Freshly cooked family meals? Tick.
Baby bath time? Tick.
Shopping lists and supermarket specials? You betcha.
I suck as a Mum. True story.
I forget to make sure there’s enough food in the fridge or that school term stuff is due and that Kinderloop App? Don’t even know the login.
And please don’t ask me to remember other parents’ names.
But it’s ALL GOOD because I’ve got a mum-like person who can help with it all – and actually loves this shit to bits.
His name is husband.
I prefer to keep things together on a ‘bigger picture’ scale. Less of the day-to-day and more of the weigh-to-weigh.
There’s heaps of stuff he hates that I adore.
Like running a business, securing finances for the future without working til the day we die, creating more of a work-life family balance, researching lifestyle choices for now and in the future (“How much sugar’s in this yoghurt?!”), having nice but necessary things and organising outings with good friends and family plus creating community connections (that doesn’t involve lingering in aisle 2 of Woolies).
It’s all about acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses I guess. And BEING OKAY with that. And being okay that society will judge you sometimes for that.
I was chatting to a well-respected Sydney couples’ counsellor recently and I asked her, in all the her years of listening to couples’ issues, what was the key to making things last without wanting to get arrested for murdering your other half?
“Every day say thank you for one thing – no matter how small that thing is.”
“And actually mean it, I guess?” I asked
“Erm, yes,” she replied with an awkward smile.
“I know a Sydney couple who have been together for over 60 years and til this day he still says ‘thank you’ when his wife hands him his nightly cup of tea and toast – even if he doesn’t think she makes the tastiest tea or toast.”
It’s all in the gesture.
“Always find something to be thankful for.”
And there was one more secret to long lasting relationship success (with sex – we’ve got to sell this stuff to the husbands after all).
“Always ask how each other ‘How’s your day been?’ and actually listen to the answer.”
“Listening to what we say to each other – regardless of how insignificant it seems or busy you are – is so important.”
“It’s so easy to fall into bad habits in a relationship but the more you do it – even if at first it seems silly – the more it becomes naturally a habit.”
I know of friends who have enforced a ‘no mobiles or laptops in the bedroom’ rule or allowing only ‘one hour of power’ each evening before it’s lights out on all digital devices. How romantic.
So taking a few minutes a day to say thanks and listen to eachother – that’s the key?
To hell with you Hollywood – I demand a disclaimer.
Being a proud working woman with a hint of fempower in my blood – if feminism means equal opportunities, you could wrap it in a burka, paint lipstick on it and throw on a pair of soccer boots and I’ll support whatever the hell it looks like – raised in staunch Catholic Ireland in the 80s, I genuinely get tongue tied to when it comes to saying thanks.
It’s not so hard on those commercial celebrations when we’ve been given permission to – such as Valentine’s or Father’s Day – but on any other day, it would probably be easier to get money from Trump Towers towards Mexican Indigenous rights groups.
I went to the local flower shop to do some reverse role soul searching and attempted to source the most masculine bunch you could find. I didn’t have much luck and instead insisted on some black ribbon from the chuckling checkout chick. (I’m sure she thought they were for my gay friend. If only gay males existed in Wollongong!)
What about the complimentary gift card? There were what looked like 1000 options and designs but not one that looked suitable for a bloke. Oh well, best go with the ‘this card has no message’ option. How personalised!
Then some chocolates. Easy. Or not. There all so gurly. Oh well, best get the ones that I’ll enjoy. Sharing is caring, after all.
I chickened out a bit and made them from my daughter and me – to ‘thank him’ for all the little but important things, from ensuring we don’t die from starvation to getting trapped in the house from garden weeds gone wild.
To say he was surprised and confused would be an understatement. If I told you I didn’t get judged from others I showed them to or told I’d be lying.
But they made him happy, which made me happy.
Plus I got another wonderful dinner and some good lovin’ that night.
Best $10 I ever spent.
A guest post written for Gladys Mack by Susie Fagan. Mum, Marketing, Media & Communications Specialist and an all round good gal. x