Admit it guys. You all have done that thing where you roll your eyes when the latest story comes across your Twitter feed featuring the salary a stay-at-home mom would make were she actually paid for her work. You probably sigh and subtly shake your head when the local morning show discusses the stressful world of the granola making, home-schooling, mini-van driving, wine sipping mom crowd. “It can’t be that hard,” you quietly say to yourself (lest your wife can hear it) as you tighten up your tie and slip casually out the door to the office while your two-year old throws himself on the floor screaming over a lost Thomas the Train and your other two sons yell at each other over who has to take the last dish out of the dishwasher.
The fact is, it is that hard and then some. Right, the eye roll again, I get it. But just think back to the last time your wife was gone for a matter of hours or days. Recently, my wife Jessica went on a four-day out of town trip, and I was entrusted with the care of my smiling bundles of joy. “I’m the Dad. I can handle this,” I thought to myself as my wife sprinted for the door with her suitcase. But the reality is, if you are anything like me you simply try to make sure that everyone survives that incredibly long four-day stint. Even though you get to take the long-held dad shortcuts of eating out and swinging by the local grocery store for frozen pizza, you’re barely able to provide the kids a meal, much less one that includes a fruit or vegetable. Unless your 9-5 job is professional chef or your wife pre-made healthy meals for you each day, anything made from scratch is out of the question. For the entire 96 hours you are a bundle of nerves as you try to prevent your youngest from swallowing a paperclip as you discuss with your oldest son the merits of taking a shower after three days.
Roll it back in your mind and and think about how your wife would have handled that situation in your absence. Breakfast would have been promptly served at 7:15 a.m. The toddler would have eaten at 12-noon sharp and slept for at least two hours while the dishes were washed, the floor got swept and the laundry was put away. The evening meal is being prepared as the big kids get home from school and everyone has a nice discussion at the table while finishing up the latest homemade recipe that included organic beef, fresh carrots and whole wheat pasta with a light cream sauce. Despite homework, a cranky toddler who has elected to run around the house naked, a violin practice and perhaps even a baseball game thrown into the mix, everyone goes to bed on time. After which your wife cleans, launders and preps for the next day with seemingly effortless precision. Look, I know everything isn’t coming up roses all the time as I just described, but those of us who are lucky enough to have a wife that has chosen to stay at home don’t know how good we have it.
The fact is that guys like us have it good, very good. We are given the great fortune of focusing on our jobs, career advancement, being good role models and planning the next camping trip while our wives create order out of the chaos of our daily lives. If you haven’t been letting your wife know how much you appreciate what she does, its about time you start. Your kid could probably read at three-years-old and you probably had very little to do with it. You were given the great freedom to work long hours and excel in your career while your wife puts in the time at home to ensure that your kids become everything they have the potential to be. I have the great fortune of having a successful career due in large part to the tremendous support I get at home. My wife still has the energy to stroke my fragile ego after a particularly tough day, even though most men I know would be on verge of collapse after her typical day around our house.
The point is, guys, that our wives deserve our praise much more than we give it. If you haven’t found a way to make sure you wife knows this, you should find one now. And this needs to happen many times over, not just on Mother’s Day. Your last attempt at breakfast in bed was probably burnt eggs and weak coffee that she cleaned up after.
Keep in mind that while gifts like flowers and massages are nice, the message behind the gifts are even better. Make sure you take the time to let her now how much you appreciate what she does and that you recognize the fact that without her, you probably would not be where you are today. Step up and encourage her to take some time off to recharge and relax, despite the challenges you will face.
Yes, given the readership of this blog, you were probably sent this by your wife. But save the eye rolls, take a moment to reflect on your great life and show your wife how much you truly appreciate her.