Wednesday, September 28, 2011

He Gets the Big Stuff Right

So, since my last post, I’ve been attacked by fire ants, accosted by a snake in the pool and almost stung by a wasp.  Apparently, I have angered the Male-Ego Gods.   But hey, I had this coming anyways.  So in the name of fair and balanced coverage, I feel the need to give the other side of the story on That Darn Y Chromosome. 
I survived the two weekends in a row of single-mothering, and we are back into the routine of divide and conquer.  Now that I’m getting some backup, we’ve gotten a date-night under our belts, and I’m not perched on the edge of insanity ready to jump, I’m able to sit back and appreciate all that the Y Chromosome gets right.  You know, at the end of the day (or at the end of life, for that matter), what do all the little things really matter?  The cleanliness issues, forgetfulness, general male boorishness, etc. do not define the man.  In my book, there are four things that define the man: who he is, who he says he is, what he does and whom he loves.
Let’s start with #1: who he is.  This is pretty obvious.  It matters more that he has a good heart than it does that he is incapable of loading the dishwasher properly.  It’s more important that he lifts me up with his encouraging words and praise, than it does that he only pretends to listen to me when the game is on.  I know that, inarguably, he’s one of the good ones.
And just as important, #2, he is who he says he is.  Anyone who’s ever met my hubby knows he does not put on airs or pretend to be something he’s not.  He’s just a regular, everyday guy who loves his wife and family, watching sports and music.  Not flashy, and somewhat shy.  Pretty simple tastes and even simpler expectations.
#3 is pivotal, too, because, what’s that old saying?  Actions speak louder than words?  Well, my man delivers.  Most of the time.  He’s not perfect, but then again, neither am I.  I’m sure you’re shocked to learn this.  But for the most part, he does what he says and says what he does.   That’s all that matters to me.
And lastly, whom does he love?  The fact that I have no doubt in my mind that he loves me and our children is comforting beyond measure.  In this crazy world we live in, it’s so easy to be distracted and venture off track.  I know that he is committed to me and our family, and I pinky-swear that I do not take that lightly.
So, amidst the daily frustrations and nit-picky grievances, the big picture always comes into focus at the end.  No, we are not perfect.  Yes, we bitch and gripe at each other from time to time.  We are not Ward and June.  But I think we come out OK, and our kids shouldn’t need too much therapy, in the end. 
Bottom line message to the Y-chromes, we ladies mostly just want to feel appreciated and loved.  We want to feel like you notice the personal sacrifices we make during the course of the day while taking care of the children.  We want to feel like we don’t blend into the background.  That we are not invisible. 
See, we don’t get raises, performance reviews or even kudos, so we need you to throw us a bone every now and then:  a nice evening out that YOU plan and orchestrate.  Getting up with the kids early on a Saturday morning, so that we can sleep in.  Fixing us a to-go cup of coffee in the morning before rushing off to carpool line.  Forgoing the Rush concert special on VH1, so that we can watch HGTV…gasp!
I have to say, through the years, my man has gotten better about these little things.  See, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!  But sometimes the cracks still surface.  But, the way I look at it, it’s kind of like buying a house…there may be some little things that bother you about the house, but you can live with them because, overall, it has “good bones.”  The rest of the stuff is just on the surface.  And that’s exactly how I feel about my one and only.  He gets the Big Stuff right.  And he kills snakes and bugs.  So, I think I’ll keep him.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

