We’re in this place in our lives, my husband and I, where our children get far more attention and energy from us than we do from each other. The place where date nights, and happy hours, and Saturdays spent watching marathons of Law and Order have been replaced with baseball schedules, family Friday dinners out, and copious hours dedicated to laundry sorting, washing, and folding. The place where a lot of the words we speak to one another revolve around logistics and planning, and all details pertaining to the three little men who inhabit our home and hearts.
And we’re good with that. We’re good with where we are. We want to be here. But being here takes a different kind of “being married” than being there — without kids — did. And so sometimes, I find that I have to remind myself to be my husband’s wife, as well as being the mother of his children. Because there are moments when I get spirited or days that we have limited face time where I don’t always remember to say the things that I want to make sure he knows I feel — in the times where I am so preoccupied with being a mother that I forget to be his wife.
As Father’s Day approaches, I see the masses of moms doting on their better halfs and I think we are really good, for at least this weekend, at sharing the words, “You’re a good dad” with our husbands, but what about all the other stuff that they need to hear from us? And what about the rest of the year when it isn’t designated Daddy day?
Here are the things I think the father of my children needs to hear. And deserves to hear. As often as I feel them. And the reasons I think these are important when it comes to love, marriage, and the baby carriage.
1. I appreciate you.
I am beyond thankful that I have a supportive partner to parent alongside me in this life. But I am not certain I always say the words, “I appreciate you” when I feel them because we have such a small window of real conversation time on an average day. I think it is a human need to feel appreciated by at least one person in this world and I hope that to my spouse, I can be that one person. And I hope that he, too, feels the same about me.
2. I need this from you.
My husband is not a mind reader. Nor does he possess the ability to pick up on every passive aggressive hint I might drop in a day. But he does want to be a fixer. He wants to make all situations better. So I have learned to communicate my real feelings to him and tell him when I need something… whether that something be a break, a hug, or help with a project. And usually, when I articulate what I’m feeling and how he can help, he is ready and willing.
3. You deserve a break.
When you are in the muck of the day-in day-out stuff that comes with parenting, it’s important to give your spouse some time off for good behavior, and opportunities to refresh. And offering it up without making them feel guilty for wanting time away makes them want to reciprocate the offer in the future. Win/win.
4. Your children love you.
I feel like many men are stereotypically less likely to outwardly express a desire to feel needed or loved but when they receive it, they feel filled up. Letting my husband know that not only do I love him but our offspring also love and need him makes him feel like a “very useful engine” and I think, fills his bucket.
5. Thank you.
How does that saying go… “You treat the people you like the best, the worst”? I think this is absolutely the truth. My husband and my children probably see the worst parts of me because they are with me the most. But using manners and saying please and thank you to a spouse is just a nice habit to get into because it’s a reminder to come from a place of nice. And hopefully, if you are modeling kind words, it will trickle down to your children. Say please. Say thank you. Be nice.
6. I’m a better mom because I have you.
If being a mom is important in your life and your spouse knows how much it means to you, letting him know that he makes it easier/better/more fulfilling for you is an important message to share.
7. I’m sorry I was mean.
I’ve talked about this before but seriously, sometimes I can be a real spitfire. Thankfully, my husband knows this and lives with me anyway. But I think it is key to genuinely apologize when my tongue gets sharp. And to let him know that I know I was wrong.
8. I think you’re hot.
This completely relates to the fact that I was my husband’s wife first and then we became parents together. I feel like telling my husband that I am still “into him” or that he knocks my socks off is a great way to let him know that even though many things have changed since we’ve had kids, he still gets me going.
9. I love you.
We’re “I love you people”, the hubs and I. And so, for us, it’s important to share those words. Maybe your words are different, and that’s okay but whatever it is that is meaningful in your relationship are words that should be expressed even through the passage of time.
So those are my words. The phrases that I think are essential. Because at the end of it all, if we’re lucky, our children will be grown and out on their own, and we will be sitting across from one another. At that point we will either be wondering who the person across the table is or be thrilled for the next chapter in our love story. I hope that communicating through the years and parenting together, and continuing to find ways and words to connect us, we will be thrilled to head into whatever is next.
And to my husband, Happy Father’s Day to the one I love parenting with and love everything else about, as well. I am happy that I get to be both your wife, and the mother of your children. And I think you are totally hot.