We’re celebrating four years of marriage today. Four years of being best friends, better halves, parenting partners, and trying our best to help the other person get and stay on the road to the kind of happiness that only comes from a complete gift of yourself.
Lord knows my husband’s a saint for many reasons, including but not limited to: taking night shift with kids, bringing me ice cream in bed, binge-watching the new Arrested Development season 4 despite having an early rise for work, being open to living so closely with my family, loving both poker and the Latin Mass with my dad, insisting my mom’s dried up chicken dinners are fabulous (to be fair, she got a new recipe and now her chicken is SO moist!), teaching SuperBoy to be the third base at his law firm softball league’s game, and reading to our squirmy daughter every night, despite her best escape efforts.
One of my most necessary parenting partnering elements I need at this point in life is the ability to step away from the needs of a two-children-under-three household for about an hour each night and just do whatever I want. As I write that, I feel guilty. I feel like I should be on 24-7. I feel like taking time to vegetate, or watch a little TV, or read my book, or talk on the phone with my sister whilst laying down in bed, or sewing, or sitting in front of my screen, all of these are guilty pleasures for a parent. Especially a mom who opts for staying home. I should be, like, tending to my laundry, doing the dinner dishes, dusting the front of the house because all I’ve been doing all day is playing with my kids and eating! Somehow not working outside of my house makes me feel like I have no excuse for being tired by 6:20 when AA walks in the door. I know this makes no sense, but there it is.
My husband comes in the door, swoops up the kids, takes them with him to change his clothing, gobbles down dinner, plays outside, inside, upside down. Then gives baths. Then starts reading for bedtime. He encourages me to just take time for myself. Not to do anything productive, he likes to add. He knows me all too well. I’ll probably knit while on the phone while on the computer. But somedays I will set aside my guilty feelings, just lay on the bed, watching old Alias on Netflix and feel intellectually motivated to work out. And when it’s time to nurse SweetPea to sleep, rocking her and talking with her, I may or may not cruise Pinterest on my phone as she drifts off to SlumberLanding.
If your partner is like mine, and chances are hopefully high he or she is, I pray that you too have encouragement to take time off, take time away, and leave the parenting guilt behind. If we never take a break, we’re constantly seeking an “out” during the day and the frustration levels become tsunami-high. Without the knowledge I’ll have time to vege, I try to get that time during the day in little bits and spurts. And grow angry when someone wakes up early from their nap and someone else won’t let me finish sewing while happily playing beside me. Knowing I’ll have the time means embracing the annoyances and constantly beautiful needs of small children. And knowing I don’t have to spend that time being productive means letting go of the illusions of being perfect, and replacing that concept with that of being loved.
Thank you for four years of wedded amazingness, and almost three years of co-pilot parenting. Billions of bisous to my AA.