Ever wonder what stay at home moms sit around and do all day? You might, if you think about it during your lunch break. You might consider, as you converse around the work coffee machine, what it would be like to tan by the pool and relax in your new bathing suit and shades. Or dream about burning through books on the Kindle while the kids horse around in the backyard. You might.
But let me tell you what moms, whether stay at home or other, don’t do. They don’t wonder, consider, or dream. Unless you mean wonder where the package of #2 diapers is and why they didn’t think of it before their hands were covered in poop, consider asking the universe for a day off (which doesn’t come), or dream about one day sleeping for the whole night. Any more thought would require time. Which they just don’t have, while angling baby food into one kid’s mouth, consoling another who’s being ignored, and catching what they scooped into the first before it hits the carpet.
And if a mom you know doesn’t do this, you can bet she did it for years.
No, in the midst of our own wondering, considering, and dreaming, if we actually think, we realize moms of all ages, demographics, and life stages do more than we admit.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post titled Five Ways to Make Your Wife Happy (WOMEN DON’T READ). On a whim, I changed the fifth way to make a wife happy to something that seemed more urgent. It was the right call. But the more I thought about it, I realized the original idea needed to be said too.
So allow me to tell you.
First, I have to tell you Moms a secret.
We all know you do more than your share. There, it’s out. No matter what we say. Every real man does, anyway. There are probably guys somewhere who think breakin’ out the bacon at the end of a long day of schmoozing clients over drinks is harder than sizzling it while chasing kids who spit their drinks down their shirts and onto the new carpet. But those people are crazy, certifiably loony. They don’t count.
No, most men who dare mock the wrath of the Sleepless Mom-zombie, arising from the dead of night feedings, say you do nothing but sit around and play all day because they want to make you feel like the inferior half of the duo. Or make you think they are too unstable to do laundry.
The truth is — we know you do more. Now, I’m not saying we don’t work hard. We do. It’s taxing coming home from work to a chaotic zoo of children and lump of semi-vegetative wife. I just can’t make the argument it’s harder than being a semi-vegetative wife (but dealing with one can be complex). So a simple way for men to make their wives happy is to think of you (Mom/wife/Zombie-vegetate) as the family MVP and treat you like one.
Coddle, cater, pamper you like the all-star you are. The one slinging food from the mound and having errant toy-projectiles hurled back at her at high speeds (but not getting paid millions).
It’s a thinking shift that needs to occur. And whether you agree with this conclusion or not, that’s love.
But honestly, it took the time-equivalent of a bathroom break I actually got to do some soul-searching, gulp a few times, and realize my wife is the MVP of our family. Because I see what it’s like when I get home to work for two employers who don’t understand a 30 minutes of uninterrupted lunch law. I can imagine what it’s like to get up 2-4 times a night for the last eight months to let a baby drain my vitals. And I don’t do laundry.
But enough of this mushy, girly stuff. Let’s get some facts. Since our marriage 2 and 1/2 years ago, our son’s conception on the third day of our honeymoon, and our daughter’s birth less than two years later…
- Married — 969 days
- Pregnant — 274 (9 months) + 274 (9 months) = 548 days
- Nursing sleepless nights — 274 (son) + 244 (8 months counting…/daughter) = 518 days
- Pregnant or sleepless totals — 966 days
- Pregnant AND sleepless — 100 days
- Fully rested and not pregnant — 3 days
No matter how much I try, I just can’t make the argument that my job compares. But it really isn’t a competition. We’re on the same team. We’re working together in this wonderful mess we call a family, and it’s honestly been a lot of fun to do it with you. All of you — pregnant wife, sleepless wife, pregnant no sleep wife, naïve not pregnant fully rested wife. And when the annual end-of-the-year banquet comes, you can bet I’m going to stand up and without a discussion hand you the team MVP.
That’s what I think husbands should know. There is a way to make a wife happy that’s more honest than it is self-serving. It’s that a wife, a mom, is the family MVP. So make her feel like it.
It’s one of those things I can’t really do anything about but say, “Here you go.” You win. I love you. On behalf of all men everywhere — minus the crazies — I present to you, my wife, and every woman like you, your family MVP trophy. It’s the least I can do. You deserve it.
If you need another glass of water in the middle of the night, I’ll get it for you.
And thank you.