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As moms and dads, our felt experiences and reactions to all things parenting can be very different—the whole Mars and Venus thing. Our hubbies tend to roll with the situation, maybe get a little emotional for a moment (mine is known to break down more than the average), and then they move on to the next square in the breakfast Belgian. Think waffles. As in, men are like waffles.

Ladies operate on a noodle. Think pasta. As in, women are like spaghetti. We flow everywhere in all directions on a continuum, while our guys deal with a specific task before moving to the next. Therefore, while men compartmentalize, women speed skate back and forth across a wide spectrum of Olympic ice.

Sometimes our differences in intense situations can be shocking, usually in a good way. Our hubbies often try to infuse a measure of lightness into our melodrama. God bless them for saving the day.

Take big time parenting milestones for example. You can all relate to the surreal feelings of witnessing your child stand on the precipice of achievement, and many of you understand how sharing the pride with your spouse makes for double the joy.

Back in May I sat across the table from my 23 year-old son in a small breakfast diner for a celebration meal before his college commencement ceremony. My emotions were swirling around my heart space like a fork winding pasta into a large spoon.

“How do you feel, son?’

“About what?” replied my junior waffle, whose lone concern at the moment was wondering when his breakfast would appear.

“How are you feeling about graduation? It’s been a long road and you’ve accomplished so much.”

“Feels good, I guess. Kinda crazy.”

Kinda crazy was an apt descriptor for my state of mind. Every emotion I’d experienced from the moment of his birth up to now began aggregating into a lump in my throat. No guesswork when it came to feelings for me.

As we often do in grand parenting situations, I shifted my gaze over to the hubs so we could take in the moment together. Our eyes met and we leaned into each other emotionally—communicating with our body language: We did it. We helped our first child over the threshold. 

I smiled softly as tears slid down my cheeks. The hubs also grinned and I noticed a special twinkling in his eyes. We connected soul deep, and my heart melted out of gratitude for all the hard work and sacrifice he’d put in to make this moment a reality.

As our family gobbled down breakfast, funny stories and proud moments skipped across the air waves between us. Being a typical worrywart, I picked up the phone to check the time. Didn’t want my son to be late for graduation! As if he hadn’t figured out time management after all these years.

In doing so, I saw a text notification on my lock screen: Soulmate (7). Seriously? He’s sitting right across from me and texting secret messages like a teenager.

After sliding over the notification to unlock the phone, I came upon seven frat boyish texts from the hubs with saucy affirmations about my appearance along with hearts and winky faces.

Turns out the litany of googly eyed rhetoric was the real reason his baby blues were twinkling at me earlier. While I was all sentimental, he was smirking in anticipation of me finding his “romantic” gestures—somehow typed under the table when no one was looking.

Totally “in the moment” with graduation was I. Totally “into me” was the hubs. His coyness was my waffle’s way of infusing a measure of lightness into my melodrama. I rolled my eyes, per usual, and he giggled like a schoolboy.

Such is our life with 24 years notched in our belt. My soulmate’s adoring is without boundary. He may live life in waffle squares, but his love for me is on a never ending noodle. I’m unworthy of experiencing life on his Big Red Planet.

What about your guy? Have you noticed a difference in the way he reacts, responds, handles situations related to parenting? If you haven’t already, now might be a good time to observe and see if he’s up to something for your benefit.

When you find yourself winding around a pasta bowl of emotions related to parenting—or anything for that matter, be on the lookout for your Eggo. He’s no doubt cooking up some kind of distraction to help you navigate through the tangled mess.

Men. Gotta love ‘em. They may not understand our emotions on the regular, but they have us beat when it comes to rolling with the heart waves and jumping off the ship before it goes down.

We can learn a thing or two from them. I’d love to be more like a waffle. Wouldn’t you?

(And P.S. to my man: Oh how I love you. You’ve kept me from drowning in angel hair most of the last two decades.)

Read more in the 2007 book, Men Are Like Waffles–Women Are Like Spaghetti: Understanding and Delighting in Your Differences by Bill and Pam Farrell

Shelby Spear

A self-described sappy soul whisperer, sarcasm aficionado, and love enthusiast, Shelby is a mom of 3 Millennials writing about motherhood and life from her empty nest. She is the co-author of the book, How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don't need to say, "I'm fine.") , and you can find her stories in print at Guideposts, around the web at sites like Her View From Home, For Every Mom, Parenting Teens & Tweens and on her blog shelbyspear.com.

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