You pride yourself on being a great father. Sure, your career takes up too much time each week, but you’re as diligent as time allows about sharing child-rearing responsibilies with your wife. You are definitely not your father, who left all the “household chores” to your mother. You’re a twenty-first-century renaissance man.
You help get the kids ready for school in the morning, at least twice a week, and you help put them to bed at night, when you’re not working on the car or watching football. You even make dinner, sometimes. OK, so it’s grilled cheese sandwiches and potato chips, but it’s almost nutritious. If you squint…
Your wife is one lucky woman, right? You almost never forget your anniversary or her birthday. Last Valentine’s Day snuck up on you, causing a late-night run to the drug store, but that card you bought was a winner. And you worked so hard buying Mother’s Day gifts with your little kids that you forgot to buy one from you. But you did bring her coffee in bed that morning-that made her day.
Now it’s autumn and you’ve got a break in the action-Thanksgiving’s about the grandparents, Christmas is about the kids-and you can pretty much relax until next Valentine’s Day. Whew!
Not so fast, Dad. One of the major problems faced by parents of small children is the lack of attention paid to their own relationships. Children demand so much time and effort that couples tend to ignore each others’ needs.
Look around-as enlightened as you are, does your wife still get stuck with the “grunt” work of the household? How often do you do the laundry, including the folding and ironing? How often do you pack your kids’ lunches, buy their clothes, help them with their homework, and leave work to take them to the doctor or dentist?
Do you really believe that a few special days a year are enough recognition for everything your wife does to take care of your family? Are they enough thanks? Of course not. No matter how much she wanted the job, she never realized how incredibly difficult being a mother would turn out to be.
Don’t wait for Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day-beyond telling her every day how much you love her, there are a million little things you can do to let her know how much she is appreciated.
The next time you pass a florist, drop in and send your wife a bouquet. Leave an “I Love You” card in an unexpected place for her.
Surprise her, some Saturday night-arrange a sitter for the kids, yourself, and take her to dinner. Even better, get the sitter for a weekend afternoon, and take your wife on a surprise picnic. Or be the sitter, yourself, and arrange a surprise day at a spa for her, where she’ll be pampered in ways you can’t duplicate.
For no reason at all, let her stay in bed, some weekend morning, while you and the kids fix and serve her breakfast.
You may be a great father, but you shouldn’t forget that, first, you were a husband. Let your wife know that she’s still that beautiful girl you married, and that Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day ought to be every day.