I Thought My Husband Was Selfish, But Now I Get It

by Panda Elder
Originally Published: 
Amanda Elder

Something amazing just happened.

My husband and I were both sitting on the love seat together. He was surfing the web (do people still say that?) and I was reading a book. The boys were jumping on the couch frame with the cushions strewn across the floor. All of a sudden my son collapsed onto a giant pillow and said through heavy breaths, “I need water.”

I faintly heard him, but paid him no mind. I was so caught up in my book, LOLing and everything, that his request didn’t even register until I felt my husband move from beneath me and head to the kitchen.

That is when I realized that 1) my son needed water; and 2) my husband was going to get it.

I don’t know whom I was more impressed with, Josh for getting it or me for not.

I am inclined to think myself, but I know I wouldn’t be in this position without his mentorship. You see, I used to get totally annoyed by him for strumming his guitar in his underwear while I played servant-bitch. I used to wonder how the hell he was afforded the freedom to read while my face got bounced on by little butts and my hair got pulled by cave-baby hands. He played chess with strangers on his phone, while I searched the house for the gray shovel my preschooler needed. I wasn’t only amazed at his ability to do these things, I was bitter. I was like my 4-year-old who slaps his feet hard on the floor while walking with his arms crossed, his brows furrowed, saying, “No fair!”

I used to pick fights with my husband over this. I’d call him selfish and inconsiderate, and he’d be like “No, you can’t be mad at me because you have no boundaries. You could do fun things too if you let yourself, but instead you run yourself ragged. Tell the boys ‘no’ once in a while, sit down and relax, and let’s order takeout. Make your life easy, and stop blaming me for not doing things the way you do.”

He had some valid points and I was like, “True…”

It hasn’t been easy or quick, but through following my husband’s modeling I’ve learned to chill more and do less. Now I do things like laugh out loud while reading a book and ignoring the kids. The funny thing is that my whole family loves me more for it (and I them).

My husband has always been an amazing dad. Already today he has played the Batman matching game and fought in two sword fights. He even got his nipples suckled by our 15-month-old (I guess now that mine are dry, he’s looking for other sources.) But my husband is also really good at doing the things he enjoys too. Can you believe I used to get mad at him for this? I stopped bitching at him and started learning from him instead. I enjoy the kids, but I also feel entitled to enjoy myself. I used to only write while the kids napped, but at this very moment, I’m sitting at a Little Tikes picnic table while Thing 1 pushes a swing and Thing 2 digs holes in the dirt. Some benign neglect never hurt anybody.

My husband just went to the kitchen again, and do you know what he said to me: “Do you want some water?” I’m floored. Clearly, the best way to get more is to do less. I see the light.

I used to get annoyed by my husband—until I copied him instead. Now I have become him in the best way possible. I sit on the toilet with my phone five minutes after all my pee has dripped out. Sometimes I pretend like I’m pooping, and if I hear a kid getting close, I shut the door and lock it.

My husband’s not annoying and definitely not selfish. He’s a genius and a source of great inspiration.

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