The following article was written by Ben Stahl, the husband of POPSUGAR Moms contributor Kate Stahl, with a few loving edits from his grammatically superior wife.
I get it: being a mom is stressful, no matter if you're working outside of the house part-time, full-time, or not at all (and you've tried all three since we've had kids!). I, your husband, probably don't tell you enough that I see what you're doing, keeping our house running, sometimes like a fine-tuned machine, other times like a clunker in need of an oil change, but running, nonetheless. If it was up to me, I'd probably be calling roadside assistance (aka grandma, babysitters, basically anyone who would take my call) every single day, begging for help.
You're strong, you're forward thinking, you're the backbone of our family. But I can also tell that all the responsibility gets to you sometimes. Even when you act like everything's fine, I can see how close you are to losing it, and you completely losing it? It affects us all. I want to bring you back from the edge. I want you to feel supported.
So please listen when I tell you what I'm really thinking when I see how stressed you are.
- I see how much you do, even when I don't thank you for it. I appreciate that I come home to a nice house, a hot dinner, and two kids who are happy, fed, and thriving. I remember that weekend you were out of town, and I know how much it takes to keep everything in order; it's like swimming upstream. But my day is stressful, too, in different ways, and sometimes I'm too preoccupied with work to remember to say thank you for doing the laundry, cleaning the bathroom, caring for the kids, and still finding time to make me dinner. I'll try to remember to express my gratitude more.
- Communicate clearly with me when you're about to lose it so I can help. We all know that you're Superwoman, but even she needed an occasional break. When you feel like you're going to go bananas if you have to wash one more sippy cup, pick up one more dried piece of Play-Doh, or tell our kids to eat their dinners one more time, I'm there to help, but you have to ask for it. I'm not a mind reader, and admittedly, I don't see all the mess or know what the kids should be doing at every minute like you do. I know it's not your favorite thing to admit defeat, but when you feel defeated, please tell me. I promise to help.
- Our home does not have to look perfect. I get that you like an organized, clean house. It's something you've helped me appreciate more since I met you, but we have two tiny animals (aka our children) living in this house, and it's never going to look as great as you want it to. So try to let that impossible battle go . . . just a little.
- I appreciate everything you do, but here is what's really important to me. The pristine kitchen and perfectly-made beds, I'll admit, I don't really care too much about. What I do value: your attention and affection. I know that you're often emotionally and physically drained after a day with the kids. I don't want to demand more from you, but remember, our relationship is important, too.
- Please don't leave us, because we're so screwed without you. Seriously, we can't do this family thing without you, and that old saying "happy wife, happy life" is totally true. So tell me what will make you feel better, and unless it's a private island, a $10,000 purse, or triplets, I'll do everything in my power to give it to you — because without you, our family just doesn't work.