To my husband,
This stage of life is hard and we both make mistakes. But, the truth is — parenting sometimes doesn’t bring out the best in either of us. So, I’m sorry for what I said when I was parenting.
I’m sorry I said the kids were great until right before you got home.
The last ten minutes before you pull in the driveway sets loose the crazy. Someone throws a sucker punch, swipes a toy, or empties the miscellaneous basket with the loose Barbie accessories, holiday Happy Meal toys, missing puzzle pieces, and a few stray Fruit Loops all over the living room floor.
And someone is always screaming. I’m sorry when that someone is me.
I’m sorry I said I’d take care of that one thing you asked me to do today.
I’m sorry what you wanted for dinner is still on the shopping list and not in the fridge. I’m sorry what you wanted to wear to work tomorrow is still in the hamper or maybe the dryer. I meant it when I said I would do it this morning, but then came the driving and the drop-offs and the cleaning and the tantrums and the snacks (so many snacks).
I’m sorry I made you feel guilty for wanting to watch the game/play golf/take a long poop.
I like to think your job counts as a getaway, but I understand “getting away” to work is more responsibility than respite. You deserve some “me time” too, even if it’s just thirty minutes sitting alone in the bathroom, scrolling through your phone.
I’m sorry I let you be the bad guy more often than I should.
When our kids are yelling and slapping and melting down to the floor, I reach into my bag of parenting tricks and the one that’s easiest to grab is the Daddy threat.
But “Do you want me to tell Daddy?” equates you with punishment.
“Wait until Daddy gets home” means they hold back hiding instead of running into your arms.
“Do you want Daddy to come up here?” at bedtime, means they get a stern voice and swiftly closed door instead of a story and a cuddle.
Yes, your voice carries the thunder, but it can’t be storming every day.
I will try to use “Daddy” with more care.
I’m sorry I said I was too tired to talk to you after the kids fell asleep.
For two sweet hours, no one needs anything from me. It’s a special time when I can mindlessly watch The Bachelor while saving unattainable ideas to my Pinterest and Instagram. But I know a husband and wife need to remember to chat with each other.
I’m sorry my quiet time means I need my husband to be quiet too.
But I’m also sorry for what I didn’t say.
I didn’t ask you about your day.
Instead, I focused on the litany of challenges “your children” threw at me during mine. But I do care. And I want to know how my husband is doing, and what made you happy, or mad, or stressed today.
I didn’t ask for your help.
I stewed inside and did it myself. I’m sorry I still believe you should know exactly what I need from you at any given moment. I know you cannot read minds, even mine after all this time of being husband and wife.
I didn’t back you up.
I don’t always support you in-the-moment when you make a parenting choice that differs from mine. I’m the one who read the articles, who babysat, who watched my own stay-at-home mother raise four kids, so sometimes I think I know better.
But I don’t. I’m still trying to figure out what uniquely works for our family and everything works better when we’re a team.
I didn’t tell you how much I appreciate you.
I want you to know that I see all you do. I see a father trying to do his best. I see your pride in the life you provide for us. And I see how hard you work so that I can spend more time with our kiddos and can pursue a job that’s more passion-project than profit-center for our family. Yes, I see it all. And I’m thankful.
I’m sorry if I ever let one goodbye or good night pass so steeped in anger, that I didn’t say “I love you.”
Because love and gratitude are at the heart of this life we’ve built. You chose me and I chose you and together we chose this life. I’m so grateful for its challenges and its craziness, its excitements and its joys, its snacks and its miscellaneous toy basket.
Please forgive me for what I said when I was parenting. What I really meant to say was,
“Thank you and I love you.”
And I’ll try to say it more.
Your loving and grateful wife