It’s easy to get caught up in the hectic life of a mom. But don’t forget that your husband needs your attention too!
We write everything down on our calendars, and try to keep it all straight. We schedule doctors appointments, remember school functions, RSVP to birthday parties, sign various school forms, and get everyone to and from their respective activities, practices and games.
Parenthood comes with all of these details to juggle because we put our kids at a high priority. And we should.
But it’s easy to become so focused on the details that we take other things for granted. Or other people. My marriage gets put on the backburner often. I think I just take for granted that my husband is an adult and can fend for himself while I’m orchestrating everything else. He’s a grown man, so he’s fine on autopilot, right? We’ll have plenty of time, we can go back and fix that when the kids are older. Or after we get through this week, and after we get through that week.
Before too long you can feel like you’re just passing your favorite roommate (or support staff member) in the hallway. I know it isn’t right for it to be that way, but do I really need one more thing on my plate right now? Then again, marriage is a pretty big thing to leave off of my plate.
Once a week I meet with other moms. We laugh and cry and support each other as we navigate motherhood. An older woman who now has adult children, said something once that gave me a great perspective.
She spoke about marriage in the thick of raising a family and how busy life gets. She said it’s important to remember “You see yourself as mom, and he still sees you as wife.”
Ding-ding-ding I thought, oh yeah! I have a husband. Many of the other moms were in agreement. It’s a very common thing in a busy life. My, how things change after adding kids to the mix.
I think it’s also true that moms see themselves as wives, and dads see themselves as dads. But women are conditioned to put the care of the children ahead of all else, even themselves.
The last thing in the world I want to add to a woman’s plate is more guilt. Believe me, I know.
But the other morning before my husband left for work, I gave him a big long hug. And after he left, as I was folding laundry, I tried to imagine what it would be like without him here. The house was really quiet, and I thought, what if he left? What if he passed away or just wasn’t here? What would I do? He’s such a big part of everything, though he is often behind the scenes. Waiting in the wings.
If he were no longer here I know I would really regret canceling that one date night at home to make room for something else. I would regret putting more money into a child’s birthday party rather than a special anniversary night. There would be a lot of things I would wish I could get a redo on, and a lot more goodbye morning kisses and hugs I wouldn’t have rushed.
There’s a (slim) chance I would have been more understanding about socks on the living room floor or unkempt piles of shoes in the hallway. I would maybe be a little less resentful about an unpacked suitcase left by the door for several days after a business trip.
I would’ve said thank you more. Thank you for wrestling around with the kids after work to give me a break. Thank you for making advances towards me all those times, even though there was very little chance I would be interested. Thank you for letting me vent and be in bad moods. Thank you for the gift certificate to the salon that I never found time to use or even remember that I have. Thank you for being home every night and always doing whatever I’ve asked of you. And for always going along with my crazy ideas. You deserve more.
I proudly wear my Mom badge, though at times I’m sure I look more like a frazzled, harebrained crazy person just trying to keep it together. But now that the kids are a little older, I feel like I’m in a much smoother place with them since they aren’t babies anymore.
I still very much see myself as mom, but I want to remember he still sees me as wife.
And maybe instead of waiting to regret not saying and doing all of these things, maybe I can say and do them now. And if I need a reminder to keep it as a high priority, I can always add it to my calendar with all of the other things that are important to me.
Would you like to help us shatter stereotypes about men?
Receive stories from The Good Men Project, delivered to your inbox daily or weekly.
Photo: Getty Images