It’s a Sunday afternoon and I’ve sat down to get some writing done. Upstairs, our 2-year-old is sleeping soundly and in the basement, you’re sweating profusely as you assemble a bookcase after having carried multiple bins, boxes, and small pieces of furniture among the three floors of our home. As soon as the toddler is up, you’ll hang some things on the walls of ours and the baby-to-be’s room before cooking dinner and taking us out for ice cream.
I may be 9-months-pregnant and completely deserving of your love and help, but I have to take a minute to thank you. Just because we, the stay-at-home moms, should be offered a hand on the weekends and in the evenings, I know I’m lucky and that not all do. I cringe when I overhear other women talking about how their husbands do absolutely nothing to help out at home. I might not say it every day, but I really do appreciate how you look at our home and family as ours. You have an active role in it because you want to.
Recently, I stumbled across some papers and discovered that a side project of mine is being secretly funded by you — and has been, for almost two years. Tears welled up as I pictured you setting up passwords and an auto-payment plan to withdraw funds monthly without my knowledge so you could let me explore my creativity without stress or guilt. This is the kind of stuff that you just do, without any hope of thanks or recognition. You want me to be happy, and that’s the only reason you need.
But I also wanted to thank you for being such a good sport. I know that this pregnancy has been (almost) as difficult on you as it has been on me. My first trimester nausea made it difficult for me to even enter the kitchen, so you swooped in and started cooking each night. And then doing the dishes.
The back pains and cramping I’ve experienced on-and-off from the start have made working out impossible, but you’ve stepped up the compliments to make sure I feel pretty. At this point I’m about 99 percent sure you’re lying, but you make sure to tell me something positive about my appearance every day. Some 36 weeks and 25 pounds in, that’s pretty much the most romantic thing in the entire world.
It isn’t only when I’m pregnant; I know what’s to come. Your good-sported nature continued last time after my emergency C-section and into the early days of breastfeeding and lack of sleep. You insisted on taking the baby for hour-long stretches whenever you could, to walk around the neighborhood and let me rest. To this day, you practically force me out to get my nails done every two weeks because you know how much this small luxury — and the brief break from reality — means to me.
When I’m not pregnant, you always make sure there’s wine in the fridge for those nights when I need it. You make me coffee in the mornings. These are little things, but they are reminders of the love and respect that you have for me, of the appreciation, too. You know that when I gave up my career to be a stay-at-home mom, it was not without hesitation. You listen to me bit*h and always make it clear that when I’m done, you’ll support me in deciding to go back to work.
But you also know how much I love it, and you indulge me in my meltdowns despite knowing that I have no plans to change the situation. For every tear I shed over the daily stresses of life, your hard work is what enables me to be home with them, and I’m grateful for that every day.
You’ve always been patient to say the least. I’ll never forget the day that my mother and I moved my things (and my cat) into your one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. You had already set up the perfect bachelor pad and in came box after bin after bag filled with clothing, candles, books, and beauty supplies. You looked around at the massive heaps of things and shook your head, but you didn’t make me throw anything away until I was ready. I’ve worked hard to become less scary in the holding onto of things, but a lesser man would have become fed up long ago.
I’m not afraid of tears, and give in to them quite frequently. Rather than telling me how annoying it is, like every guy I dated seriously before you did, you at least pretend to get it. You accept my dramatics and listen even when I’m repeating myself. I am not unaware that half of my rantings are worthy of a serious inner eye-roll, but I’m grateful you at least nod and throw out the occasional word of agreement as I go.
Listen, I’m not going to say you aren’t pretty damn lucky yourself. You have your own list of quirks that could fill a book, and I indulge and celebrate you, too. But as we embark on the newest chapter of our lives together, becoming the parents of two kids, I look around a lot and take stock. I can’t believe at times what a patient, generous man you’ve grown to be. The layers were peeled back one at a time over the years. I’ve always loved you, but as a husband and father now I do even more.
So, thank you for being such a good sport. For being my rock and my reminder to lighten up. For making babies with me and simultaneously (sometimes silently) helping me achieve my goals. Thanks for the coffee and the wine, which keep me going through it all. For forcing me to take time for myself and reminding me what a good mom I am.
Even though at times you drive me absolutely crazy, our particular brand of chaos is exactly the life I dreamed of. Without you and your humor, I know I would take it all way too seriously. I may not be as good a sport as you are, but I’m working on it!