner to show you they appreciate what you are doing the way you need, no matter how that is. Taking the trash out, cuddles and kisses, presents …anything. I did it and our relationship is so much more harmonious and just isn’t any of that confusion and resent lingering anymore.
Our men want to make us happy, they wouldn’t be with us if they didn’t.So give them a little helping hand, I promise it will work!
(And remember to thank them for choosing you to be part of this new little AWESOME family you are building too!)
And if you don’t know how you need to receive this full hear read: The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman!