This morning as I was doing my routine Facebook check, I stumbled across a blog post shared by a friend. The title of the post grabbed my attention and so I clicked over to read.
Essentially, it was encouragement and exhortation to those of us who have small people in our homes. Those of us who are in a season of unending, non-stop care of our littles were lifted up and reminded that yes, this season is desperately hard and a lot of what we do goes unnoticed, but we will have our season of being able to pour out into our communities, friends, and other loved ones. The point was that we are heard and valued. This is our calling right now.
The Lord knows I needed to read that this morning. Our youngest, Amelia, just turned two months old last week and life right now is hard. We have been blessed with five beautiful and amazing children, but our oldest is only six years old. This means that the majority of my children do not know how to tie shoes, get themselves completely dressed without some sort of assistance, need me to prepare their meals, do their laundry, give them baths, and on and on and on it goes. All you momma friends feel me, I know you do. And I don’t even work outside my home! (Dearest ones who pull double duty, I love you. You are my heroes. I cannot begin to fathom how you accomplish all you do. My hat goes off to you.) Matt and I are in a season of transition and adjustment to life as a family of seven, as well as working on our home, finances, and marriage. It gets tough. I feel unseen, unappreciated, and as though life is futile sometimes.
As I was processing what I read and how much it encouraged and spoke truth to my heart, I watched my wonderful Matt as he was soothing Amelia while trying to pay attention to the newly-turned-two-years-old Clara as Levi, Seth, and Eliana were running around in a circle just for fun. It was madness. And a small voice in my heart said, “Erin, if that’s what you needed to feel encouraged and heard, what does Matt need?”
We’ve seen so many articles and blog posts devoted to applauding and lifting up mothers, and rightly so–being a momma is hard work!–but it dawned on me that I have rarely (if ever) seen anything to encourage the dads out there. I don’t know if dads need a post for them, but it can’t hurt to try, right?
So, dads, this post is for you.
Our friend Dustin was talking with Matt several years ago, and that conversation has stuck with me ever since Matt shared it with me. They were talking about being fathers and working (my friend Joy is also a stay-at-home mom; she and Dustin have three gorgeous kiddos) and how challenging it can be to balance both areas when Dustin said to Matt, “It’s like this. We have two full-time jobs. I clock out of work and clock in to work at home when I walk through the door.”
That hit me like a ton of bricks. I had never, ever, thought of what Matt did as a responsible working adult and being a father as two separate jobs. My job (and all moms’ jobs regardless of whether they work in or outside of the home, although, again, you mommas who work outside the home, this is also your reality) as a mother is 24/7. I don’t clock in, I don’t clock out. I am on all. the. time. It seems, at times, interminable and as though I am doing it all alone. To step outside of myself for a minute and think about it from Matt’s perspective was enormous.
This morning, as I was watching Matt, I then thought about everything that I don’t have to do because of what he does. (And disclaimer: I realize every marriage is different, every husband is different. But I have a feeling a lot of husbands are like mine in a lot of ways. This is not to say this is how every family should work. You all know what works for your family–do this. If what I share about me and Matt gives you some fresh ideas, awesome!)
Because of how Matt gives of himself sacrificially, I can count on one hand the number of times I have taken the garbage can and recycling to the curb. He handles ALL of the yard work, because if it were left up to me, we would be up to our eyeballs in grass and weeds. The majority of mornings, he is the one to get breakfast for the kids while he is getting himself ready for work or the day. He sees that laundry needs to be done and does it (I still fold the laundry, but hey, I don’t have to schlep down to the basement in between tantrums to start or switch it!). He will do baths and bedtime without being asked. He rarely tells the kidlets ‘no’ to them asking him to play with them. He doesn’t complain about the lack of housework that gets done during the day or what I make (or don’t) for dinner. And there is more. He does all of these things at the same time that he works 40-50 hours a week.
Dads, you’re not alone. What you do is hard, and we know it. You are not unseen or unappreciated. While we forget sometimes to say thank you for what you do, it is not futile or worthless. It does matter and your support, provision, and love are hugely instrumental in how we view ourselves as mothers. You are of immeasurable worth and for all of us wives and mothers, thank you.
Thank you for working hard to provide materially for your families. Thank you for pushing beyond the tiredness of the work week to engage with your children, especially if they are small (they are like tornadoes sometimes, no?). Thank you for looking at your wives and really seeing them and seeing the girl you fell in love with all those years ago. Thank you for giving verbal encouragement on those days that just plain suck. Thank you for appreciating what we do. It means more than we can tell you.
Dads, you rock. Keep on keepin’ on. We’re in your corner.
Blessings and love,
ps. Mommas…you are awesome, too. I love each of you and know the world is a better place because of you.