Life With Nine Kids

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Super Dad

My husband takes care of me. He’s my protector and provider. He loves me, he loves his family and in everything he does he thinks of us first. In return I take care of my husband, I love him and I take care of our home and our children. In everything I do I think of him and the children first.

While I’m quite aware that it takes a lot of commitment and sacrifice to raise any family it takes even more so to raise a large family. (It takes more of a lot of things: more time, energy, house work, faith!) I am not surprised by my will power to be the best mother I can be. I am not surprised by the hours it takes to homeschool, bathe, feed, clean and cook for a large household. What I am surprised by is my husband’s complete attentiveness to his family. I am surprised that he doesn’t get overwhelmed easily and I am in awe that in this day and age I have a man who loves and protects his family so selflessly and joyfully.

He is a husband and dad that arrives home from work ready to help. Some days he has a relaxing break from the work day, for at least a little while, but some days there is no such thing. When he walks in the door laughing and happy kids usually greet him, but sometimes crying fits and a frazzled wife greets him. He jumps right in to whatever the evening has in store like he’s hard wired to do so. He is a dad that: changes diapers, wipes noses, pushes his girls’ curly hair from their eyes so they can see (and so we can see them), takes the trash out, brushes kids teeth, reads stories, lays with the little kids at bedtime, and if needed he does light clean up (just enough so I don't get frazzled) and puts the chickens in the chicken house in the evening. He is a dad that helps bake and cook and clean, sometimes out of necessity and sometimes out of just wanting to be with me. If I can’t get his business clothes laundered for work one week he does it without hesitation on Sunday night, though usually I manage that in just fine. And one more thing, a huge thing to me: He grocery shops. If I can’t get it done he’ll either do it after work or go with me shopping over the weekend. Usually he prefers to go shopping with me than to stay home. How did I get so lucky? I have no idea. Grocery shopping for a family of 8and a half people is a huge deal and time consuming!

At the beginning of this pregnancy my husband and I shared in the shock, wonder, amazement and craziness of our life with so many kids. This will be the seventh child we will marvel at, love and raise together. During the morning sickness stage my dear husband let me sleep until 9 or 10am on weekends, often bringing me breakfast in bed. He even smiled at me understandingly if once I was awake at 10am I decided I was too sick to actually get up…so instead I watched infomercials until noon. On weekdays he brought me cereal in bed at 6am, either right before or right after he showered, so I could get ahead of the sickness and be ready for a day of home alone with kids.

When trimester one passed I picked the pace back up and felt tons better. We fell back into our more usual roles and I didn’t need to be helped as much. He got busy at work and I got back to business at home. Life for the past four months has been busy and hectic for us both and a lot of attention has been shifted on summer fun, yard work and our kids. (Also lots of effort spent on getting back on a schedule since my morning sickness sabotaged our old schedule!)

Now that I’m further along in my pregnancy I’m groaning heavily as I flop in and out of bed, pee every 10 minutes and waddle around the house. My husband senses the difficulty and suddenly has started paying attention to laundry I need carried downstairs, kids that need extra assistance and a wife that appreciates help getting up and down. Sometimes even in the middle of the night he’ll sense me getting up and he’ll offer a firm hand to steady myself on or push on my back as I sit up for extra support. The extra attention feeds my soul and fills my heart.

Writing this today I remember about 5 years ago that I got flustered and stressed from taking care of the house and kids. I remember ranting and pointing my finger to him for more help. He calmly but sternly asked me in a very realistic way why I let myself get to this point, why I hadn’t asked him for help because he just didn’t know I needed help (he pointed out guys don’t always notice the households obvious shortcomings and need to be showed). I said that I didn’t want to bother him (I think at the time I assumed he’d help me if he wanted to, and that since he wasn’t helping it would be a bother to ask him, or maybe I'd be a nag). I’ll never forget the look on his face or what he said that day. He said, “Do you think my kids are a bother to me? Do you actually think you guys are a burden or something? Is that what you think of me?” And that day changed everything. It changed the way I asked him for help, the way he helped me, and it also changed the way I viewed him as my husband. I had once, but never again, sharply underestimated his commitment to our family.

Sometimes I wonder how he works so hard. How he keeps going on being so great to us even when times are tough and days and nights get long. Then I realize it’s the same way I do it… hard work and love. What a blessing family is!


MrsKnight said...

How sweet! I'm touched by your Super Dad and his willingness to help, if only you tell him where help is needed. We've been at (or are at) that stage and I need to learn how to ask for help and which things would be helpful to have help with! :-)

Mom of a Half Dozen Kids said...

Thanks! For me it has gotten better with more kids -I simply can't do it all LOL. There is now too much to do! But yes, I've learned men don't always see things the way we do and they need direction. My husband has the hang of it now but I did have to learn to ask and show without frustration. Then things unfolded in a positive way from there.