Dear husband,

We’ve always made a great team. You’ve been there through every part of our parenting journey, matching me step for step and never faltering in your commitment to our family. No matter what, you’re by my side—ready to brave whatever life has in store for us.

But here’s the thing, husband . . .

Sometimes I need you to be the calm to our storm, instead of in the thick of it.

Let me explain.

You get home after a long day at work, and you walk in the door to me scrambling to get dinner on the table. The kids have been inexplicably cranky and difficult since they woke up this morning. They took short naps, and are now on the verge of revolt because they’re not only tired and grumpy, but also hungry. As you can imagine, the amount of whining is out of control. 

I promise I started the day with good intentions and the patience of a saint, but I’m currently exhausted and this close to losing it.

To me, your arrival is a godsend because I’m finally getting some backup. If not exactly refreshed, you’ve been gone for the entire workday so you at least had an opportunity to miss these little munchkins and are excited to see them, right?

You eagerly herd them out of my hair and into the living room, and I breathe a huge, grateful sigh of relief. I love how willing you are to play with our kids, and how much they obviously adore you. You handily distract them and start a fun game of “Climb all over Daddy.”

But just a few minutes later, I hear noisy tears followed quickly by your baritone growl—“Come on, buddy! What did I say? I just told you not to do that!”

The sensitive, overtired toddler hears your annoyed tone, and immediately joins in the chorus of crying, which then irritates you even more. 

Related: Dear Husband, I Need Us to Be a Team

Now I have two grumpy children and a grumpy husband.

Look, babe, I get it. 

Even though you don’t spend your days with whiny toddlers, you’re tested in other ways. Your time and energy are expended on demanding people and challenging tasks at your job. I know patience is like a muscle, and after being flexed so many times, it gets tired. 

Believe me, I get it.

But what you don’t always understand is by the time you get home, I am done. 

Like the I need to lock myself alone in our room for five minutes and binge-eat Thin Mints kind of done. 

I’m about to fall apart, the kids are already falling apart, and you know what I just can’t handle on top of that? 

You falling apart, too. 

So dear husband,

I need you to please hold it together just a little bit longer . . . because I can’t.

I need you to summon up a little more patience to get us through that last hour or two before bedtime. 

I need you to let the punches roll off your back, take some deep breaths, and give us an extra dose of love and grace during those peak moments of witching hour.

I need you to subdue the meltdowns, rather than let yourself be drawn into them.

I need you to remember I’ve already been handling this all day, all by myself, and I’m physically, mentally, and emotionally at my limit.

I need you to rescue me, just for a little while, so I can take a breather.

I need you to be the calm to our storm.

I hope you know this isn’t a one-sided obligation that falls solely on your shoulders. 

Not at all.

Like I said—we’re a team.

Of course you can count on me to be there when it’s your turn to tap out. 

When you fall short, I promise to pick up the slack. 

When the kids get on your last nerve and you need a break, it’s my job to take the baton and run with it.

Because that’s how teamwork, well, works.

And since neither of us can be at our best 100% of the time, when you’re off your game, it’s my job to be on top of mine.

But between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on a weeknight, that’s exactly what I need from you.

I need you to be understanding.

I need you to be patient.

I need you to please help me.

I need you to stay calm.

Because our kids need us both . . .

And they deserve us each at our best.

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Emily Solberg

Emily Solberg is a soldier, military spouse, mom to two toddlers, and fierce advocate of women supporting women. The goal of her writing is to help others feel less alone in their parenting journeys, and she isn’t afraid to share the hard along with the good. You can find more from her on her Facebook page, Shower Arguments.