My Life Is Harder Than My Husband's

by Jillian Benfield
Originally Published: 
Parents in a bed with their three kids between them, smiling.
LSOphoto / Getty

My life is harder than my husband’s. There, I said it. Sure he works, and has to deal with superiors and subordinates and the delicate nuances of military hierarchy. He sometimes gets caught in a tricky dental surgery that ends up taking double the time he anticipated. He has more paperwork than I would ever care to deal with. But, my life is harder.

Right now.

I’m the lead manager of our three children under five and their schools, therapies, and doctor appointments. I’m the chief of wiping bums, chasing down a destructive toddler while holding the baby to keep him from crying, and also trying to find a meaningful activity to do with our five-year-old. I’m the CEO of grocery lists, packing diaper bags, and backpacks. I’m the lead researcher in things like solids, speech delays, and beginning reading. I’m also the sole proprietor of being Mrs. Part-Time, doing multiple jobs outside of the kids.

It’s harder than drilling and filling teeth.

My husband knows this. And I know it won’t always be this way.

In this fluid and ever-changing life we live, my husband’s role has been harder at points, and then it’s my turn. But here’s the difference between now and almost nine years ago when we first got married—we recognize it’s never equal.

In those young days, we thought marriage was supposed to be 50/50. When the other’s life got harder, we failed to step up our own efforts. Instead, we stayed in our own lanes and lamented when the other wasn’t keeping pace.

We were each running our own races whose only prize was resentment.

But things changed. Our first real hardship changed our relationship. Our first child changed us even more. We now know nothing about marriage being 50/50.

Instead, we step up when the other is being stepped on.

My husband knows my life is harder right now, so he does what he can to lighten my load. He empties the dishwasher so I’m not met with a house-task to start the day. He stops at the store on his way home from work so I don’t have to venture out with three kids. He’s become our social coordinator, making sure we have date nights and outings with friends set.

I can’t list all that he does, because he does so much.

I know my turn is coming. He’ll soon start another residency program, and I’ll have to find a way to fill in the gaps. It’s overwhelming, but I know I’ll figure it out, because I love him.

I love our life together. Our marriage is the heart of our family from which everything else flows. It sets the tone of our lives. So, we’ve replaced the constant measuring with grace.

Instead of fighting against each other when things get out of sync, we fight for each other.

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