Sometimes, I look at my husband and wonder who he is now. He is not a stranger, I have deep love for him, but I wonder how parenthood has been changing him internally. I ask because I know I am no longer the same woman he married, before we had our kid. It shames me to admit that my new role as a mother has thrown me head first into the maelstrom. I got lost in the craziness of the sleepless nights, poop-filled diapers and meal-time showdowns. My head is always asking, is my son alright? Is he getting the right food? The right stimulating experiences? Is he asleep, awake? Has he brushed his teeth before going to bed?
So many questions, and in the rare moment of quiet, I start asking questions about me. Am I alright? Am I having high blood pressure? Is this low sugar making me feel queasy? Or more often than not, I think about the household. The stairwell needs a good sweeping. The kitchen is a mess. This room needs a good dose of mosquito repellant.
But him --- I haven’t thought about him for a long time. Maybe I do, but it’s usually with the tone of “where is he and why is he not helping me here?!”
I feel really guilty when I do get the time to look at him and appreciate him as he is. My enabler, my cheerleader. He thinks I can do anything I set my mind to do. He lets me have my way 98% of the time. He built his life according to my whims and our son’s trajectory. Is he okay? Are we okay?
The rare moments we get to talk, he tells me he is struggling too. But I do not know how to help him. It adds to my feeling of helplessness. And he will not let me be helpless, so he sweeps his emotions under the rug. Sometimes, I look at him and I can smell a whiff of discontent, which is quickly covered by a look of “it’s not in my hands.”
I may have been superwoman for far too long. Instead of building a life together, I wrestled the brick and mortar away from him and insisted that “I will do it.” And now I am tired, and he has learned helplessness.
My love, are you okay? That is the first thing I will ask tonight, when I get home. I will put dinner on the table, pour him a drink, and just ask, Are we okay? I feel like I am just waking up from my “Mom Brain” fog, and I can see you clearly again for the first time in a very long time. I’m still here, and I can feel you are still with me. Let’s do this together, as originally planned.
The dusty stairwell and messy kitchen can wait. Our son is asleep. Tell me who you are now and know that I love you, still. Always. You.