I have turned into a lazy husband.

So, I’ve just had a lovely afternoon out with some girls.  Afternoon tea in a very civilized hotel and lots of adult conversation.  It was absolutely delightful.  Unsurprisingly, conversation turned to babies and husbands.

Husbands.

We all love them, (at least, if we don’t then we probably shouldn’t still be married to them).  I adore mine.  I have written before about how wonderful he is, and how much he does for me in my post For My Husband. Of course, we all like a moan too.  (and I am sure they also moan about us) However, today I really started to fully appreciate mine. The girls shared frustrations about things their husbands do (or rather don’t do!). Not only did I have very little to complain about with my own husband, but I could actually see myself in the frustrations they describe.

“He leaves his clothes on the floor or by the washing basket rather than in it.”

Oh dear!  So do I!  I often joke that the laundry fairy picks up after me and somehow my clothes end up clean, ironed and back in the wardrobe.  But I know it’s no fairy.

“He expects a reward when he does something I do every day.”

Daily my husband cleans, cooks, shops and cares for our beautiful daughter.  On the rare occasion I pick up a duster, or do the washing up, I point it out, proud of myself, expecting some form of gold star for my efforts.

“He expects me to organise things for him even when I’m not there.”

If ever my husband is away, he still stocks the fridge with food for me.  He still explains what there is for me to eat and he always ensures everything is straight in the house before he goes.

“He cant see things in front of his face”

I regularly ask him where things are, having missed it when looking myself.  It usually turns out to be right in front of me.

“He never cooks, and always asks me what to give the baby”

Oh dear – my husband does all the cooking, he manages our daughter’s diet and ensures she is eating well.

“When he shops, once every six months, he rearranges the fridge and is frustrated by left over food”

My husband does the weekly food shop, he manages the cupboards and fridge and plans our meals for the week.  If I ever do shop, he provides me with a list, for fear that without one I will not consider what we actually need and instead return with just chocolate and cheese. (A likely outcome).  In fact, I don’t even get the chance to complain about leftovers as he regularly sorts through the kitchen and keeps it all organised.

“When he looks after the baby, he doesn’t play with them, he watches TV or sits at the computer”

This really is me. This is one of the many things I feel insanely guilty for, and a behaviour I wish I could stop.

Enough is enough.  My husband deserves much more respect than this.  He deserves a wife!

I change now – I do more for myself, and even more for him.  I stop being a male stereotype and start being a good wife.  The wife he deserves.

Goodness knows why he stays with me!

I love you my darling.  I promise to change. (And I really mean it this time!)

 

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What I really mean when I tell you I am fine.

Do you ever wonder why sympathy or support is not forthcoming? Or why people do not give or offer suggestions? I do. All the time. But recently I have started to wonder that perhaps it is the way I ask. Or rather, the way I don’t ask.

Any men reading this will probably not be surprised to learn that I don’t always say what I mean. So for the benefit of friends, family and my long suffering husband, let me try and explain;

What I really mean when I tell you “I’m fine.”

I am not fine. I am sad, I am lonely. I am anxious and scared. I am full of regrets and I feel guilty all the time. But this is all hard to admit, and you don’t really want to know. So “fine” is an answer that suits us both.

What I really mean when I say “Ignore me, I’m being silly”

I am giving you a way out of the conversation, but I don’t really want you to take it. Something you have done or said has made me open up to you. In reality I really don’t want you to ignore me, I want you to help me. I know what what I am sharing may sound silly, but it matters to me and I want you to tell me you understand. I want you to protect me, to love me, and to tell me it’s OK. I want you to validate me and to allow me to have my feelings.

What I really mean when I add a comment on Facebook or Whatsapp.

I am feeling insecure about our relationship at the moment. This is my way of reaching out. Please respond, even if it’s just with that little blue thumbs up. Otherwise I will be convinced you hate me and I will forever be worrying about it.

What I really mean with that winky face emoticon.

Im worried and self conscious and I am pretending that I’m not bothered. The face seems to somehow lighten the mood, it aims to undermine what I have said so that no reply is not a big deal. Really, it’s not.

What I really mean with my excessive messages and status updates.

Please don’t forget me, please respond. Please reassure me that you value my contribution to your life, that you are pleased to be my friend, family, husband. As each message contains more winky faces, read these as desperation and please acknowledge me. I am so scared of being forgotten and not noticed. It makes me feel sick. I exist only when you say I do.

What I really mean when I say “Congratulations!”

I am pleased for you, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a total cow all the time. But it also means, “I wish it was me.” Whatever you may be being congratulated on, it is clearly an exciting new thing. This shakes me and makes me insecure, new things make me seem old and unimportant. A hasbeen.

What I really mean when I am quiet.

This is perhaps the biggest confusion of them all. When I am quiet my brain and heart are screaming. Quiet is such an unnatural state for me. They are screaming for attention, for love and for reassurance. They are fighting each other and they are fighting me. I want you to ask me if I am OK, even though I will probably tell you I am fine, or tired. Quiet means my energy is going and I am not sure how much longer I can last. I am losing the battle.

