Having three children is wonderful, but certainly not without its challenges. On any given day, parents face a litany of tasks/scenarios, many of which test the limits of sanity. Clothes that fit the kids one week seem to be too small the next. Fingernails grow at warp speed despite regular maintenance. Insatiable hunger seems to manifest every 12 minutes, even with three squares a day. School lunches never pack themselves. And then there’s the whole brushing their teeth thing. While targeting those molars and giving the gumline a little TLC is important, sometimes the thought alone is daunting. The fear of dental shaming on the next visit, though, is quite the motivator. And so, we brush.
Whether it’s readying the kids for worship service, locating a jersey for soccer, or preparing dinner, our schedule is full. And while I acknowledge these experiences aren’t unique to my family, there never seem to be enough hours in the day. Speaking of hours, cue my absolute favorite: Daylight Saving Time. Yes, son, I know it’s light out. It’s still time for bed. You’ll have to trust Dad on this one.
As busy as our weekly schedule seems, I admit much of the child-related responsibilities fall on my wife, especially while I’m at work.
It’s great peace of mind knowing she’s with our children, and they’re lucky to have her. She handles a tremendous load each day, which never ceases to impress me.
On a somewhat related note, the word load invariably reminds me of just how much laundry we have. My wife takes care of that, too. She’s a blessing.
But is it any wonder she seems so gassed by the end of the day? When the kids go bed, my wife and I look forward to spending time together, but often that time is short. Fatigue has set in and another early morning wake-up is looming. Some nights we’ll unwind with a show, eyelids heavy and energy levels dissipating as we struggle through the remaining minutes. Other nights, it’s simply straight to bed. That’s reality, though.
Every so often my wife will apologize. She pours so much of her time and energy into our kids, which I love about her, but it empties the tank. She admits there’s not always much left for me.
Hearing those words elicits mixed feelings. While I look forward to having her in wife-mode, I don’t want her to feel guilty or that she owes me an explanation. I understand.
We’re simply in a different stage of life now. Our kids are quite young, requiring frequent attention and assistance. She takes great care of our children and in doing so, takes care of me.
And it’s not like she doesn’t display affection or reaffirm her feelings verbally. It’s just different sometimes and maybe not as frequent during the hustle and bustle of the school week. Mom-mode and wife-mode aren’t mutually exclusive—she’s often in both. In reality, though, mom-mode is the predominant one these days—a fact I totally understand and accept—but it doesn’t mean I don’t miss her.
If I’m honest, I miss the spontaneity life without children afforded us.
Traveling was easier. Meal-time, simpler. Time for hobbies, abundant. Physical intimacy, frequent. I’ve always considered myself a romantic, especially in my efforts to woo and plan thoughtful gestures. At her core, my wife is the same. I smile thinking of the special things she’s planned and orchestrated over the years. It’s just more challenging now—that’s all. And missing those days—that time—and loving my life as a parent now aren’t mutually exclusive either.
Those descriptions of life before kids may seem like paying homage to a sort of Golden Age, but life now is much more satisfying. Our children have enriched our lives in ways truly inexpressible through any combination of words. I love watching my wife be a mom. I wouldn’t trade it.
I may miss her at times, but she’s more precious to me now than ever.
And while the romantic gestures may not be as grandiose as they once were, that’s OK. I’m still greeted with a kiss at the door when I come home from work, and I gladly accept it.
What’s really important is that we make time for each other and express that sentiment of love and appreciation, often. And if life ever gets in the way, I pray we’ll recognize it and do our best to reconnect.
A busy schedule is not an excuse to stop dating each other. After all, God instituted the marriage relationship, and it’s precious. I try to remind myself of that often.