It was Sunday morning, and we were getting ready for church. I told Sabrye to go pick out a bow to match her dress, as I was trying to get everything else ready to go so I could stop and get a newspaper before church. Sabrye comes back in with a bow; Paul tells her, “Let me see it. Turn around so I can put it in.” Not even five seconds later, I hear Sabrye say, “BUUUUUUUUUUUUT DADDY, this is NOT how Mommy does it!” I replied, “Sabrye, Daddy does things a different way than Mommy. Just because he does it different doesn’t mean that it’s the wrong way.”
Sadly, I have not always had this attitude about the way my husband does things. Four years ago, my husband was meeting me with Sabrye after work for dinner. She was only a few months old at the time. He shows up with her, and she was dressed in a blue onesie with yellow daises, over-alls with pink flowers and bows on them, and brown socks. To top it off, she didn’t have a bow in her hair! I was MORTIFIED!!! My baby girl didn’t match AT ALL and how would people know she was a girl without a bow in her hair?! I was so embarrassed and upset with my husband.
Little stories like this happened quite a few more times with my husband’s help. He could take the garbage out and not put a garbage bag back in the garbage can, do the dishes and leave the food sitting on the counter from dinner, or help put groceries away and put things where I couldn’t reach them. OK, so these might not seem like that big of a deal, but I have a Type-A/black-and-white/OCD personality. Instead of being thankful that my husband took the garbage out, did the dishes for me, or helped put away groceries, I would be mad. In my mind, why should he even help if he’s not going to do the job “right”? Why even bother if I’m going to have to go back behind him and do it the “right way”?
After hearing other women and moms talk, watching men and women interact in public with children, and reading what other women write about their husband either helping or not helping, my whole attitude changed. I began to see women and moms of all ages stressed, tired, upset, and trying to manage a crying baby, feed a toddler, and keep other children entertained while the husband or dad was just sitting there watching like he was watching TV. I began to see families at restaurants, where the mom was trying to feed kids and never getting to eat until everyone was finished. I began to see moms taking their kids to church alone every Sunday. I began to see moms alone at the ball park trying to manage watching all of their kids play ballgames on different fields at different times. (Before everyone gets in an uproar, please note that I do understand that these things I’ve written about DO HAPPEN at times due to circumstances beyond your control. I understand men work late, work out of town, or something else. I’m not talking about those times.) I began to notice that there weren’t as many mismatched outfits, bows in “wrong”, or mismatched shoes. I started to wonder if my crazy, type A personality had contributed to this? Have we as women been so stressed about appearances and things done the “right” way, that we have told our husbands that their help is not good enough every time we go behind him and “fix” it?? What is more important: a matching outfit or a happy family? A happy husband who feels appreciated? Or one who doesn’t help at all? And is there really a “right” or “wrong” way to take out the garbage or put a bow in a little girl’s hair??
I realized that my girls may not be matching if Daddy helps them get dressed, but he is spending time with them. Sabrye may have bright orange nails when she talks her daddy into painting them for her, but he took the time to gently paint her little nails. Landrye may not have a bow or headband when Paul helps me by getting Landrye dressed, but it’s because he got so engrossed with playing, talking, and tickling her that he forgot. Landrye may not have a bib on when Paul feeds her, but he is helping to take care of her. You see, I have realized that not every woman has been blessed with a wonderful husband who doesn’t mind changing dirty diapers, and helping with bows among many other things.
I would much rather have a husband who helps than one who doesn’t help at all. Even if, when he helps, it isn’t the way I would necessarily do it. If I focus on what he did not do, I miss what he did do. I have learned that when I relax and quit trying to control the way things are done, he helps more. When he helps just by changing a dirty diaper, it helps all of us. Even just a little thing like changing a diaper. When Paul changes Landrye’s diaper, he gets to spend a little one-on-one time “talking” to her, I get to finish doing the dishes without pulling her out of the dishwasher ten more times, and Sabrye gets a couple extra minutes to finish a book before Landrye tries to take it away from her. 🙂 We all are happy when Mommy relaxes and lets Daddy help. Besides, if Paul did things the same way I did, life might get to be a little boring at our house. 🙂 So, let your husband help. Yes, I realize that he may put things in the wrong place, dress your kids in the craziest, mismatched outfit you’ve ever seen, or feed your kids pizza for breakfast. I also realize that if he does all of this, it means that he helped you, spent time and made memories with your kids, and is invested as a father in your kids’ lives. Maybe you will even be able to read an entire page in a book you’ve been reading for a year as he is helping. 🙂 For all to soon, the days of mismatched outfits will be gone, and you will smile at the memory.
If you’re struggling in this area of “letting go”, I would like to encourage you to just try it for a day. Yes, things will not be done exactly as you would have them done, but look at the “messy memories” that will be made instead. I struggle with this same thing weekly. I have learned though that my husband sees it as respect when I “let go” and don’t “tell him” (nag) how to do it. Men need respect. It’s hard wired into them, and I haven’t always done the best job at giving my husband the respect he deserves. A year or so ago, I made it a commitment to actively seek out a way to show him respect (not in a “look at me” way, but in a gentle quiet manner). Let me tell you, since I did that it has helped strengthen our marriage tremendously. I still fail at times, but that is life. I learned that showing respect can be as simple as cooking his favorite meal, or letting him put a bow in “his way”. 🙂 I recently read “25 Ways to Show Respect to Your Husband”. It doesn’t only tell you ways, it is practical and gives you ways you can show respect to your husband. It’s just one of the many books included in this Ultimate Christian Bundle. For a limited time, you can snag it for just $34.95. It comes with 75 ebooks, $138 in bonuses, and more. It is valued at over $1,000! I read through a couple of the ebooks included in this bundle already, and they were so encouraging. Another one I’m reading through (and will review over the next day or two) is “When Motherhood Feels Too Hard”. There are A LOT of encouraging books filled with ideas on parenting, marriage, finance, and motherhood. There is a 100% money back guarantee if you get it and see that you don’t like it. 🙂