Having a wonderful and supporting partner is so important when entering the unknown journey that is parenthood. In my case, my partner is my husband – my husband of three very quick, joyous years filled with pregnancies, newborns, toddlers, tears, hugs and fits of laughter.
It's not often that my hubby gets asked how he is going with his new life. People will often ask how I am travelling, if I'm back at work and how I'm managing juggling two children. And so they should - I've just pushed a second baby out, so I'm chasing a toddler around the house while literally juggling a newborn. I've put my life as I knew it on a temporary hold while I adjust to motherhood of two babies. People should be asking how I am. But people should also ask how he's going, too.
Yes, he didn't have to grow a human, recover from childbirth or learn the ins and outs of mothering two children, but he did have to do an awful lot. He became a dad of two little girls and he had to become a husband to a mother of two.
Here are 10 things that I am forever grateful for.
1. Thank you for telling me I am a good mum
I don't think you understand how much I need to hear that. I'm in constant self-doubt about my abilities to mother two children. On a good day, I can stand back and marvel at my abilities to coordinate swimming lessons, ballet, nap times, lunch and exercising. On my bad days, I wonder if I do enough for them, if I do too much with them, if I feed them the right food and if I give them enough or too much freedom. I need to be told that I'm going okay; that it is noticeable that I'm succeeding. I need that reassurance and that encouragement to keep my head above water some days.
2. Thank you for being the bad guy
Thank you for being the parent that does the dirty work. When I've reached the end of the day and my toddler wants to sleep in my bed, most of the time I'll cave. I don't have the energy to battle her. Enter dad. You push through the tears and "I want a cuddle!" to finally get her to sleep in her own bed. You read book after book. You curl up in her tiny toddler bed next to her. You put the clear and concise daddy voice on and don't let those big blue eyes con you. It's a horrible job to sit there and see your baby girl upset, but you do it for me anyway.
3. Thank you for supporting the break downs
Some days I think I'm ugly. Other days I'm a terrible mum. Sometimes it's simply because I forgot to buy bread. When I'm tired and strung out, even the slightest little thing can send me over the edge. Thanks for just accepting this and trying to keep me sane. I'm sure you can't understand the feeling of uncontrollable mood swings while hormones are settling after having a baby, but you certainly try. You just accept that this is how it is sometimes and that it's your job to support me through it. Thanks for not rolling your eyes or telling me I'm being ridiculous, even on the occasions when I clearly am.
4. Thank you for going to work
Thank you for leaving for little babies at home with me and heading back to work. It is always nice to have some breaks from little kids and get some grown-up conversation, but you work long hours and shifts in a hard job. You are potentially going to miss first steps and first words. You leave before they are awake and get home as they are heading to bed, and you do without a word of complaint. Thank you for letting me be the one who won't miss a thing.
5. Thank you for letting me sleep
On your days off work, you become 'on shift' at home. You're the one who is up in the middle of the night if a baby wakes. You're up in the morning doing the breakfast routine. You know how much it helps me to have just one night where I know that my sleep with be solid and if I want to, I can sleep in.
6. Thank you for not complaining
There is always so much to complain about. You could complain about the horrible dinners I cook. You could complain about working long hours to support us. The list could go on. Not one peep of a complaint escapes your mouth (although to be honest, you probably know it would be greeted with the full force of exhausted, cranky mummy if one did!).
7. Thank you for supporting me with the big decisions
When I wanted to stop breastfeeding, you stood by me without hesitation. We know what we want them to eat, we have our toilet training plan, we know what preschool they'll go to and what activities they do. You understand that these decisions are huge to me. I need to discuss them and work through them with you. You don't let those decisions sit on my shoulders and my shoulders alone. You are there whenever I need that support. You know that this parenting thing is a partnership and I shouldn't be making these decisions on my own.
8. Thank you for being a good dad
This is by far the most important thing for me. I need to know that my husband, my children's father, is a great dad. You are there for them whenever they need you. You change nappies, you sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star about 50 times every night. You take them to swimming lessons. You point your toes at ballet and make fairy arms. You wear lip gloss and play dolls. You are proud, so very proud, of being a dad to two little girls. I know that you would do anything for them. Seeing you with them gives me all those happy feelings.
9. Thank you for making me feel pretty
Having two babies has really taken its toll on my body. I bounced back after my first little girl, but my big, beautiful baby girl #2 left her mark. It was a shock to the system and it took a lot longer to feel welcoming to my new body. You however, never batted an eye. Although I would glare at you when you would try to make a move and would often respond with a "no chance", you would never shy away from a challenge. You always let me know that you thought I was still attractive in your cute little ways and it meant more to me that I would let on. It still does.
10. Thank you for not changing who you are
Two little girls later, a women who is no longer a carefree university student, a mortgage, a new job and shift work. But you have remained the same, joyous, loveable larrikin I met many, many years ago - a beautiful man who didn't change who is was, but grew into a father.