AN OPEN LETTER TO MY HUSBAND
I'm not going to win any prizes for this realization, but marriage is hard. I knew that it would get even harder once we had a baby - that our relationship would be challenged and tested in new ways - but I had no idea just how difficult it could be sometimes. I especially struggled with the stereotypical gender role I suddenly found myself in. Yes, it was my choice to breastfeed, to put the bassinet on my side of the bed, and to take 12 full weeks of maternity leave while Jared kept working. And yet, it was incredibly difficult to get out of bed to feed a hungry baby at 3am while Jared slept soundly next to me. It was sometimes painful to listen to his stories from work when I hadn't been able to leave the house that day. I was envious when he would have a drink after a long day, and I was too afraid to let alcohol pass into my milk. Articles on the 'mental load' go viral for a reason. Books like "How to Not Hate Your Husband After Kids' become best sellers for a reason. Marriage after kids is HARD. And statistically speaking, when in comes to parenting, women bear the brunt of it.
But there are two sides to this story. Because when I became a Mom something else equally as important happened. Something that doesn't always get enough credit: Jared became a Dad. Over the last 8 months, I've watched as Jared has become an incredible father. In a world where I feel like it's become the norm for wives to complain about their husbands, I wanted to share the other side of the equation. Because despite what the internet and many TV sitcoms will have you believe; all marriages don't consist of the 'stupid husband' and 'annoying wife'. They can be partnerships - imperfect and nuanced - but loving and constantly evolving.
Do you remember the first time we said, 'I love you?' We were feeling creative and decided to draw pictures on the wall of our rented apartment in New York with permanent marker. Life has changed a bit since that night, but over the last 8 months, I've grown to love you more than I ever thought possible.
Don't get me wrong - our relationship is not perfect. I won't pretend that it is. We don't have enough quality time together anymore. We fight over stupid things like who gets to decide the TV show at night. We've been known to passive aggressively leave dishes in the sink for too long. But at the end of the day, I am grateful to have you by my side.
I'm not always good at showing my appreciation. I get home from work at night cranky. I'm tired literally all of the time and forget that you are too. I take for granted the fact that our relationship is a true partnership. This past weekend, we had over 70 people in our home for Shabbat dinner. I offered our home, but you did all of the work. I don't think I made dinner one night while I was on maternity leave. Every evening you would get home from work and start dinner. I never had to ask, and I'm not sure I ever said thank you. I'm grateful that you're the kind of man who makes bottles and changes diapers. That you take care of Avi when I need to pump and in the mornings when I leave for work 30 minutes before the nanny gets there. I'm grateful that every weekend, we trade off sleeping in. I'm grateful that you know our son so well that you can take care of him without needing instructions from me.
I'm grateful that with your actions and words, you're teaching our son to respect women and to see us as equals.
Thank you for being my biggest supporter and a role model for our son. I love you.