One weekend morning, like many before, I found myself becoming frustrated with the seemingly nonchalant behavior of my husband. Frustrated because of the lack of awareness and support for getting our day started. I compared how him and I were different in my head, adding to my frustration.
If my husband showered first, I’d encourage the kids to jump in with him quickly while I changed and dressed their baby brother. Then I’d be back to get the two kiddos out of the shower, dried off, the youngest diapered, both dressed, teeth brushed, hair combed, and downstairs for breakfast. All while my husband finished getting ready. Me being the only person left to look like I just rolled out of bed, and therefore, holding the family up.
But if I showered first, like this particular morning, the roles would not reverse. I’d shower with our daughter and be the one to get her in and out, dried, diapered, dressed, etc. I’d only be partially dressed and nowhere near ready for the day, all while my husband laid in bed with our oldest. I’d then move on to get our oldest dressed and ready for the day, my husband now sitting in our room with the baby. Next, I’d come to get the baby ready and my husband would then get up to shower and be ready for the day. A similar ending with me being the only person not ready to seize the day.
On this morning I’d had enough. I was going to let all my frustration and opinions on the matter out. I’d done so good at holding it all inside before. This time I planned to speak my mind!
My frustrations carried like a chip on my shoulder, I stepped into our bedroom ready to fight, but stopped short of delivering the first proverbial blow. There I saw my husband, lying on our bed with our oldest, watching train videos and talking about trains. I saw a dad taking one-on-one time with our oldest, and building on their already solid relationship.
My husband was not being lazy. He was not ignoring the help I needed to get our family ready and out the door. He was creating memories. He was taking time to be present.
There is a big difference between moms and dads. And, if your household is anything like mine, it can feel like the mom takes on all the tasks. Why? Because women are wired to do this! We are multitaskers to the core! And personally, I am not good at centering myself in the moment. My husband, however, is.
While I see all the things that need to be done, and the best ways to make these tasks seamless, my husband sees the needs of our children in a different way. Not what they need physically, but rather what they need emotionally. I guess you could say we take care of different needs in our family, and with that we create a well rounded home.
I’m not sure if he’s consciously aware of what he’s doing. But I can say, taking the ten minutes to watch train videos with J helps to center the 5 year old, and give him the ability to take on the day in a more positive light. As cliche would have it, you have to water the seed in order for it to grow. This is exactly what my husband is doing!
In an ever changing world, where presence and living in the moment is so few and far between, it can seem like those who do slow down are simply lazy. How absurd is that? And yet, I fall into this category of people who assume laziness. I am wired to take on many tasks at a time, and struggle with slowing down. Naturally, I slip into the assumption that those who are not like me, a.k.a. my husband, are not doing their part. But I couldn’t be more wrong.
My husband has a gift. A gift of being present. Of acknowledging, that amongst all that needs to be done, there is always time to put the phone down, stop working on the dishes, and play with the kids. And despite how he may feel inside, he does not condemn me for being different than him. He simply takes the time with our kids, and subtly encourages my presence.
They say opposites attract. Perhaps it’s true. And what a blessing! If our family needs fine detailing and a well planned schedule, I’m the lady for the job. If the kids need to sit and play or put a puzzle together, my husband is hired! We each bring important pieces, and together we create a well rounded, and balanced home.
Next time you feel like your partner doesn’t get it, and isn’t doing what you expect, just take a minute. Look at the bigger picture. Because the likely reality is that he or she is doing exactly what is right. It just may not be what you envisioned. In fact, it may be better!