Parenting can be contentious.

A lot is going on. We can get caught up in the nitty-gritty: the baby’s screaming, while the toddler peed on the floor, and WHY CAN’T YOU BE MORE HELPFUL?  

We all find ourselves here.

In this stressful place that can pit partner against partner.

RELATED: Stop Being a Butthole Wife

This place, where we want to pounce on our partnerbut not in a good way.  

It’s so easy to slide into this.

Well, today when I was in it and he started talking to me, instead of being distracted by the kids or my current hate fire for him, I looked at himnot past him, but at him.

I looked into his deep brown eyes. Those eyes that once attracted me to him now remind me of my oldest daughter because she has the same eyes. Those eyes have taken on a much deeper meaning but so has our whole relationship.

RELATED: Can I Let You in On a Secret? This is Real Love.

I looked at his mouth move. His face was peaceful, which I admired—he’s not a ball of stress and anxiety like me. I listened to his story, which was so him in the best way possible—one of the many reasons I love him—and I smiled wide.

I then did something unexpected. I maneuvered around the kids and embraced him in a hug.

“I love you,” I whispered in his ear.

Because I do. 

You see, I decided to take that opportunity to tell him how I felt.

I do this with my kids all the time, but not him—because who has the time?

But we have to start making time.

Because we can’t forget each other.

RELATED: I Want My Son to See His Father Love His Mother

Us is where it started.

Us is who our kids are looking up to.

They’re watching us interact, especially in the chaos.

As parents, we set the mood for our entire family.

Because they’re watching us roll our eyes and mumble under our breaths.

And of course, we don’t mean it.

We’re in the thick of parenting, and it’s hard.

But, the next time you’re stuck in a hate fire, really listen and give grace because it’ll extinguish those bad feelings.

And your entire family will feel it.

Previously published on the author’s Facebook page

Dani Sherman-Lazar

Dani Sherman-Lazar is an eating disorder advocate, Vice President of a transportation company, and a mother to three daughters. Follow her on her blog Living a Full Life After ED and like it on Facebook. Her book Living Full: Winning My Battle with Eating Disorders is available on Amazon.