“Your wife needs you”: An open letter to all dads
"No one in this world can be a better mother to your children. You know this, and sometimes, she needs to be reminded that she knows this too..."
If your wife is a stay-at-home mum, it’s likely that she’s tired – all the time. It’s likely that looking after your beautiful cherubs day in, day out, is the most difficult and challenging role she’s ever taken on.
She really doesn’t get to take a break, even in the nights, where she’s on-call to nurse and soothe your little baby. She’s taken on the multiple roles of full-time carer, nurse, cook, taxi-driver, protector, kisser of boo-boos and destroyer of fears.
Yet, despite these many roles, she may be struggling with finding her core identity, wanting to return to paid work, but immediately cancelling that thought due to the guilt of not being with the kids.
She probably even envies you at times – you get to dress up, meet other people and have adult conversations, while she doesn’t get to take a shower until 2pm and her linguistic skills these days are limited to toddler talk and babbling.
Her brain sometimes feels numb. Staying at home is certainly no vacation
If your wife is a working mum, trust me, she’s no less exhausted. Her day certainly doesn’t end when she gets home after work. In fact, that’s when a whole new job begins and she makes up for the time she was away from the kids.
And while she holds a top position at work, you can be sure that she too sometimes struggles with her identity.
She needs to find that perfect balance of career and raising your kids – and this is not at all easy. It involves emotions – guilt and sadness included – and those “what ifs” may haunt her for the rest of her life, even though she may never tell you this.
Whether she is a stay-at-home or working mum, your wife needs you. So Much.
She needs affirmation through those times of self-doubt.
When you find her crying because she’s just yelled at your toddler for purposely up-ending his food, and now he’s crying too, and she feels like the worst mum in the world – please re-assure her that this is not the case, that sometimes children can be a parent's kryptonite.
When she’s crying and feeling like a rotten mother because that unexpected meeting at work made her late to your child’s first dance recital, tell her that what matters is that she got there anyway, battling bosses and traffic.
She’s not a rotten mother; she is in fact, the best mum ever.
No one in this world can be a better mother to your children. You know this, and sometimes, she needs to be reminded that she knows this too.
She needs understanding
When you come home and talk to her about your day and you notice her attention is not quite with you… you’re probably right, it isn’t. Her mind’s eye is watching your flu-struck little girl who is finally sleeping. Please understand that she’s not ignoring you in moments like this.
When you reach out for her in the night and she softly murmurs “I’m tired”, please understand that she actually is tired.
This is not just regular tired either – it’s an exhaustion that’s bone-crushing and demands that she sleeps as soon as she gets the chance. She still loves you unconditionally and desires you, but right now, at this moment, her body is demanding sleep.
She needs you to listen to her
You may be the only adult company she gets for the day.
She’s been bursting to tell you about what your little ones did all day – everything really, from the moment they made her melt with love with their sweet kisses and hugs, to the moment she wanted to die with embarrassment when your son threw a mega tantrum at the supermarket.
If she needs to vent her frustrations, if she needs to express the myriad emotions she feels through her long day – please understand, and please listen.
And in those times when she is in a dark place, not able to even get out of bed to go to your crying child, hear her unspoken plea for help. Talk to her, listen to her and get her the help she needs.
She needs you to love her.
She needs to know you love her more than anything right now. Your wife is beautiful in your eyes – she always has been and always will be.
But she doesn’t feel beautiful on many days. She doesn’t see the soft curves that you love. She sees fat and flab. She can’t bear to look at her belly which is criss-crossed with stretch marks and she gets ever so frustrated about her inability to lose those three kilos that you don’t even notice.
She is anxious that her assumed unattractiveness is making your eyes wander. She is insecure about your new (child-less) colleague with the firm, taut tummy; that you will find her so much more attractive than she is.
Please don’t brush off her anxieties, because to her they are real, even though to you, they are ridiculous.
Please reassure her in these moments of self-doubt that she is, and has always been, the only one for you. That you love her even more now, if that is even possible, as the mother of your children.
Tell her she is beautiful, because she is.
Who else glows like that when they see you cuddling or playing with the kids? When you spot her in that unguarded moment gazing at your sleeping child with a beautiful smile lighting up her face and a love-light shining in her eyes?
Have you even seen anyone so beautiful? I thought not.
Your wife needs you more than ever before... please don't forget this.
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