By the time you get home after your long day at work, I've reached my limit. My frustrations are at an all time high.
The youngest is probably on my hip and the toddler is no doubt screaming for me to help him do something. Most of the time they don't listen to me, they hit me and scream at me. It may be for a short period of time, but it feels like an eternity.
Most days I don't get that ONE thing done I needed to that day. I have work to do but naptime didn't happen today because they are both under the weather. So now instead of relaxing for the evening, I'm faced with work and catching up on household chores. Some days I feel like I could combust, and that's the only way I'll relieve the tension and frustration built up in my bones. And you walk in, an unwilling punching bag.
Does this ring a bell?
You come home after a long crappy day of earning for our family, to find me utterly exhausted and no doubt a scowl on my face. I shove two whiny toddlers your direction and before you can even ask how my day was I've gone and given you the low down on how the kids tortured me, didn't eat any food, destroyed the house and all of the work I've still to do.
When you finally get them both to sleep, you sink into the couch, shattered, eyelids getting heavier by the minute. You feel someone encroaching in your personal space for a cuddle and automatically you blurt out "Can I have 5 minutes without anyone touching me please?"
Or how about this?
Before you're even home you call us during the afternoon to see how we all are. But what you don't know is that I've just spent the past 10 minutes arguing with the toddler about jumping on the couch and my patience is at rock bottom. "What?" I bark as I answer the phone. "I'm busy, can we talk about this later?"
As much as I don't like it, you often get the worst of me. The leftover bits devoid of any joy and warmth because, quite simply, all of my patience and willpower had been exasperated by the time you get home. Motherhood can sometimes be this all-consuming thing that leaves me with next to nothing to give to anyone else.
I want you to know:
I still love you. First. I strongly believe the best thing we can do for our children is to continue to love each other and put one another first. Not only does this provide a sense of security that will shape them to the people they'll become but it will teach them the standard they should have for their own relationships in the future - one of mutual love and respect that will bring them lasting joy.
I will work harder to leave that reserve of love and patience for you, no matter how my day has gone.
By the time you get home I've kissed and cuddled my affection away. I've soothed woes and snuggled frustrations. You can see why I might be allergic to being touched for just a few moments. But please, don't give up on me. I need you in so many ways. That includes your kisses and cuddles, too.
Give me a few minutes to decompress, I'll always open up again.
I still love you. FIRST.
My resource pool of patience has been drained. I've managed to stay calm all day, not crack under the pressure of dealing with two threenagers who have inherited their mother's strong-will and stubbornness. You're my safe place, my harbour, and that's why you're on the receiving end of my sarcastic comments and snappy blowouts. I have no good excuses and I'm not proud of it.
So what am I asking for? Patience. To love me. FIRST. To give me the grace I sometimes forget to give myself. We could really do with a breakaway, couldn't we? Without a toddler dividing us in our bed.
I take the world on my shoulders daily and never ask for help. When you help you don't do it the way I like, so I take over. I'm unbearable to live with at times. But don't forget, I would never in a million years want to do this without you. You are our hero, and our family would not be complete without you.
Watching you grow to become the father and man you are today, and how you've changed since we first met eight years ago, has been incredible. I am so happy I get to do this life thing with you.
So though you don't always get the best of me, always remember, you loved me FIRST, too.