I am constantly writing to-do lists for work or home, and itemizing errands that need to be done. My husband sees nothing out of the ordinary going on because he knows I’ve got a handle on it all. While I serve the kids their dinner, I am also preparing lunches for the next day like a short order cook, and eating bits and pieces of leftover food to tide me over. I glance over and see my husband sitting on the couch catching up on the recent soccer or baseball game, while checking his social media on his phone. I have a bi-weekly routine to clean the house, and when I say clean this means it will be a full scrub down to the rims of the toilet seats. My husband will be in the kitchen eating his lunch and he will politely lift his legs up so I can vacuum the crumbs under him.
For many years my tunnel of vision towards my husband was often filled with feelings of resentment and anger. In my view I only saw neglect, laziness and lack of support for our family.
When I returned back to work after my maternity leave with Petie, it quickly became harder to juggle work and home life. All of a sudden everything became a balancing act while walking on a tightrope. One morning I was slamming cupboards out of frustration and trying to get the back packs ready to rush out the door. My husband called me on my bullshit and sternly said, “Why don’t you just ask me for help, instead of acting like you can do everything on your own.” His simple words of advice caught me in my tracks.
“See if you can catch yourself complaining, in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather. To complain is always non acceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness." - Eckhart Tolle
As the famous rapper Ice Cube would say,
Marriage is hard. And I am always trying to be reflective with my actions and words. I know that my husband sees me working, struggling, and feeling overwhelmed. And I am learning to be okay with my vulnerability to ask him for help. I am also learning that our different thoughts can open up more opportunities for our children and I need reminders that marriage is about trust versus competition. I continuously try to control my emotions rather than letting resentment build. I now know I can grab his hand, lean over, and ask for a hug.
When I look at my husband today, I see a quiet yet gentle man who takes care of our family. He is very patient with me, and works hard to get things done when they need to be. He constantly finishes home improvement projects, and takes pride of his gardens. He makes time to take Petie to his soccer and baseball games, and always finds a way to make Bella smile. He loves our children hard. I am learning to be grateful.
As I look through his eyes, I wonder if I do enough for him. Do I show him I appreciate him enough? Does he need something more or different from me? Of course, there is always room for improvement.
I know I’ll never be able to understand exactly what life looks like through his eyes, just like he’ll never know what it looks like through mine. However it is a worthwhile exercise to try to see things from one another’s perspective, to realize that even though we’re looking at the same house and the same kids, our views are fundamentally different. This sense of empathy and compassion can only make our life together better. And it can make the view through our own eyes clearer as well.
In my view today, I see a great husband and father. Happy Father's Day my dear Peter!