What do I want you to do about all of this?

Love me, understand me, notice me and, above all, listen to what I mean, not what I say.

To my daughter. Before you were created.

It’s 6am on a Saturday morning and here we are playing. And I couldn’t be happier. These are the moments when life is great.

Before you were created I slept when I wanted.

Now I sleep when you want. And I am fine with this. I feel sad for those who do not enjoy the early morning giggles and adventures. What better way to start the day than by sharing your achievements as I watch you continue to learn? Already sufficient in crawling, you now like to pull yourself up to standing, then turn and look at me with a smile. If you could speak I am sure I would hear “Look Mum, I can do it one handed.”

Before you were created I worried about clothes, shoes, work.

Now I worry about the world you will grow up in. I worry about the future, your future. I worry about your development, your happiness and the time I spend away from you. I worry that we need more money to provide you with all that you deserve.  I worry for those children who are not so fortunate. I want to change the world. I want everyone to feel my love. I want everyone to see your smiles and hear your laughs.

Before you were created I loved Supernanny.

Now she scares me. The discipline I once so admired now fills me with dread. Perhaps when you are older I will change my mind, but now, with a child who needs me, I am not interested in “training” you. I want to teach you love. I want you to learn that no matter what, I will be there to love and support you. If you cry I will comfort you, if the tears are anger or frustration I will help you to find words. If you lash out I will teach you with love. Teach you to reason and to explain. You will always know that I love you.

Before you were created I swore I would stop breastfeeding when “baby has teeth” or “can ask for it.”

How times change! Now we will stop when you are ready. Yesterday your first tooth made an appearance and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon. I have become the mother I once referred to as hippy  and crazy. You are thriving on my milk, our relationship is amazing and we both love breastfeeding. Why would we stop right now?

Before you were created it took less than an hour to leave the house.

Now, even at nearly 8 months, with a well rehearsed set up, leaving the house is a dance that always changes. You come first and are not yet able to understand time. Your hunger and needs do not work to our schedule. Your nappy will be changed, you will be fed, you will be cuddled and comforted. Your bag will be packed and repacked with everything you need. We will get out when you are ready.

Before you were created your Dad and I would spend time alone.

Now we spend time together, with you. Our love has grown beyond measure. He has seen me at my worst and at my best. I have seen a new person in him. We are stronger than ever before. We look forward to those moments alone with excitement. Tomorrow your aunt will enjoy time with you while Daddy and I go out, but we will miss you and be pleased to return to a unit of 3 on our return.

Before you were created I changed my clothes if they were dirty.

Now dirty has a scale. Sick is wiped up, snot is rubbed away. Now a small amount of milk or food is nothing. Poo is different and warrants a change, wee is decided by volume.

Before you were created there was a hole.

Something felt missing. Something felt incomplete. I had no purpose and no reason. I had a love to give that was beyond that of a wife, beyond that of sister, daughter, friend. Now my life has reason, my life has a purpose and I am whole.

Before you were created I dreamt of you.

To the little girl holding on to her mummy’s leg.

To the little girl holding on to her mummy’s leg.

I see you, with your white blonde hair and your blushing cheeks. I see your confidence and I see your fear. I see your nervousness and and I see your pride. 

I watch as you flit between shy and self sure. I admire you. So determined to stand up for what you believe in, so uncompromising in your view and so eager to speak for, and to protect those who you think need you.

Yet you hold on to your mothers leg. Both arms wrapped fully round, your cheek on her thigh as you hide your face from the grown up you don’t yet know, not ready to face that challenge yet, not alone and not now.

I listen as you shout and scream and stamp your feet. Others would call this a tantrum, but I know differently, I know that this is your anger, your anger at what you see as injustice in a world you do not understand.

You love and you trust without reservations. You have been hurt, but have not yet learnt to associate this with other people.

You play schools, and mummys and daddys. You see a great life ahead of you and show no fear or apprehension for the journey that will take you there.

And yet you tightly grip your mothers hand. Exploring, learning and developing, but stretching out from your mother only as far as the length of your combined arms. You are not willing to let go, not ready, not quite yet.

You will go far. You will be successful.

You will fall out with your mother. You will feel angry and let down. Your teenage years will see you frequently let go and return again to that hand and those arms. A place of stability in a world you learn the hard way is not perfect.

You have taught me so much. I envy your fearlessness, envy your pride.

Your games will become a reality. You will become both a teacher and a mother. You will start to doubt yourself more and more. 

If I could speak to you now I would tell you not to change. I would tell you to hold on to that fire, hold on to that fragility and to continue to see the world as your own. Continue to bounce back and continue to trust. Most of all continue to love.

You will be that mother, with a daughter holding onto your leg. She will have dark hair and eyes that hold a lifetime of happiness. Her laugh will reignite in you the fight. Keep that determination, you will need it. She will hold your hand and your heart. Like you, she will one day let go of one, but you know she will always hold the other.

You are amazing. Truly amazing. Never forget that. You will do amazing things and bring amazing happiness to a lot of people.

The future is yours. It is a scary place, but you can do it.

With love,
Your future self.