Before we had children we were indestructible, we were everything together and the only thing we needed. Fabulous holidays filled with adventure, parties filled with laughter and evenings cuddled up on the sofa surrounded by quiet contentment. I remember the long late night phone calls filled with i loves yous and promises for our future. We would get married, buy a home and fill it with happy, beautiful children. We always pictured our life with children, it was something we both wanted but we didn't know then the reality of parenting. I didn't know the reality of motherhood.
I expected motherhood to be hard, I read all the books about sleepless nights and constant worry but the books never said what it would do to us. How it would test our strength and love for one another to limits I never knew. How parenting could make something that once felt indestructible feel like the most fragile thing in the world.
With each child my love for you has grown but so has the pressure on both of us. You have had the pressure of providing for this ever growing family and propping up an exhausted and fractious wife. You work all day but unlike before you don't come home to a cooked meal and cold beer but a screaming toddler and a snappy wife. The photos of dads playing football in the park with their children that we had seen in our minds never included the fact that your sons would fight each other over who held the ball first or the child that walked in dog poo causing me to lose my mind. In fact you never realised just how many things can make me lose my mind. The pressure of raising children has gotten to me and the carefree girl you fell in love with has gone to be replaced by a woman who can be in a mood for a whole day and night because you filled the dishwasher wrong.
The books never mentioned that I would change as a person, that my whole personality would change the minute a baby was placed in my arms. I wish we had been prepared for the nights that I would hate you furiously for not hearing the baby cry or the times you just asking how my day was could cause a waterfall of unexplained tears. That our once rampant sex life would be reduced to sex in the dark with my t-shirt still on because I hate my body so much or that there would come a time when I didn't find your jokes funny.
When we planned on starting a family we didn't plan on ending so much of our relationship, so much of the things that I thought made us strong. The thing is I also didn't prepare myself for just how strong you could be, when I didn't have the strength any more. I wasn't prepared for watching you love three tiny versions of us with the ferocity that you loved me or that those tiny versions of us would find your jokes hilarious. I read all the books but they never said how much more I could love you. You are the constant in our home when everything else is changing and scary, you are the one who holds our home together because my dear husband it is you that holds me together. I know that I am not the wife you married and sometimes it may seem that everything you do us wrong but in reality you are everything. Yes you leave your socks on the floor less than a foot away from the washing basket and yes you use a clean cup every time you make a coffee and those things will continue to instil rage in me however I also notice the other things that you do. I notice the cups of tea you make me in the morning when you are already running late for work and the times you reach for my hand while we watch tv. I want you to know that I appreciate those little things and I appreciate you. Parenting has changed you too and I know its not easy. There's no books or Facebook groups that you will join to share stories about irrational wives and hooligan children. You don't talk to your colleagues at work about changing 300 poo filled nappies or sitting up till 4am with a chicken poxy toddler. You just carry on propping me up and being the strength of our home.
So dear husband please know this, even when it seems like I don't love you at all or that you can get nothing right that you couldn't be more wrong. I love you more than ever and our children are blessed to have you. When I am moaning about the things you have done wrong they are not wrong and I am grateful, its just not my way and I am still struggling to deal with that. Thank you for still making crappy jokes and for pinching my ever growing backside but most of all thank you for sticking with us because lord knows this parenting lark isn't easy for either of us.