“Make sure you wash his hands so he doesn’t get sticky fingerprints all over everything,” I called across the room as you helped our 2-year-old down from the kitchen table.

You glanced my way, and I immediately regretted my words as I recognized one-part hurt, one-part frustration in your eyes. You shook your head ever so slightly as the two of you headed down the hall to the bathroom. When I asked you about it later, your reply hit me like a ton of bricks: “I’ve been a parent just as long as you have, you know.”

And it’s true.

For every second of the three-and-a-half years I’ve been a mom, you’ve also been a dad—a dang good dad, at that—yet for some ridiculous reason, I always think I know best.

I’m constantly watching over your shoulder, giving unsolicited “suggestions” of how you should be doing this or that with our kids. I tell you how to cut their food, and which clothes they should wear, and how long they should brush their teeth. I call out “reminders” without giving you the chance to do your own thing. I ask you to be careful when you’re roughhousing with our sons, as if their safety isn’t your number one concern, too.

I boss you around like it’s my job, and even though nine times out of 10 you’ve already beat me to the punch, I still don’t give you the benefit of the doubt the next time around.

Sometimes I word my requests “nicely” . . . but when you peel back the layers, it all just boils down to one thing: I’m being a nag. Again.

And for that, sweet husband, I am so sorry.

I’m sorry for not giving you the chance to prove yourself, or more importantly, for acting as if you need to prove anything to me.

I’m sorry for doubting your knowledge and ability, when you have shown me time and time again just how amazing of a daddy you truly are.

I’m sorry for so rarely acknowledging all that you do for us.

I’m sorry for treating our differences of opinion as an I’m right/you’re wrong competition.

I’m just sorry, and I want you to know I’m working on it—all of it.

I’m learning to think twice before barking orders. I’m trying to give you the trust you have unquestionably earned. I’m working on stepping back and letting you do your job, just as you always let me do mine.

It’s going to take some time. This bad habit of mine isn’t one that’s going to go away overnight . . . but I am trying.

You are so patient and forgiving. You bite your tongue far more often than I could ever do, if our roles were reversed. Somehow, underneath it all, you recognize my nagging as a reflection of my desire for our family to be taken care of . . . a desire that I know you share fully.

You give me grace and meet my bossiness with understanding; and for that, I am so grateful.

I don’t say it enough, dear husband, and I certainly don’t show it enough, but our family is so lucky to have a capable man like you.

Here’s to stepping back, keeping my mouth shut, and watching in admiration as you care for us so well, just as you always have.

I love you, and I appreciate you endlessly.

Your recovering nag of a wife

Casey Huff

Casey is a middle school teacher turned stay-at-home-mama to three littles. It's her mission as a writer to shine light on the beauty and chaos of life through the lenses of motherhood, marriage, and mental health. To read more, go hang out with Casey at: Facebook: Bouncing Forward Instagram: @bouncing_forward