Mama Mantra: Dads Deserve a Break Too
Posted March 26, 2019 by Prairie Wife - 4 comments
“If he doesn’t ever do anything, why do you care that he’s leaving for a week?”
These words were spoken to me by a male co-worker, friend, and father of two young boys.
Upon hearing them, I was silent.
It was one of those times when one well-spoken sentence causes a huge shift in thinking.
At the time I was a working mother with a 6-month-old. I was tired, overwhelmed, and feeling all alone in my new role as a mother.
Apparently, my co-worker had listened one too many times to my complaints about how my husband wasn’t helping enough. This particular time, I was bemoaning the fact that he was leaving for a whole week of Elk hunting.
I’m pretty sure I had enough sense to admit at the time that he was right, but his words were something that I pondered for days afterward.
I knew I had a wonderful husband. He loved me, he loved our son, and he went to work every morning to help provide for us. He helped out around the house, and while he never got up with the baby at night, he did make dinner occasionally and spent hours walking up and down the halls with a colicky little baby so I could have a few hours of sleep at naptime.
Because of my co-worker’s well-timed comment, I realized that I had gotten caught in the husband hating trap that overwhelmed mothers often fall into.
It’s easy to think of how easy things are for THEM while WE take care of children, the home, shower every few days, take care of our bodies, try and manage family and friends…and for some mothers, a career as well.
How often do your friends sit down and talk about all the good things their partners do?
How often do they sit down and vent and complain, or engage in a well-known sport called husband bashing?
Even if you’re in a great spot in your marriage you probably aren’t going to respond to one of their comments about avoiding sex with how much you’re currently enjoying it.
I think it’s safe to say that most of us have a pretty great partner. At least, when you take the time to truly think about it, I hope you can say this.
Please don’t think that I never get pissed at The Cowboy and vent to my close friends. I certainly have my moments of frustration. I just pick carefully who I vent to, and I don’t air my dirty laundry on Facebook.
I 100% enjoy a few well-placed jabs at his expense (he really did have to ask me which one was the washing machine and which was the dryer on time) but it’s obviously done with a dose of love and a dash of humor (I hope).
But overall I kind of just keep my mouth shut when the husband bashing begins, or change the subject.
Like anything, focusing on the negative makes more negative appear, and the cycle of husband bashing doesn’t do anyone any good.
And yes, for nine years The Cowboy had five days a week sleeping uninterrupted all night long in a hotel room, with full access to warm meals and a gym.
But, he did it so I could stay home with our children, my dream job.
Yes, he only got up with the babies once or twice ever (and I do mean ever) in the middle of the night.
But, on the weekends he would take them after the 4:30 AM feeding and rock them for hours in the basement watching TV so I could catch up on sleep before the next feeding.
If I’m going to be honest (and why not since we’ve come this far) the first few years of being a mom I was so dang pissed and tired most of the time because of my pride.
I thought I could do it all.
Had to do it all.
Needed to do it all.
He would dress the baby for me, and when he brought him out I’d roll my eyes and redress him because it wasn’t the right outfit.
He’d load the dishwasher “wrong” and I’d redo it, instead of being thankful it was done.
A few kids later I learned to accept what he had to give with a heartfelt thank you.
Instead of being furious each year when he went Elk hunting, bitter and angry that he got to go FOR A WHOLE WEEK and do his most favorite thing in the world. I told him I wanted my own version of an Elk hunting trip.
Now that we are finally waking up from a decade long fog of newborns and toddlers I’m taking time, and making time, to do things that make my heart full.
And I’m making sure he does the same thing.
There are so many articles about how women need to learn self-care, that being a SAHM or a working mom is draining and you have to fill your cup…
But what about the dads?
The Cowboy works most days from 5 in the morning until 5 at night, and then a few days a week takes the boys to wrestling practice and/or makes dinner.
How is he making sure that HE refuels his soul so he has enough to give?
Yes, he has his yearly Ek hunt but what is he doing other than that?
We actually recently had a big conversation about this.
And it turns out, Dad’s have “dad guilt” (just like we have mom guilt) especially when they spent the majority of their children’s lives on the road.
But, things are different now…
Just like I can finally take the time to workout and see friends consistently, he can now go to the shooting range weekly, or ride his horse on a Sunday afternoon without me left feeling bitter and angry.
I’ve seen how self-care has benefited me, why shouldn’t my husband experience that as well?
OK, I admit that when he takes 3 weeks to Elk hunt, my feathers get a bit ruffled.
But his regular week…go for it.
Moms, please, don’t get caught in the negativity of husband bashing, even if it’s just in your own head.
Focus on what they do for you and your family, ask for help, tell them what you need, and pray for them.
And please don’t forget, dads deserve a break too.