It was nine ‘o clock at night and I had just put my feet up on our ottoman and exhaled a deep “finally” type of sighs. Our daughter was in bed, bathed, well read, prayed over, and quiet for the first time since her feet hit the ground running that morning. Our other baby still in the womb, was gently kicking with just a little over a month to go. My favorite guilty pleasure show was about to begin and I greedily cozied down for what would be the most relaxing part of my day. Whew. Next stop after this was sleep. I was practically salivating for my pregnancy pillow and my warm bed. Then, came such a clamor. I was jolted out of my moment of nirvana by the sound of clanks of the dishes and the sound of running water. Now, whoever could that be?
And then I heard his voice; “Are you starting the show without me?!” Somehow, in my moment of narcissistic tranquility I had but for an instant forgotten about the other member of our household: My husband. The father of these children. The lord of the manor. The 35-year-old handsome hunk I live with.
Yes, I admit; there are times when I’m a bad wife. Let the aforementioned night be a case in point: I forgot about my husband for a split second. And I’m ashamed to say, this probably wasn’t the first time this has happened. I know. June Cleaver is probably turning over in her grave. In all the hullabaloo, routine, and survival of our days as mothers, there is one party that sometimes (emphasis on sometimes) gets partially neglected. That party being the husbands.
Feeling guilty for being guilty of neglect, I turned the TV off and waited for him to join me in the living room. And as if he could detect my egregious spousal error, he said “You know, I was looking at some pictures of us before we had any kids the other day. We just look so … irresponsible.” I burst out laughing at that moment because I knew exactly what he meant. Before we had children, our biggest responsibilities were our jobs and each other. Our email and text conversations throughout the day consisted of things like “I miss you so much! Where should we go to happy hour?” And, “Can’t wait to spend the weekend with you, should we head to the mountains?” Or, “Should I make reservations at that new, hot restaurant tonight?” Our responsibilities were minimal and often frivolous and all we could think of was spending time together.
Today, post children, our email and text conversations read a little bit different. “Can you pick up diapers and plant fertilizer on your way home? Oh … and crayons!” Or, “I just saw a bug! Can you call the pest spray people?” And, “I’ll see you at the pediatrician's.” And my personal favorite desperate plea, “Please come home, I need help!” With houses, dogs, children, and increasing age comes increasing responsibility. And sometimes, an increasing pressure to reduce the focus away from each other and on to other life matters; namely the children.
I was reading an article the other day about how even though children are your everything, they actually are not your everything. For a season, young children demand your every attention just to survive, but as they grow older the goal of parenting is to shepherd them out of your house and out into the world as functioning, loving, capable, and independent adults. Part of being able to make that happen is making sure the children know they are important and loved, but at the same time making it clear that the world does not revolve just around them. For example, it would be healthier if the mother did not forget about the father just because she is busy all day with the kids.
Ahem. My bad.
Father’s Day is this month and while I’m usually up here preaching about how amazing women are and how selfless mothers are (hello, we are goddesses!); I want to take this month and say thank you to all the amazing husbands and fathers out there. I know sometimes we neglect you and seemingly forget about you, but we will do better. None of this would be possible without you and we can’t wait to grow old with you and go to hot restaurants and plan spontaneous trips again. We LOVE you. But, seriously, come home. We need help!