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Girl Talk: A Helping Hand

Q. I'm often asked if my husband is a good "helper." He does whatever I ask, but why do I have to ask him? How can I make him chip in on his own?

A. Let me answer this question with a question: Did you have an equal partnership during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, or was your husband your "helper"? My guess is you did all of the pushing and panting while your husband took on secondary jobs  -- like driving you to the hospital or letting you curse his loins.

In other words, having a baby meant that you became the sun and your husband, an orbiting planet. And, after seeing the miracle of birth, your partner may have felt as insignificant as Pluto. He may continue to believe this unless you convince him that he's more than a distant ball of gas. The best way to communicate this is to, well, communicate. Have a serious sit-down, and if all goes well, you'll only have to do this once (okay, twice).

Be realistic. Most husbands I know aren't clairvoyant, no matter how well they do in fantasy football. That said, your partner should be bright enough to grasp when to step in and do his share. Point out the household chores and baby tasks that you'd like him to do regularly (without having to ask) and then  -- here's the key  -- let him do them. The best way for you to demonstrate that you have faith in his ability as a parent is to let him become one.