Dear SAHM, Your Husband Didn’t Marry His Mommy

Once you’re married, it’s important to remember to be your husband’s wife … and not step in as a parental figure. (Your husband didn’t marry his mommy!)

One evening a couple years ago, I was surprised by my husband’s request:

“Could you please stop treating me like I’m a child? I know what to do.”

Before you think I’m a naggy wife, I’ve always been very careful to heed the warnings from Proverbs:

  • “Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.” (Proverbs 21:9)
  • “Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.” (Proverbs 21:19)
  • “A continual dripping on a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.” (Proverbs 27:15)

I didn’t think I was being a contentious wife … and I certainly wasn’t trying to be one. So what was happening?

After staying home with my toddlers all day, every day, I was used to giving instructions of exactly what to do:

  • Use your fork when you eat, please.
  • Do you have to go potty?
  • Wash your hands!
  • Please start cleaning up your bedroom now.
  • Be careful not to spill!

Somehow, because I felt like I was in a continual training mode, I didn’t realize what was coming out of my mouth. I never realized I was instructing my husband – but I was.

Once you're married, it's important to remember to be your husband's wife ... and not step in as a parental figure. (Your husband didn't marry his mommy!)

Used to shepherding my children, I forgot to stop once my husband came home. Since he already has a mom, he doesn’t need another one!

His request was a good wake-up call to me. I realized I shouldn’t live on autopilot. I need to continually think about what I’m saying – and to whom I’m speaking. I also need to be mindful that I’m investing in my marriage, and not just cruising through daily life.

This also served as a great lesson in parenting to me. Just because I’m a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom and with my children every waking hour, I need to be mindful when I’m instructing my children – and when I also need to lighten up and have fun with them.

When I’m not actively Mom, I need to think about who I’m with. Am I being the best wife to my husband? Am I talking to him like I’m his wife (and not his teacher or mommy)? Am I trying to understand him better?

Once you're married, it's important to remember to be your husband's wife ... and not step in as a parental figure. (Your husband didn't marry his mommy!)

And am I treating him like I’m his wife? Just because he chooses to do things differently than I do– whether it’s the way he washes dishes, scrambles eggs, or takes the trash out– I don’t need to correct him. My way isn’t the only correct way in the entire universe. It’s just a way … and my husband’s way is just another way.

I know it’s very easy for stay-at-home moms to get stuck in a mental rut of caring for babies and the home. But we can’t forget that we’re more than moms and housekeepers. We’re wives – and women with unique interests.

We need to continue to put a lot of effort into our relationships – and try to scratch our own creative itches. We need to nurture more than just our children – not as yet one more thing to add to our long to-do lists, but to care for ourselves.

Once you're married, it's important to remember to be your husband's wife ... and not step in as a parental figure. (Your husband didn't marry his mommy!)

Please don’t misunderstand what I’m trying to say. We still need to put a huge effort into our motherhood. And we still need to nurture our children … we’re the only mothers they have. Our children and our husbands are blessings God has entrusted to us.

But we can’t focus so completely on our children that we forget everyone else.

If you’re a stay-at-home mom, I’d encourage you to think through your wifely reactions and speech – have you slipped into autopilot without realizing it?

Time for some honesty … have you been acting more like your husband’s mother instead of wife? What can you do as a wife to make sure your husband didn’t marry his mommy?

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  1. This is really great advice. It’s such an easy thing to fall into. Great job for taking your husband’s words to heart and recognizing the habit. Sharing this :-)

  2. I totally caught myself doing this the other day! I realized it after I said something on the lines of “please put away your shoes” and “It’s time to get ready for bed”. LOL. It’s so hard to switch modes when your husband is gone so much working and you’re always chasing around babies and training them how to do stuff!

  3. Any tips on how to get your husband to stop acting like a child? I would LOVE to not treat him like his mommy–except his mommy was an awful person who raised her son to be a man-child. I’d love to follow your advice. But if I don’t tell him not to do something, he will do it and I have to live in it and suffer with it.

    1. I’m sorry! Unfortunately I don’t have any tips on how to get your husband to stop acting like a child. Have you tried talking about it together? When the timing is right, could you gently tell him how you feel? I’ve found that the timing of my deep conversations with my husband and the words I choose – and my attitude and approach – can make a world of difference.

      1. Appreciate your thoughts. So would you mind sharing a few tips, how-tos, or advice on how you time your deep conversations with your husband? How do you know when the right time is? Also, what kind of attitude and approach do you use? How do you do it or what are some examples of what has worked for you? This is probably one of our biggest “trouble” or “conflict” areas of our communication. We are both conflict avoiders and feeling stuffers to a fault – until they turn into big issues and conflict that is difficult to sort through and resolve. Feel free to email me your response instead of responding on here if you’d like. Thanks!

  4. My first born is about to turn a year old and I definitely struggled with some postpartum depression/anxiety for awhile and I’ve come out of that but am still struggling to change my mindset that I’m more than just a mom. I put all of my effort into my son (I’m a SAHM) and my husband is absolutely getting short-changed. It’s something I’m trying to work on but not necessarily doing a great job at :/

  5. Love this and I absolutely need to be better about putting it into practice. I just wish someone would write an article TO THE GUYS about how they DIDNT marry their mom, so please stop treating us as such (more so in the way of always wanting us to make the decisions and tell them how we do even the littlest of things-and getting upset when we get frustrated and want them to just figure it out themselves-and expecting us to essentially be their maid, with no regard to being helpful.)

  6. I ageee with your post. My husband and I married later in life after my children were grown. He is very set in his ways and since he was a bachelor for so long it takes a lot of encouragement to get him to remember there are two of us now. From drinking out of milk cartons to not flushing the toilet. Small things that add up after awhile. Nagging only makes me feel like a shrew so I just breathe deeply and wait until the right moment to express myself.

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