The Truth About the ‘Old Ball and Chain’

Only two months since my last post, not too shabby. ::pats self on back::

This post is a bit different, I’m going to talk about marriage. My marriage specifically. I’m usually pretty quiet about it, I feel like marriage is sacred between two people and when you discuss it openly it lessens it, like you’re letting others in to your secret. Today, though, today I’m going to talk about it and really open up about some vulnerable things that some may find uncomfortable.

I also want to preface this with a note that this is not about any other relationship than my own. This isn’t about single moms or separated-but-coparenting families, nothing like that, this is only about me and the man I’m married to.

I went to college. I had every intention of not having kids and working my whole life. Well now, I spent the first 8 months of motherhood as a SAHM (stay-at-home mom) and then started watching a child. Here we are, five years later, and I have a full daycare. I never would’ve planned this for my life but I love how things are unfolding and truly believe this is where I am meant to be right now.

When our daughter was born I had severe postpartum anxiety and OCD (you can read about it in previous posts of mine), it prevented me from enrolling her in daycare because I was so concerned about her being injured or killed at the hands of another that I would spend more time panicking than enjoying life. My husband never pushed me to do it, when I started watching the one child he said, “As long as you can cover your student loans then go for it.”

Five years later we have more in our world as far as bills, including a mortgage and two car payments, but he has not pushed me outside of my comfort zone as far as work. He supports me running a full-time daycare, he knows when things are stressing me out, he encourages me in my volunteer opportunities, he gets my anxiety and doesn’t hold it against me.

We’ve all seen those things floating around on facebook about how much at-home moms do in a day; there’s a popular one right now about a husband coming home and complaining that the house is a mess, is it so hard for his wife to just have a nice house for him to come home to? What he doesn’t see is all the laundry and cleaning his wife did while the kids went behind undoing it, he didn’t acknowledge that she made his favorite dinner, etc. Any at-home parent knows that feeling.

The truth is I do all of that, too. I’m the only one who woke up in the middle of the night with our daughter since birth. When she’s sick, I’m on it. I play nurse, coach, cheerleader, chef, entertainer, chauffeur, counselor, maid, the list goes on. I’ve complained about the lack of recognition.

The truth is, though, that I am able to be all of those things to our daughter, and to my daycare children, because of my husband.

He works about 55 miles away and wakes up at 3:15 every day to get to work early (because of parking), then naps in the car till his shift, works in conditions I certainly wouldn’t want to, drives an hour home (as long as there’s no traffic, then that can lengthen to up to two hours), spends hours doing homework because he’s also in the apprentice school at his job to advance his opportunities, he still cuts the grass, attends our daughter’s school events, AND volunteers with the VFW. After a 40 hour work week, ten hours (give or take) in driving, and 15ish hours of homework…he is working overtime this weekend!

The truth is, there is no backbone in our house. We are twin pillars. He is the provider, the hunter and gatherer, if you will. I am the nurturer, the homemaker.

My daycare income helps to pay down some family bills, extracurricular activities for our daughter, etc. I often feel badly because I’m not providing a major financial contribution to our home. Any time we bicker and money comes up I feel even worse. My husband is definitely the financial provider, but what I can’t contribute to there, I contribute to in many other ways. That doesn’t make either one of us superior or inferior.

So. There you have it. This is my public declaration that, while I work hard, my husband works hard, too. Every at-home parent would love a pat on the back, a “thanks for dinner, this is delicious!” because I know I’ve grumbled about those things, but at the same time, how often do at-home parents actually say, “Thanks, [spouse], for busting your butt every day for us to have this life. I appreciate you.”?

That is what this is about.

Thank you husband, my man piece, for busting your butt every day for us to have this life. I love you and I appreciate you and all of your sacrifices. I am blessed to have you. In your grumpiness, in your snoring, in your goofiness, in your dirty boots or your sexy basketball shorts, I love it all and I love you.

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