It’s hunting season here in Montana, which means the men in this family are pouring over maps and pulling out camo. Saturday night my husband and his brother headed out, going east for a scouting trip. This wasn’t a big deal for us, but it was hard for my brother-in-law to leave his wife and three young boys alone for Sunday.
Twenty-four hours is a long time when a woman is parenting little kids by herself.
A really, really long time.
After the men got back (and for any guy readers –no, they didn’t see anything), Matt and I were enjoying a cup of coffee on Monday morning and were remembering how hard those hunting trips were when our kids were little.
I remember fighting an internal battle, I said. Part of me felt resentful that you could just take off and be free of responsibility for 24 hours. The other half of me was happy for you to get a day in the woods with your hunting buddies.
I know there were times when he left with a hunting pack weighted down with guilt because I pouted him off at the door.
Have a good time, I would say with my voice. While my eyes would say, Don’t worry about me here just going crazy being a mom all by myself, with no rest or any fun for me. No big deal.
My husband is a professional counselor and very wise, so over coffee I asked, What’s the answer? What would you say to the young mom who wants her husband to have fun and pursue his hobbies but who also is weary from 24/7 parenting?
His answer made me cry right there in the kitchen.
Nothing brings me home quicker than a wife who sends me off joyfully, he said.
Why is that? I asked.
It cements the value of the relationship, he said. Why would I want to stay away when I have her?
Here’s his message to you moms with young kids:
Women, if you want to be a magnet, cheer them off as they leave.
That got me thinking about being a magnet, and I said, What if I were to slip a piece of lingerie into your duffle bag?
He answered, Then I would say to my brother, “Oh, I injured my knee. I’ve got to go home RIGHT NOW.”
So there you have it.
Anyway, my kids are just about raised, and I’ll tell you my husband’s words are true. The more I have celebrated and encouraged him to pursue his hobbies and enjoy some guy time, the more he seems to care tenderly for me.
(And then there is that whole lingerie thing. Don’t think I’m joking about that.)
You don’t have to feel happy that you’re going to be alone with the kids while he plays. That part is still hard work. But you can smile sincerely when he leaves, as you consider his needs above your own. I think you’ll find that as you encourage his rest and refreshment, he’ll have more energy for you and the kids down the road.
What could you encourage your man to go do for enjoyment in the next few weeks?