I recently wrote about the intense program I am doing at my gym three-days-a-week. I wrote about how sore I feel – all the time. About how motivated I am. About how I am learning to make my health a priority. What I didn’t write about is how fortunate I am to have a strong support system. I am only able to take the time for me because my husband is willing and able to help. For this I am grateful.
My husband has always been a hands-on and present father, but in the last month he has really taken things to a new level. I won’t say I am surprised, but I am impressed.
On workout days, the moment the last child in my daycare is picked up, I rush to change and head off to the gym. On these days he feeds all four kids and makes sure the main level is organized. Then when I get home exhausted and starving he initiates the bedtime routine with the older children, so I can eat (my lean protein and veggies) and put the baby to bed. Sometimes by the time I finish my dinner to join them, I find him snuggled in bed reading to the five and six-year-old.
There really is nothing sexier. After seven+ years of marriage I can truly say I am more in love with him now than I was from the beginning. And not just because he is a good father. Because he is a good partner for me.
Not once has he complained. Not once has he even seemed annoyed by taking on more responsibility. And not once has he referred to this time as babysitting, which is a pet peeve of mine because a father caring for his kids is not babysitting – it’s just being a parent. In return I have made a conscious effort not to criticize or critique his style. So what if he doesn’t do things the way I would.
I know many mothers, me included, who have a hard time letting go of control. We want everything to be done a certain way, so we set our partners up for failure by expecting nothing less than a carbon copy of ourselves. I have to tell you that this is impossible.
If you want help, you have to A. ask and B. let them do it their way. Seriously.
For years, I used my nightly responsibilities to the children as an excuse that held me back from carving out even an hour just for me. What I have learned is that they are surviving and thriving without me for those 90 minutes I am gone three-nights-a-week. Do I feel slighted or sad about this realization? Do I think I can be replaced? No, not at all. I am happier than ever.
I love that they are bonding with their father. I love that I can trust my partner to be just that - a partner. I know from first-hand experience what it is like to be a single mother and perhaps this gives me a different insight. I could never do what I am doing if I was still a single mom. The respect I have for single parents who do make this happen is beyond great. Perhaps this makes me more grateful and appreciative for the little things. Regardless, I feel blessed.
Thank you baby – for everything (yes, this post just turned into a very public love letter and I hope he is thoroughly embarrassed).
Do you have trouble asking for help, even from your partner? Are you afraid or unable to let go of control? I want to hear from you. Please leave a comment or join the discussion on the Tiny Steps Mommy Facebook page.