Aim for the stars.

Never settle for less than the best.

Set your sights high, girl.

These female empowerment mantras are slowly killing my marriage.

Allow me to back up just a titch here: Perhaps my marriage isn’t dying per say, but the high expectations that I have placed upon my spouse are definitely not helping matters around here.

You see, when it comes to domesticity, I am a champion. I can chop veggies, help with homework, pack lunches, and talk on the phone all at the same time. I swear I can fold laundry with my toes while hot gluing school projects together and breaking up a sister fight all at once. In the span of one hour, I can run approximately 12 errands on opposing sides of town.

Having four young kids and a mountain of household chores and daily tasks has forced me to become the ultimate multi-tasker. This here is my jam, my talent, and apparently my marital curse.

My husband, as good of a father as he may be, will never be the badass multi-tasking parent that I have become. And it annoys me. In turn, I annoy him. Somewhere down the line, I have created a beast.

The beast is me.

I expect myself to run ragged attending to daily life, and dammit, I expect the same of him. If I can do it why can’t he?

Because he simply can’t. And the why isn’t even relevant or important. What’s important is recognizing (once and for all) that he is who he is, and he is going to do things differently than me. When he cooks dinner, that is exactly what he is doing. In fact, that is what I asked of him:
Cook dinner.

He does what he is asked (told), so why am I perpetually pissed off all of the time? Well, when I cook dinner, 99 percent of the time I am alone with no adult assistance in sight. My dinner prep must always include homework help, packing for sports, doing dishes, wiping counters, and making school lunches. Basically, anything that might be done near or within the kitchen vicinity gets folded into dinner prep.

Then, once in a blue moon, my husband comes home in time to cook. Dirty pots get strewn about because, like most normal people, he plans to clean up the kitchen after dinner. Because my busy, multitasking mind does things in such an opposite manner, watching him take over makes me insane.

How is he not cleaning as he goes? Really…is he mental?

No, Kristin. You are.

The expectations I have set for myself and set upon my partner will always make him look like less. I have screwed him, and not in the way he would prefer to be screwed.

I ask him to pick up the playroom. He does just that. He doesn’t see the fight breaking out 12 feet away from him or the mess on the dining room table. Because he is picking up the damn playroom, just like I asked. All the while, I am miffed because he is only doing one thing.

Again, my expectations can’t be met. I have set the bar so incredibly high that he needs a damn rocket ship to reach it. These unattainable expectations make me look like a perpetual bitch to him and, to me, he looks like a sloth wading through peanut butter.

This is not good, folks. For years, I saw the problem as his problem.

He can’t…

He won’t…

He doesn’t…

Now I am starting to see things differently, shifting my perspective so that my marriage doesn’t end up in the gutter. The problem is not him (completely). The problem is me and those damn expectations. They have caused resentment on both sides – me never feeling like he is doing his half and him never feeling like he is good enough. Things certainly can’t continue on this way.

It’s time to lower my expectations.

Hopefully, good things will begin to fall into place. It starts with my gratefulness for what he is able to do at his 100 percent and accepting that his 100 percent looks different than my own. These shifts in my attitude and thinking might trigger a rise in his confidence and ability to feel like a more capable and appreciated contributor to the family.

Positivity breeds more positivity, right?

This is such simple thinking yet so hard to master. You read this and want to say, “Duh, Kristin.” Life doesn’t follow paper form though, does it? Emotions and exhaustion take over and we find ourselves just getting by. Irritation and negativity creep on in and, before we know it, we’re sitting at square one again, pissed off and disconnected.

Marriage is a ton of work. A healthy marriage with four small kids in constant tow sometimes borders on impossible. So here we are again, recognizing our faults and pulling ourselves out of life’s mud, because this family is the one thing we refuse to fail at.

Good luck, us.

Change is hard.