A lot of challenges fly around social media these days. From the more mundane and charitable, like the ALS ice bucket challenge, to the crazy and insane, like the fire challenge. I will have to admit, I did dunk myself in ice cold water, but have no desire to set any part of my body ablaze.
One of the more recent ones has been the “Thankful” challenge. List three things that you’re thankful for each day for seven days. My wife completed this challenge, and subsequently challenged me. As of today, I haven’t completed it. Not because I’m lazy, or because I was ignoring her, but because I really wanted it to mean something. I wanted to express what I was really thankful for. Like REALLY thankful for. This past week I was afforded the opportunity to be reminded of what I am most thankful for.
See, I’m a CPA, and that means long hours, especially during tax season. My wife on the other hand is a stay-at-home mom. While I have never thought she had it easy, I certainly didn’t understand her complaints related to her job staying at home. I mean come on, you can set your own schedule, naps in the afternoon while the kids napped. Not easy, but not too shabby either. Due to a family event in New York, my wife took a week off from her “taxing” job, and I took a week off from my own. She traveled with her mother to New York for the event while I got to stay at home with our 4 year-old son. I mean hey, if Michael Keaton can do it, I should have no problem, right?
In case it wasn’t evident from the title, or (long) intro, this didn’t quite turn out to be the vacation I expected. I had plans, plans and more plans. Clean the house thoroughly, clean my wife’s car for her, have a great time with my son doing all sorts of fun stuff. I quickly learned that when I did have time to do anything remotely close to “planned” it was quickly changed by the noises (or lack of noises) coming from the other room. I lost count of the times I yelled “What are you doing?!?” only to have it met with silence, which means I had to do a quick follow-up with my own eyes to see what he was doing. The cat I’m sure was thankful for my quick follow ups more than once.
Time quickly became relative. Having fun, it flew by like it was nobody’s business. On the other hand, watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates for the umpteenth time, well, let’s just say I’ve seen less torture in the Saw movies.
My biggest surprise was the loneliness. After about two days, I craved and desired, no, I absolutely NEEDED some adult company and conversation. Someone to talk to about anything other than pirate adventures and the number of poops my son took. Not in a day, how many pieces in one poop. I’m completely done with poop for quite a long time.
I had a great time with my son. I love him to death, and love spending time with him, but my wife is coming home tomorrow, and I might just throw a party.
I like to hope that this will give me an opportunity to be a little more sympathetic to her complaints, because they’re as valid as any other. I can’t guarantee that there won’t be times that I forget about this experience, and let my need to take a nap after work, or play guitar, take over again, but I like to think I’ll more often give it a second thought, and put her needs before mine. She deserves it.
So all 21 of my things that I’m thankful for can be summed as: my wife. She’s a wonderful wife and even better mother. Her patience rivals that of the world’s most pious figureheads, both with my son and with myself. How she does what she does on a daily basis, I will never know, but I’m darn glad she can do it.
P.S. I know this does not just apply to my wife, but all the stay-at-home moms (and dads) out there. So kudos to you for doing what you do, because some of us just aren’t cut out to be Mr. Mom.