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 Dear Mama,
These letters center around being a mother, though a big part of creating a balanced motherhood and all that comes with it, is a healthy marriage, union, partnership, relationship—whatever you go by. So today's letter to you about just that—my marriage and all marriages, and how patriarchy is still shaping majority of them. 
Now before we jump right into this super important and necessary conversation, I suggest you read my article for Insider first (see link below). The title might seem dramatic, though it's true—my cesarean did save my marriage! Though I was so limited in word count for this piece that I want to elaborate on a lot of the points in this letter, and talk about what I am doing today within my marriage to continue saving it. 
Okay so now that you have read that, let's go…
I don't want to speak for all relationships, though I do know most women in a heterosexual one feel there is an imbalance between the work they do at home and with the kids, compared to the man. It seems each time I meet a friend for a coffee or we speak on the phone this topic universally is brought up. So this was one of the biggest inspirations for me writing that article and sharing such a personal side to my marriage. 
It all started with me being a resentful wife. You probably are familiar with this feeling and I deeply believe it is the silent killer in marriages. Like my mother before me, and my grandmother before her, the women in my family bit their tongues and unhappily raised their children and did everything in the house, while their husbands worked. I too was following down this same path. James went to work and supported our family, while I took care of almost everything with the house and kids. He was loving and a very hands on father, but I quietly resented the fact that I had to meal plan, meal prep, cook, clean, tidy, do the laundry, sort the clothes, buy the clothes that no longer fit, arrange the social calendar, etc. etc. etc….. 
I didn't say a word until I was forced to.
Like I said in my Insider piece, my elective cesarean forced me to finally ask James to fully step up, and he did. But you might be wondering, well I am not having major surgery any time soon, so how can I make these changes at home? Well I am glad you asked!
These small changes can start today. Like, right now. 
After my infection healed and I could help James with all the house chores and kids again, I wrote out a list of what needs to be done. Now we are very lucky to have a cleaner come once a week, the major house clean is taken care of, so the list consisted of all the other things that need to get done day to day. Once everything was written out, we sat down to discuss what we would each take on, together and separately.
This might sound simple and you might be thinking, well my partner should just see all the work I am doing to make this a happy home for us all, but I actually think men don't see it. They don't know where to even begin with the housework, until we are God forbid ‘nagging’ them. And I am sorry to say they aren't mind readers. So I think if we want change within our homes and balance, it is our job to bring these conversations up to enforce the change we want. 
Before I was bed ridden James had no idea what a full time, endless job taking care of the kids and home were. It wasn't until he was doing it all that he had a new appreciation for me as a mother. It completely shifted his perspective of all the tallies, the to-do's, and the multi-tasking mind us mothers have. 
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I mentioned in article that the scariest part of asking for help and more balance is you don't know the response. Because what if you finally pluck up the courage and ask for help, and your partner says no. 
You can't unknow that. 
My writing coach told me her friend did this—she gave her husband one year to step up, help and make some real changes within their family dynamic—he didn't and she left. This might be an extreme, because I don't think it is fair to request change and expect it right away, we have to work together, though I do think this is a great example of how this imbalance at home can ruin a relationship and damage it in the long run. It is no surprise both my parent's and grandparent's marriages ended in divorce.
And It has to start with a conversation, a plea for change. To share the list and talk about what tasks they can take on each day. Whether that be unloading and loading the dishwasher before or after work, and helping to fold laundry while you watch Netflix. These small changes are how to begin.
I would be lying if I said, yeah things are super smooth and perfect since James started to help… it in no way has been like that. We still have ongoing conversations—some more heated than others. He has told me I have to lower my expectations, because he is willing to take on these extra jobs at home, but will not do it to the standard I uphold for myself. And fair enough. I think that ends up being half the battle for us. I used to not want James to help because I knew I would do it better and faster. Now I have come to a place where I know he will fold the laundry his way and clean the kitchen with his own style, and that is fine. As long as I don't feel resentment towards him and we can talk about it when we need to, I let him be.
The biggest shift in our marriage, apart from me not feeling completely burned out from doing everything anymore, is that there is now a mutual appreciation for what each other does. When I cook he now really understands the time and effort that went into meal planning, ordering the groceries and cooking it, and he stops and thanks me, and really means it now. When he puts on laundry, line dries it, and folds it, I am beyond appreciative and can express that.
I don't want to blame men in all this, because it isn't their fault. It is how society has shaped them and their fathers—the patriarchy. But just because we see this dynamic portrayed still to this day doesn't mean we need to follow it. The ultimate change in all of this is for our children to see their mother and father balancing the duties at home, so when they enter into their own relationships as adults they will have different expectations for themselves and for their partners.
This won't all change with a flick of a switch. This will be ongoing, and you, your partner, your relationship and your motherhood are so worth these difficult conversations.
I would love to continue this conversation! Feel free to reply or DM me on Instagram

What's New…
If you see me on my phone watching reels, I am probably watching Laura Danger. She is a must follow for all women, especially mothers. She elaborates on all the topics I covered in this letter, including imbalance at home, patriarchal motherhood and resentment. She is assertive and honest, and I love her! 
Next on the List…
Jessamine Chan
I can't believe I am going to say this, but I am putting down memoirs this time to read a fiction book. This summer The School for Good Mothers was everywhere and it caught my interest in it's title and riveting synopsis. So after not reading a fiction book in over two years, I have decided to give it a go again. And since I have started to send my own motherhood book out to agents I am even more intrigued to read books on the topic. I know I am late to the Jessamine Chan party, but this looks so good! Have you read this one yet?
Thank you so much for reading this month's letter. I appreciate you being here!
Love, Jules
Photo by Wildeyed Photography