There is no "I" in Parent


So much of parenting takes place in the moment and is focused, quite understandably, on the children. I know in my house our morning and evening routines are based on the children’s schedules and much of our social calendar is scheduled around the kids’ engagements. Menu choices for dinner, movies to watch, and games to play are all based, at least in part, on our children’s tastes, moods, and whims. Often I feel that I get lost in the rush.

It’s only natural, with so much focus on our children, that we can lose sight of ourselves, but also of our partners and our support system. As we gear up for another busy school year, I remember one evening I was helping my son with homework while my youngest was getting ready for bed. My daughter was helping me with a project of my own and my husband was catching up on some work. Before I realized it, we were inching very close to bedtime, and I looked up at my husband and, as I often do, noted in surprise that it was getting late. I automatically continued with my son, now in a hurry since we were up against the clock, and my husband ran up to start story time. In that quick moment I was reminded, I am not in this parenting alone.

I was focused on my son and his task at hand and that took precedence over the rest of the activity because I internalized my son’s sense of urgency without considering everyone’s perspective. I am not sure it should have, but we don’t often have the luxury to consider everything, and I definitely should have had the decency to ask my husband if he needed me to step in for bedtime stories since he was clearly busy as well. What my husband did was simple, but also so gracious and giving. I would like to think we both do those kinds of things for one another.

My husband and I are a team, and he is such an incredible team player. I don’t have to ask him and he doesn’t have to ask me – we will do anything for one another. But it sure is nice to be asked. And it sure is even nicer to be thanked. This goes beyond basic gratitude. This is true acknowledgement of what someone is doing. My husband last night was just doing his job, but I was reminded to thank him for that. It’s not just about doing the job, it's about doing it for others. It's about the kids, and it’s about the family.