It always amazes me when I hear wives griping about their husbands shortcomings. It happens everywhere. Wives complaining about how their husbands don't do enough around the house, don't spend enough time with the kids, don't appreciate everything the wife does for the family, etc, etc, etc. Women will complain to co-workers, sisters, friends, and even relative strangers, pretty much any other wife that might sympathize and understand, and most wives I've seen join in on the complaining. I'm not going to say that I've never complained about my husband, that I'm sure wouldn't be the truth, but in general I chose to celebrate all his good qualities. My husband cooks, cleans, shops, is a great father, loves me, and will do just about anything I ask of him, within reason. He is the man that I love and the man that I chose to spend the rest of my life with. We are partners committed to living this life together and raising our family together. I vowed to love, honor and respect him and I plan on keeping my vow. I feel that it would be very disrespectful to him and to our marriage to gripe about him to others. It would also be a major drain on my energy and mood. It is so much easier and has a better effect on my day to celebrate the good in my husband, my marriage and my life.
Last night at ballet the theme was how husbands have it so easy and don't understand how much work kids are in the morning. One of the moms was saying that, like Jason, her husband is up and out of the house before the kids are even awake in the morning. She is responsible for getting them up, dressed, fed and off to school and daycare before going to work. He has it "easy" because he can just hop out of bed, into the shower, throw on some clothes and leave for work by 4:30 or 5am and not worry about anyone but himself. I shared our story of how Jason and I came to an agreement when Emma Jo was very young that since I had to get her ready in the morning that a fair trade-off would be for him to prepare her lunch before he left. Making lunch was one thing he could do while she was still sleeping that would take one thing of my plate in the morning. For the past 9.5 years he had done that just about every morning. Every morning when I see the lunches lined up on the kitchen counter it is a reminder to me that we are a partnership, that we took the time to work out a solution together, that Jason was willing to listen to my needs and do what he could to make it easier on my and make this whole thing work. I shared our story with the moms at ballet and the one mom who was complaining said that she would never trust her husband to make a proper lunch for their daughter. I was struck with how sad that was. Sure Jason may not make the kinds of lunch I might have made, but at least he makes them. He loves our children just as much as I do and who am I to tell him how to raise or what to feed his child. I would be offended if someone judged my lunch-making skills so I most certainly am not going to judge his. Instead I'm going to be grateful that he took the time to make the lunch and enjoy the fact that I don't have to.
The other part of the conversation that keeps floating around my head is how "lucky" the mom thought her husband was because he got to leave the house at 5am and not have to deal with any children in the morning. I've felt that way before so I know exactly where she was coming from. Some days it is all I can do to get all three kids dressed, brushed, fed and out the door in the morning. Some days I wish that I could leave before they wake and only have to deal with myself. Then I try to see the flip side. The other day at work, my co-worker (a dad), was saying how much he loves taking his little girl to preschool. It cuts into his morning commute and always makes him worried that he will be late to work, but he related how it makes him feel so good to get to take her to school and share her excitement about the day. She gives him hugs and kisses and it is a special time for just the two of them. I realize that Jason may have peace and quiet in the morning, and misses out on the chaos, but he also misses out on hugs and kisses. He doesn't get to wave to Grace through the window of preschool each day. He doesn't get to tease Emma Jo that he is going to kiss her goodbye in front of her friends (but always relent and give a high-five instead). He doesn't even get to pick out the handsomest little big-boy clothes for Cooper and be amazed at how grownup he is getting each morning.
Sure, he may not always notice my new haircuts or bring home flowers, but he always loves me. He always loves our kids. He cooks and cleans. He helps with anything I ask of him and many things I don't. He is always trying. He's a great provider, listener and friend. He is my partner. I know that he will stand by my side through anything and will always boost me up. He will be my biggest fan and my sounding board and my shoulder to cry on. He may not be perfect, but neither am I.
Edited to Add: He did notice my new haircut and he did bring me flowers. I really do love this man.