I have been married for almost 18 years, together almost 24. I have what you’d call an unconventional marriage. You see, I am the stereotypical “man” in the relationship. You know how many complain about their lazy, unmotivated, and not involved with the kids partners? Well, that’s not my complaint. My complaint is the opposite. My husband is the best, all those things. My complaint is that I can’t compete.
When the kids were 1 and 3, after a year of unemployment and stay at home dadness, Hubs got a traveling job. It was either travel or nothing, so travel it was. For the next 6 years, he had a nightmare of a job with several companies. Same shit, different company. At the beginning he was home every other weekend, driving from Maryland to Northwest Ohio on Fridays and returning Sunday, an 8 hour drive, 7 if he peed in a jar. (JK, he didn’t, but developed super great bladder strength and a knack for dehydration.) The jobs got marginally better, the best ones giving him weekly airplane trips home. Travel took him everywhere – Texas, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania. He was all over.
When he was home, he was 100% home. No work, no distractions. Just 100% husband and dad. He played the handyman, the gardener, the heavy lifter, and the best part for the kids and me, the fun dad and doting husband.
Roughly 3 years ago, he finally got a job near home with a normal commute. Dad and hubby was home. After such an absence, he jumped into parenting with both feet. Boy Scout leader and Robotics coach, all in the same season. And life partner duties? House projects – check. Yard work/trash clean up – check. Cooking – check. Cleaning – check.
And so it’s been for 3+ years. Many of my friends complain about their lazy husbands. Mine cooks almost every night. Mine cleans the house and can’t stand clutter. He chauffeurs the kids to their events. He sits and does homework and keeps on top of them.
He does all this on top of bringing home a nice paycheck doing the incredibly stressful work of building and managing low income housing developments for those in need as his day job. He does the work of what some companies pay 5 people to do. When he tells me about his day, I want to crawl under the table and cry from just hearing about the stress of it.
AND THEN, on top of all this, he works out 3x a week if he can escape for a few hours. And ladies and gents, he’s got a rockin’ bod. He’s almost 42 and has defined abs, a super cute butt and arms that made the shirt “Sun’s Out, Guns Out” possible. He will eat protein shakes for dinner while we’re pigging out on macaroni and cheese and hot dogs.
So, in summary, he’s the whole package. Sweet, hardworking, funny, loving. Here’s my problem. I’m none of those things. When we got married at the tender age of 22 and 24, my parents jokingly told HIM that it wasn’t too late to back out. After 22 years of living with me, they knew what he was in for.
My parents are immaculately clean, organized people. All those genes went to my sister. In fact, I think she stole some of the few that may have been set aside for me. I am messy and unorganized. I can’t blame the kids and no time, I always have been. I want to be those things, but then when the time comes to put up or shut up, I usually shut up and binge Netflix or get into a really good book, or hell, take a nap.
You see, I am a depressed, socially anxious introvert. The outside world is overwhelming. Social events, kid functions, school, work, grocery shopping, they all take everything out of me. I relive the slightest interactions for hours afterwards mortified about what I said and did. This makes me hesitant to venture into the big scary world. I have terribly mean brain weasels that tell me I don’t fit in and I’m not good at anything, so why even try? I fight these demons back every day I get out of bed. And I do fight them. Most days I win, some days I don’t.
With all these crazy train thoughts running through my head at full steam, oftentimes, there’s just nothing left at the end of the day. When I cook, it always involves mac n cheese as a side and mostly comes from a bag of frozen something. When I clean, it’s half assed and the bare minimum. And shenanigans in the bedroom? Forget it. There’s just nothing left.
So my man comes to the rescue. All. The. Time. He takes the kids and goes to social functions. He takes them sledding or out to the pool. He comes up with dinner or orders out. He gives me alone time. He cleans up the house and fixes the broken stuff. He mows the lawn and maintains the cars.
I guess my point is, when you see him, give him a pat on the back. There’s much more than a hot bod there. He’s one of the most caring, devoted, and loving people around. I hope to one day be worth all that, but until then, know that I am trying my best to deserve what I have been so generously given.