A New Appreciation for my Spouse and His Friend the "Shoe Fairy"

Now that this career mom has been home for a bit, I have to confess I have a much better appreciation for all that my spouse has done over the years! Wow, that was a tough one to swallow! It has been building for a while, prompted by each doctor’s appointment, load of laundry, school drop off and pick up, and each meal I prepared and in return a child turned up his nose.

It’s not that I ignored it before. I always have been thankful for a spouse that was willing to take on the role of primary family manager for four kids, three dogs and over the years a lizard and some house moves. In turn, I could focus on a career that financially supported our family, and say yes when asked to take on new opportunities. We had hit a groove, at least we thought.

After more than 20 years of this arrangement, God winked and we got a curve ball. At this point, I am home way more than I have been in the past, and I started to volunteer to do things. At first, it was a nice change in routine. I made dinner, did the laundry, ran kids to school, etc. After working outside the home, more than 50-60 hours a week, and traveling quite a bit, I welcomed the change in routine.

After that novelty wore off, and, yes, it was soon, I had some observations that I initially struggled to admit to. I kept it inside, only letting peeps of frustration out, that is, until, a rush of recent doctor visits hit me like a 2 x 4.

For perspective, we are grateful that Number 3 and 4 are healthy; the appointments were for coughs, sore throats, checking for strep and this persistent virus that kept both boys under the weather -- again, admittedly high-class issues.

Within seven days, I had been in to see the kids’ doctor three times; for perspective, in the past decade in this state I had maybe taken the kids one previous time – so, yes, not a lot. Over the years, my spouse had handled well visits, sick visits and more. On my third drive to the doctor’s office, checking in, confirming the address, sharing copy of insurance, it started to hit me even more.

How did he do it? Or rather, how did he stay sane through it? I mean, this may seem obvious, but the kids don’t get sick at convenient times! I was right in the middle of a client project – one that I wanted to complete – when I had to drop everything, get the kid and race across town to make it before the office closed. Then drop the kid off at the house, pick up the prescription and return in time to make dinner.

As I type this, it reaffirms why I have not shared my observations previously. All of my friends – men and women – who manage all of this on a day-to-day basis, are saying, yes, what’s new; but for me it was a new world.

Did you know that laundry is never-ending? My goal on certain weeks is to make sure the laundry room is empty, but just when I am about to celebrate empty baskets, Number 3 cleans his room and all of the clothes that I assume he dropped to protect his carpeting, end up back in the laundry room.

The kitchen - ugghhhh - don’t get me started on the kitchen. Just about the time I get the counter wiped clean, I turn around to find that Number 4 had a snack and Number 3 got his third cup out for the day because he did not see the other two that were about two feet away on another counter.

There is one thing that has not changed though. I still am the only one in the family that has special vision to see dust. It is amazing that the kids have not had the opportunity to immediately identify that thin film of flat fluff that gathers on furniture, and sometimes makes the kids and me sneeze. Really, though, enough about me -- I mean, I am the only one who appreciates my keen eye for dust anyway.

This is really about saying thanks for all the years that my spouse has done all of these things that I thought I appreciated, but today, actually treasure, now that I have gotten a taste of some of the duties that just got done. A gal has to admit, what a gal has to admit.

There is one thing I really do miss, though. My husband used to hire a shoe fairy that magically returned my shoes to my closet no matter where they showed up in the house. When I ask him where the shoe ferry went and if we could hire her again, he just smiled and said, “ you know honey, the shoe fairy did not feel appreciated, so she went to another family.” P.S. If you are reading this Shoe Fairy, please return, I now realize how much I cherished you!

For more stories like this and the (Mis)Adventures of a Career-Driven mom, check out our book.

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© 2017 Kori Reed and Mike Becker. All Rights Reserved.  |  authors@reedimagine.com