Last weekend, I was away for almost four days to attend Blissdom Canada. While I was away, I left my son and husband to fend for themselves. I did next to nothing to prepare for my time away, partially because I know my husband is capable of taking care of Brandon without me needing to run around prepping food and clothes and all that stuff ahead of time. The other part was because I’d been sick for over a week by the time I left, so I wasn’t much good for helping get anything ready anyway.
At varying times during the conference, I saw tweets thanking the people back home for looking after kids - most of the time, the person being thanked was a husband or partner.
At some point during the conference, someone either said or tweeted something to the effect that there wouldn’t be so many tweets thanking wives at a “men’s” conference. I don’t know who made this observation and I don’t remember when they made it, but I take issue with the message behind it.
Saying thank you is an expression of gratitude to another person for something they’ve done - regardless of the motivation. Yes, parenting is the job of both parents, but when both parents are participating in the day-to-day life of a child, it can be exhausting to take on that job alone. I am the one in my relationship who has spent more time away in Brandon’s lifetime. Matt has been supportive of each of the trips I’ve taken and I do feel very grateful for that.
And I should. My time away at Blissdom Canada was hard on Matt for more reasons than just looking after Brandon. He wasn’t feeling well and when he came home from work sick, he ended up not resting, but taking our cat to the vet. Pile on top of those things a lively three-year-old and I had one very relieved husband when I finally showed my face late Sunday afternoon. Yet he didn’t complain even once about the extra work. He just did it and encouraged me to enjoy myself, even as we were texting back and forth about the cat.
When Matt goes away without us at some point, I hope I handle it with the same grace that he did (though not without some good-natured ribbing as payback). I didn’t tweet a thank you to him while I was away, but I did say it to him - several times, in fact. I don’t care if Matt tweets a thank you to me when he goes away, but I know from past experience that he will show his gratitude to me.
When I saw Krista’s post the other day about the give and take in her relationship with Willy, it spurred me into action - I really needed to get this out, because that comment bugged me a lot.
Thanking your partner for helping, even when it’s part of their job as a parent, is the right thing to do. We all need to know we’re appreciated and not taken for granted.
And that’s why those thank you tweets were a good thing to see.