It happened on a Saturday. We were just getting through the mess of a three-week house arrest due to RSV and ear infections. Everyone was exhausted, no one was sleeping, and the whole house was on edge. We had spent the last several weeks tending to inconsolable babies, juggling household chores, managing doctors appointments, living on fast food and takeout, and trying to cram in 30-minute naps where we could. All while being undeniably sick ourselves.
I walked in from a workout feeling incredibly weak and light headed. I was barely able to get a foot in the door before I realized my oldest daughter was having a meltdown. So, I made my way to the top of the stairs but had to sit down halfway up. I called out to my husband who I knew was already tending to another leading lady in his life. I asked if he’d get me something to eat quickly because I wasn’t feeling well. I was immediately shot a sideways look and given a half-hearted “sure, I’d love to” explanation.
Annoyed, and both at our wit’s end I told him to forget it. This led to a loud, heated, unnecessary argument. That’s when it happened. That’s when I told my husband, father of my children, and best friend of 15 years that I hated him. The second the words left my mouth I wanted to choke them back. The second the words left my mouth I could see the hurt and anger on his face. The second the words left my mouth, he told me “you can’t unsay this.” The second the words left my mouth, I hated myself for saying it.
You see, I don’t hate my husband. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I love my husband more than I’ve ever loved another human being in my life. We met at the tender age of 15 and our souls have been intertwined ever since. To this day I smile every time I think of our first kiss. The way I drove home smiling ear to ear, and the butterflies I couldn’t shake for days after. The night he asked me to be his wife, the day I walked down the aisle, the morning we found out we were going to be parents, and the two hospital stays where I looked up at him after birthing our girls and seeing him locking eyes with our babies for the first time. Magic. It’s all magic.
I don’t hate my husband.
What I hated was the way we were treating each other. The way we were constantly criticizing and belittling one another. The way the innocent banter somehow managed to turn into words that lingered and stung for days. The way we walked on eggshells around one another. The way we went to bed every night feeling immense amounts of resentment for one another. The way we no longer felt like husband and wife but only mom and dad.
This is what I hated.
Everyone tells you having kids is hard. Your body changes, you lose sleep, you never get to pee alone again. But no one really tells you how hard having kids is on your marriage. Sure it’s beautiful and magical and wonderful. But it’s also incredibly hard, and overwhelming and exhausting. Suddenly you find yourself arguing over whose turn it is to get up with the baby, who gets to go out with their friends and who has to stay home. Life as a mom and dad can quickly start to feel like a pissing contest. Next thing you know you’re constantly going tit for tat on who did WHAT and who did MORE.
As I laid in bed that night agonizing over the words I’d spoken aloud, I realized I don’t hate my husband. I only hated who we were allowing ourselves to become.
The truth is my husband selflessly provides for us in a way I’m always in awe over. He works so I can stay at home and raise our girls just like I’d always wanted to. He never makes us feel as though we’re going without something. Every shopping trip, vacation, gadget, a household item I decide we need, he somehow always manages to make happen. He always puts me and our girls before himself. If I ask him to take the night shift, he takes it. If I tell him I need a night out he encourages it. If I cry because I need a break from being a mom he steps in and takes on that role too.
It turns out that as hard as it is being a mom, husbands and dads are so often the forgotten soldiers. It can be difficult keeping your marriage in check when parenting takes every ounce of your being most days.
So here’s a friendly reminder … woman to woman. Wife to wife. Mom to mom. Stop and take a look at your husband. At the man you chose to share this life with. Remember how you got here, the promises you made to each other. Remember that this is a phase. This stage of life is hard and you are in the thick of it. That it will get better.
That you appreciate your husband and that as much as you want to, you don’t get to unsay those hurtful words. Remember to give yourselves grace. These moments are hard but they are short-lived. Just remember that you love him. You love him.
To my husband, I love you so big.