“What if I take a week of vacation from work and you go stay with your parents so you can have a break?” my husband asked me one evening. I must have looked as haggard as I felt, and this offer was one of the most loving things I ever heard. “Really? You think that could work?” I responded, as I wracked my brain trying to decide for myself.
“I think you should go on vacation. You haven’t had a break for over 3 years. There’s always going to be a reason not to do it. If we can possibly pull it off, we should try,” he encouraged.
That was all the prompting I needed. For the next 2 months I planned and daydreamed about how wonderful it would be to decide for myself what I wanted to do with my days. After pouring over the calendar, we settled on a 5 day break just before Christmas. How did the break go? Well, as you may have suspected, we got some great stories out of it!
The first text I received from my husband who rarely cooks read,
“Adventures with Daddy Day 1: Set off the smoke detector trying to cook eggs.” Others included, “Do we have a lemon zester?” “What do you use to grease a pan?” “The kitchen is starting to smell a little funky. When do the dishwashing fairies normally come?” “We’re really low on milk. Where is the best place to get more?”
There were also multiple pictures of the baby falling asleep in various parts of our house because daddy hadn’t recognized she was tired and needed a nap.
However, my favorite story is from day 4 when he answered the phone with a grumpy, “Hello.”
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I’m locked in the bathroom trying to get a moment of peace and then the phone rings!” my husband answered.
“Hahahahahaha!” I erupted.
I can’t make this up. He then proceeded to direct our 3 year old through her chore list and identify that the 13 month old was playing in the dog’s water bowl and convinced her to stop–all through the locked door! Impressive and hilarious!
My side of the break was very relaxing. I went to bed when I was tired, woke up when I was ready, watched a movie, ran some errands, read, and did some sewing that was on my list. The biggest change was getting to operate on my own timeline, and it was wonderful! My husband also gave me a beautiful card filled with words of appreciation and a spa treatment for me. I felt so loved and so encouraged.
So why did he decide to take on 2 little girls and a dog by himself? Because he recognized that I needed a break. He saw me. He got it. The 24/7 job was wearing me out and I needed some time to refresh. He chose to selflessly contribute to the solution.
When we see someone in need, we can respond in one of two ways. We can ignore the problem and hope it goes away or we can contribute to the solution. Which is more loving? That’s kind of obvious, but sometimes it’s difficult to choose to love those who are closest to us. We can take them for granted instead of setting our own desires aside. I’m sure he would have rather completed some of the projects on his list with that time off work, but he selflessly chose to put my needs ahead of his wants.
It will be interesting to see how these 5 days in my shoes changes the dynamics of our family, going forward. I know I will be excited for another “mommy vacation” if the opportunity is ever presented again. In the meantime, his has also helped me reflect more on my husband’s wants and needs, and form a plan of action to try to help him achieve those.
You’re only as strong as your weakest link. Who is your family’s weakest link and how can you help them get stronger?