My hubs and I do not have an endangered marriage (thankfully). We get along pretty well and while we do have our arguments, after nearly 14 years together, I feel blessed that I still wake up every morning feeling like I won the lotto with him. In thinking about the article, however, the author's actions really stuck with me throughout the rest of the day.
Hubs and I have our stresses. We both work full time jobs. We have two kids with nightly homework. They also have ballet class two times a week, drum lessons, theatre class, and more baseball than I like to think about. We're constantly shuffling here or there (with a little help from my wonderful in-laws). Some days we might only see each other for about half an hour, and that's usually when we're trying to quickly eat something to head out the door or get to bed.
I thought it might be interesting to see what my own family responded when I asked them that question. I didn't just want to ask hubs, but to also ask my kids.
It's only been a few days but in those few days, I'm starting to see what the kids really feel is important - and my husband too.
On Monday night I asked them, individually, what I could do to make their days better. They were all a little unsure about my request and looked at me to see if I was serious. My son quietly asked if I would let him stay up ten minutes later. Daughter wanted an extra snack. Hubs asked if he could shower without being interrupted. (I should note: I'm usually sitting in the bathroom yakking at him about what's coming up the rest of the week, what we have to do, where we have to be, because that's pretty much the only private time we get to talk all week, lol). So all three happened without much ado.
Tuesday I asked the same thing. My son wanted me to sort Pokemon cards with him and asked me to put them in order. (I won't even get into the structure of his Pokemon cards. His room is a disaster and he can't seem to remember how to put things away, but his Pokemon cards are organized like he's starting a professional card dealership.) My daughter wanted extra cuddles, and hubs - still unsure why I was asking this question again - just wanted me to get him a glass of tea when he ran out during his favorite tv show of the week: The Flash. Easy enough.
On Wednesday, I woke up feeling not so hot. This darn weather has a thousand bugs running around the schools and being brought home, but I hoped as the day went on I would perk up (thankfully, I did). I asked all three the same question that morning. Son wanted to go to Pokemon night at the library; daughter wanted to get extra books at the library, and hubs responded with, "Nothing - if you're not feeling good I will take the kids to Pokemon night." It's not abnormal for him to volunteer, but during the winter when his work days are extra long and extra hard, he's usually not overly excited to run another errand after work on top of the kid's usual activities, so his offer was pretty priceless.
Then yesterday rolled around. Daughter wanted me to play a game with her, and son wanted extra snuggles before bed (I'll take this while I can. Pretty soon, he'll be too cool to snuggle with his mom). And hubs wanted snuggles, too. Done, done, and done.
What I noticed about this week was that there was a lot less arguing in the house. Less of me trying to get the kids into bed; less begging them to get dressed in the morning. There was less tension, less whining from everyone. Anyone who is a parent knows the whining and struggle that comes along with getting kids in bed and getting them ready for school. It's an epic battle most days. It was pretty nice, actually, to have them bounce up and get ready. The kids fought with each other less, which was awesome in itself. I didn't hear a constant barrage of "MOM, HE TOOK MY BALLOON!" or "SHE IS IN MY ROOM!" They. Got. Along. Bonus!
I probably won't ask it every day, because hubs still thinks it is kind of corny, but I'm going to make a point to ask it more often. We get so busy in life that sometimes we forget to make the time for the things that the people we love value the most - from a quiet shower to a board game. Before I know it the kids will be grown and I'm going to miss having the opportunity to get extra snuggles before bedtime.
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!