That Darn Y Chromosome

So, let me just say upfront that this will be one of those “what is it with men?” posts.  So, if you are one of those women who thinks your husband is perfect (or just scared to admit that he’s not), then don’t bother reading.  We must also get it straight, right up front, that I love my husband to the max (sorry, I just watched “Valley Girl”).  And I thank the Good Lord for him every day.   I am not one of those man-hating, bra-burning crazy women, but I do love a good little bitch-fest/pity party when it comes to the shortcomings of our better halves.  And I refuse to feel bad about it, because I know there’s a lot of smack-talk about us ladies that occurs in sports bars, on golf courses and up in deer blinds.  Well, maybe not in deer blinds, since I think they have to be quiet, so they don’t scare the deer away.  Who the hell knows?  But you know what I mean.  Anyway, we ladies can say what we want because 1) we have to go through childbirth, and 2) our husbands would rather us get it off our chests with other people than yell it at them. 
At the top of my gripe list today is parenting/childcare skills, or lack thereof.  It is shocking to me that after a year of having a baby in the house, I still have to give my husband more instructions than I give a teenage babysitter on how to take care of the baby.  Me: Please feed baby his dinner.  There is a jar of baby food in the fridge.  Husband: What? Where in the fridge?   Me:  Right there in front on the shelf. Right in front of your face.  Husband:  What?  Where?  Oh.  Do I need to heat it up?  Me:  I don’t know…do you enjoy Chicken and Stars ICE COLD?!?!  Or maybe you might want to pop it in the microwave, so that nasty looking crap might actually be palatable, even to an infant!!!  Duh.
Next on my list is forgetfulness. But evidently, this trait exists only within the confines that we call home.  I mean, the man has a blackberry, apparently knows how to read, and runs a department full of employees who call him Boss.  But he cannot remember our anniversary or the date of his next haircut appointment.  And, of course, he can remember the score of some Longhorn football game from 1989. Or the batting average of an Astro’s baseball player from 1992.  But day-to-day stuff…not so much.   I truly wonder how he would survive if I was not here to tell him what to do next.
And can you imagine if our husbands had to do the school/after school activity chauffeuring??  I mean, I am pretty organized (or at least I used to be), and I still need Google Calendar synched to a GPS system to get me where we’re supposed to be on the right day and time.  Hubby’s head would EXPLODE if he had to figure out how to time the baby’s nap schedule, so that he wakes up in time to throw him in the car with goldfish & a sippy cup and race to carpool line.  He has no idea about the nuances of timing the carpool line, and that if you arrive one minute late you are SCREWED and will end up at the end of the line waiting for eternity, and then your kid cries that she was the last one picked up.  All with a screaming baby in the car.  I would pay money to see that.
Another touchy subject is weekend leisure time away from home, which Hubby is always scheming to get more of, leaving me on duty 24/7 & needing to be talked off the ledge.  But I always somehow seem to manage, mainly with the help of Nick Jr. and wine in a box from Target.  When Husband goes away for the weekend (which he has done TWO weekends in a row now…grrr…because, you know HE needs his “me” time…LOL), yes, I miss him, and yes, my life is infinitely harder without him to run backup.  BUT, the household barrels along as expected, the kids are clothed and fed, the cats are immunized, and beds get made.  If I was to leave for a weekend, and I say this hypothetically, because this is a non-occurrence, Husband immediately makes plans to take the children to his parents’ house so he won’t have to deal with them on his own.  Whatcha ‘fraid of, scaredy cat?!?!  Ha, ha!!
Seriously, if I did leave, I would come home to Armageddon.  No one would be wearing anything matching, or even seasonally appropriate.  There would be toys and trash strewn around the house as if a pack of wild boars had raided the place.  And the refrigerator would be empty.  When asked why he didn’t go to the store, husband would reply, “What?  You want me to take these two kids to the store?”  Yep, I do!  I know it’s no fun to drag two children out in 100 degree heat.  And it sucks to have the baby dump a full baggie of Cheerios over his head and all over Aisle 9, while a manager glares at you disapprovingly.  And go ahead and add $20 to the bill to account for all the stuff Big Sister will sneak into the cart when you’re not looking.  I know, it ain’t no fun!  I would LOVE to be sitting in a nice, air-conditioned conference room, with civilized, educated people, calmly discussing the future of healthcare.  And then you even get to go have lunch at a restaurant that’s nicer than where you took me for my birthday!  Gee, I know you’re working REAL hard over there, buddy.
Now, I’m really just kidding, because I know Husband works very hard.  He really does.  I worked full-time in the corporate world once upon a time, and it’s no cup of tea.  And I appreciate all he does for our family, blah, blah, blah.  But I can honestly say that I have never worked harder than I do at home with these children.  It’s a different kind of hard.  It’s a lonely, isolated, frustrated, crazy kind of hard, defined by manic highs and lows.  The baby took his first steps…pure unadulterated joy!  The baby pooped all over me and the entire bathroom…time to slit the wrists!
But I am not sweating it with this second child.  I know it goes by SO fast, and I will wake up one day, and these children will be gone, and I’ll be sad.  Not like, crawl-into-a-fetal-position sad, but bittersweet sad.  I will relish my newfound freedom to pick up “me” where I left off, if I can even remember where that was.  Do some travelling.  Revisit my old hobbies, and maybe try some new ones.  Spend more time with that Darned Y Chromosome that snores in bed next to me every night.  Yeah, he’s still pretty cute.  But you know what I look forward to the most?  At mealtime, fixing my plate before ANYONE ELSE’s. 
Can I get an Amen?