I got a good reminder while visiting at the house of a neighbor. Her husband arrived home from his long work day while I was there. In he came, having put in his 8+ hours to provide for his little family. My friend barely changed facial expression. She didn’t move to embrace him. No joyful sounds came from her lips. I felt sorry. I wanted to shout, “Just kiss him!” Just tell him how thankful you are that you get to stay home with your kids while he goes out and battles to keep your boat afloat. Just jump up from where you are and hug him and have a warm smile of gratitude for him—the man who enabled you to be a mother and who makes your life complete. Please, just love him!
Such a small effort, and yet it would mean a lot to any man, I’m sure.
I heard of a woman woman in modest circumstances, who gathered her children around when Daddy came home with his paycheck, and she held it up for the children to see. “Look at what your Daddy has done all week for us, working everyday while we’ve enjoyed life and had playtime too. Now, Jeff, you can have the shoes you need for soccer, and Katie, you will be able to get your bike tire fixed . . .” On she went, appreciating the man who put in the labor to keep the family going. I have to admire that. And it had to make that man feel less tired and more willing to keep at his job.
When my children were younger, they would beg to do things in the late afternoon:
“Let’s go to the library!”
“Please, take us to the store”
The last time that happened, I heard one of my daughters explain to the other, “Mom won’t do that.”
“Why won’t I?” I asked her.
“You never would. You’d always tell us that Daddy works so hard for us all day long, the least we can do it have a hot meal ready for him.” I hadn’t really realized the lesson I was teaching, but it is one I still believe in.
My neighbor has little children and is very busy daily taking care of them. Her days are not a piece of cake. At-home moms put out just as hard, or harder, of a work day as their breadwinners do. But there are comforts associated with being home: being free to choose what to do, freedom to lay down on the couch for a few minutes when you are tired, and the joy of being in the presence of your little ones. It is still a “plush” occupation in ways.
When I lived in southern California, after loading the crockpot for dinner, I would take my brood of little kids to the beach on a summer afternoon. Although there were the usual mishaps and frustrations—sandwiches in the sand, multiple trudges up the beach to the toilet, having to watch the kids carefully near the ocean—still the scenery was beautiful and we had a wonderful day. We’d be arriving home, sand still on our feet, just about the same time my husband pulled in from work. I did feel sheepish.
Back to my neighbor who didn’t give any recognition when her husband came home: I heard a marriage therapist tell how he solved this problem in his life. He opened the door and sang out, “I’m home! I’m home! I’m home-I’m home-I’m home” like a victory song. It gave the family a needed reminder to stop what they were doing and embrace the man who supports their lifestyle. That might help my neighbor, but it is sad that our husbands have to ask for it. We should be the ones remembering, being grateful, embracing the tired man who has worked all day, and having a hot dinner ready for him.
Next time your husband walks in after a long day, my advice: just kiss him!