“I can get the milk myself.”
I’ve decided this needs to be my marriage mantra for the new year. Life with small children is hard. When you are exhausted and touched out and being pulled in so many directions, it’s way too easy to look at the person you married, that you picked out of 7 billion other people to tackle this life together with, and think “Seriously? I’m doing everything around here!”
But I know I’m not. The man I married is a wonderful father and partner, we just have very different skill sets. So much so that we are often not even aware of what the other is doing. Sometimes I need to remind myself of this, and that’s where the milk comes in.
When we got married, our officiant asked me to tell her a little about my husband-to-be and why I loved him. She liked the story I shared so much that she included it in our wedding ceremony. Here is what I told her:
“He is the kind of guy that you send out for milk, and he comes home an hour later because he took a different road to see where it went, then spotted some flowers by the roadside and stopped to pick them for me, then in the store he found a book he remembered me mentioning 3 months ago and bought it for me… but he’ll forget the milk. Which is really okay, because I can get the milk myself.”
Not surprisingly, 7 years later we are still the same people. I am awesome at getting the milk. I have lists about my lists. I have a plan A, B, C and D for everything and because of that sometimes I feel like I am juggling all the logistics of parenting.
Nowadays, my husband is the guy who buys me way too much chocolate and then hides it in weird spots so that he can surprise me with it when I’m desperate. He takes our daughter on countless adventures for which he is under-prepared, from freezing cold hikes to brunch dates at inappropriately fancy restaurants. He will happily walk the floor with a cranky baby when I’ve lost all my patience. He buys impractical gifts and proposes impossible plans. He definitely still forgets the milk, but he brings balance to our family and makes me a better parent.
So on the days when I am frustrated by the daily grind of fulfilling the needs of very small tyrants, I will try to remember that I fell in love with an idealistic wanderer who turns out to be capable of acting out all the other characters in Frozen for hours on end while our daughter plays Anna for the millionth time. And I can get the milk myself.