To The Baby Daddies
This post is for the guys….My husband just did something relatively out of character for him..
He took my two-year-old and my five-year-old with him on a short business trip.
Its not that he is incapable of caring for them. Heck, my house is usually cleaner when I leave him home with the kids than when I try and keep it clean myself. He’s calm, cool and collected and great at managing kids and chaos. He can juggle just about anything, so that wasn’t the issue. But he’s much more likely to keep the kids at home for me to get away, then to take them off my hands. When I told Abi he was taking them, she replied, aghast “you’re kidding! Dad doesn’t even take Gigi to the grocery store“!!
Slight exaggeration, but….he would be the first to say he’s not really a “baby” person and is enjoying our kids immensely more now that the older can talk and take care of basic needs on their own. He’s going to be the awesome teen dad when Im pining away wanting another baby!
But this selfless act was a gift I didn’t even know I needed. With the 4 other kids in school for several hours a day, I found myself with a commodity I have not had access to in longer than I can remember – uninterrupted time!
Men, your wives need a break from being a mom sometimes!
1) Because she deserves it.
And Im not talking about a feminist, womens-lib, equality, burn-the-bras, soapbox “deserves it”. Im just saying, its a thankless job that she needs to be commended for from time to time. You men face tremendous pressure often as the “breadwinner” for the family. You carry the weight of physical provision, mouths to feed, school tuition to pay for and never-ending projects around the house that need your handyman expertise….and that is a lot to shoulder. But your days look very different than your wife’s days. When you organize your desk, it stays in nice, neat stacks until you mess it up.
When she is cleaning the bathroom, there is a child spilling milk in the kitchen.
When you type up a presentation, you arrange your points and work until every detail is “just so”.
When she tries to respond to the email about the PTO meeting, little Jr. is on her lap pounding keyboard buttons with his fists.
Even at its worst, most days you get to drive home from the office, in a car, all alone. There are times that sitting in a car in rush hour traffic sounds like a vacation if it means Im alone! The women who choose a career as a house wife get none of the following….bonuses….raises…..vacation days….sick days….expense accounts….or trips to the ladies room without an entourage accompanying her! Our bonuses come in the forms of sweet sticky peanut butter kisses, which I wouldn’t trade for the world. But when days on end pass with no adult conversation and a steady diet of nursery rhymes, play dough, homework and incessant “why’s” from the cranky toddler, you just need a break sometimes!
You’ve probably seen the comic strip with kids pictured in each frame with their mom asking,
“Mom, where’s the remote?”
“Mom, whats for dinner?”
“Mom, why is the sky blue?”
“Mom, I need help with homework!”
“Mom, I need my soccer shorts”
Then in the last frame with their dad,
My life feels like that comic strip somedays. The questions do. not. stop! Im so mentally fried by bedtime that I find myself sprinting for the door after tucking them in before another question pops into their drowsy minds.
2) Because she’s not a bad mom for taking a break.
You know this.
Everyone knows this.
But she might not know this, and may need some convincing.
We can tend to be martyrs at times and believe we need to be everything to everyone all the time…but then we develop resentment and feel inadequate and grow weary. We mommas can be so in tune with the needs of our family, that we neglect our own. Im not talking about taking off for weeks at a time to go snorkeling in Bali.
But Im talking about windows that refresh her soul.
C had to persuasively convince me that I needed to relax and let the girls go with him. Frankly, I don’t like having them gone. I consider myself pretty capable and insisted he didn’t need to take them. I feel guilty for not being all things to all people sometimes. I was certainly not going to admit that I needed some concentrated hours to get caught up. C, in his wisdom, knew Ive been feeling a bit overwhelmed and behind on some projects and insisted they’d be fine without me for 48 hours.
And they were.
And the even more amazing part….so was I!
We mommas desperately need to quiet our hearts. To think completed thoughts. To finish projects. With little ones always filling our days and hours and sink with dirty dishes, we can feel pretty unproductive. It was therapy to me to check some things off my list and have the mental capacity to process some thoughts that have been swirling around in my tired, overloaded brain!
3) Because it will pay dividends.
Men suffer too when their wives are burnt out, strung out, put out. You feel neglected when your wife never returns from putting the kids to bed because…..she fell asleep too.
Do yourselves a favor. Take bath time after dinner and let your wife do the dishes without little people underfoot. Or bring her coffee on a Saturday morning and whisk the kids away to run errands with you. Even small gestures like this give us moms a chance to think completed thoughts and to get a mental break. When your wives have time to spend with the Lord and have Him fill their empty cups, they are likely to be less-needy and have more to offer. She wants to share your life, to hear about your stresses at work, to connect and engage, but unfortunately for you, you are usually getting her at the end of a very taxing day when you walk in at 6:00pm asking whats for dinner – she’s ready to pull her hair out.
You giving her time should not be with strings attached, but Im guessing she will be much more eager to connect, and feeling much more amorous toward you if she’s had a break from the daily grind. You won’t regret giving her 20 minutes peace and quiet!
A big shout-out to my “baby daddy” for knowing me better than I know myself sometimes.
Im refreshed. Sane again. And eager to have him home tonight!
(Remind me of this blessed moment of consciousness when Gigi is pitching a full blown 2-year-old fit tomorrow. Silence did, if only briefly, exist in this home!)