I love being a dad! It is the best job ever, but being a dad is just plain busy. I told someone the other day that I probably have about 10% of the free time that I had before kids. A little more or less, but that’s probably spot on. I have 2 kids, 2 and under, and for those of you who have been there before or are there now, you know how it is. Life is nuts! Ok, life is good… great even, but still feels like one big season of organized chaos. But I love it. Sure my days of 4-hour marathon training runs, random road trips to see friends or even the multi-hour Saturday morning wandering around town days might be over, at least temporarily, but I fully realize how blessed I am to have two healthy little boys and a beautiful wife. Fatherhood has been the best thing for me in so many ways and I am especially grateful we could even have kids after several years of infertility and uncertainty.
My biggest adjustment has been developing that whole die-to-self attitude. Before marriage and after being married but before kids I just served myself and my needs and now being a father, I’ve had to adjust to always being there for my wife and kids for whatever they need. And, it’s not easy! But, no matter how busy I feel, I still get to go to work for 8-9 hours a day where I get social interaction and lunch breaks with work friends and even meet up for the occasional guys night here and there. My wife, a stay-at-home-mom, endures the “fun” chaos day in and day out. Even her weekends are the same! I can’t imagine never getting to leave my job. I quickly learned that if I was going to have a good marriage, I’d need to make sure and find ways to increase my wife’s happiness (happy wife, happy life, am I right?) – my wife whose days are filled with feeding demanding, whining babies, changing diapers, and mounds of laundry… talk about a true servant!
Here are some of the ways I have learned to support my stay-at-home-wife that will maybe help you too:
- Change a Diaper – It may not sound like a big deal, but when she’s changed 6 in one day, she will appreciate you taking the reins once you get home, changing at least one and giving her that small break. Kids finally out of diapers? Wipe a bootay!
- Wash dishes – Easy enough but often overlooked. With 2 little dudes, we mess up a lot of dishes. I know at night my wife is DONE. She’s ready to clean up and get the boys to bed so the little things like helping to clean up after dinner gets her to the much deserved free time a little quicker – free time that I know she wants at the end of a long, hard day.
- Laundry – In our house, there is perpetually a large pile of laundry lying around. I personally think the evil laundry fairies drop them off just to make sure our lives are that much busier and thus less free time. My wife usually does the boy’s laundry, but when I see a pile, I try to fold it all and put it up. Every little bit helps I hope.
- Listen to her – A stay at home wife doesn’t typically have a lot of meaningful conversations or social interaction during the day. I mean, my wife has a couple of two foot tall, very demanding bosses, but other than that, nothing! I try to make it a point to have a meaningful, intentional conversation with my wife at night once we get the boys to bed just to hear about her day – what was good/bad, what friends she’s texted with that day, etc. I think having this phone-free, quick little update convo has been good for us.
- Give her plenty of “me time” – I saved the best for last. Probably the most important thing I have done that helps my wife keep her sanity is giving her “me time.” Sometimes I come home at lunch and allow her to slip off and meet a friend, or I put the boys to bed because she has a girls night at the local Mexican food restaurant. I try my best to never say no when she has a potential meet up like these because I know how important it is to her remaining happy. I’ve even gotten brave and loaded up both boys for a rousing trip to look at the fishies at Pet Smart! We all have to have those outlets and if every day is the same thing and you never get much “me time,” it will be hard to remain sane for very long, ha!
So my perspective on this is for the stay-at-home-mom because that’s who I am married to, but looking over this list, it will definitely apply to those mommas who work outside the home as well! The main thing is supporting in any way we can and not just with the paychecks.
Your turn – what would you add to this list?