My wife, Christi, is the sentimental one in our relationship. For my first Father’s Day, she had a hardcover book made with pictures of Landon and I together throughout his first year of life.
This Father’s Day, she topped it.
Here’s what she gave me this year:
- The sacrifice of choosing to be a stay-at-home mom, while struggling with the internal feelings of losing her identity in the process
- The decision a few months ago to lead our business part time, while still balancing mommy-hood
- The frustrations and weight of managing the budgets and finances both for our personal lives and business.
- Because of this she makes meal plans each week for our family (and does the cooking too, lest we eat pizza and cereal every night)
- And because of that, she does nearly all of the grocery shopping
- The exhaustion of dealing with the brunt of the toddler temper tantrums all day, every day
- Yet the opportunity for me to bath our son and enjoy the “fun stuff” with him nearly every night
- All the while carrying our next baby (and dealing with the first five months of “all-day sickness,” incessant trips to the bathroom throughout the night, heartburn, unpredictable hormones, and all of the other “gifts” pregnancy affords that I don’t have to deal with).
- A date night at least three times a month, on average.
- The privilege of having a best friend who encourages, affirms, and loves me for me
- But who loves me enough to not leave me that way
- And a wife who spends her morning with Jesus before dealing with me or our adorably unpredictable toddler
As I write this list, I feel an overwhelming sense of how much I take her for granted. All of this and she hasn't even given birth yet.
The crazy part is that these gifts don’t even scratch the surface of all she’s given me. I don’t know what it feels like to be a mom who:
- feels like she’s not doing all she can for her kids
- feels, at times, like a failure
- feels inadequate
- feels helpless with a screaming toddler (or a rebellious teenager)
- feels imperfect
- feels overwhelmed
- feels exhausted
“Thank you” seems trite.
Moms, I know it’s Father’s Day, but thank you for all you do investing in your children.
Whether you realize it or not, those long days, insecure feelings, and exhaustion are universal. They live in every home, every mother, everywhere.
And in spite of your imperfections, parenting mishaps, and questions of self-worth, it’s the unconditional love of your family that makes the world a better place.
What you do as a mom—is worth every second of it.
To dads, thank you for investing in your kids. Your presence matters more than you’ll ever know.
Working with juvenile delinquents for 15 years, I never met one who had a loving relationship with his/ her dad, prior to the delinquency. When dads and kids were reunited, radical changes began to happen.
I believe (and statistics support this) that fatherlessness is the single greatest cause of kids who live purposeless, unproductive, careless, or delinquent lives.
I think Bill Cosby said it best, “God has not made anything that I know of, that pays so much attention to who their father and mother is, as us.”
To loving, invested, and exhausted moms and dads everywhere, thank you! As an advocate for raising a generation of kids taught the value of loving better more than feeling better, YOU matter—more than anybody!
That’s because loving moms and dads produce loving families; loving families produce loving communities; and loving communities produce loving societies.
As Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.”
For all you do, dad, take time to enjoy Father’s Day. You deserve it.
- But may I add, after it’s over, begin writing a list of all your wife does, and is, for you and your kids—and share it with her. I think you’ll begin to realize quickly her gift to you goes beyond what you imagined. Please, don’t take her for granted.
- Wives, do the same for your husbands this week. Honor him this Father’s Day by thanking him for when he supports you, leads well, holds your hand, cleans up after dinner, disciplines the kids, rough houses with the kids, and gives you a break, even if it’s for a few minutes.
And to Christi—you are appreciated and loved more than I’ll ever be able to show you.
Join the conversation. I ‘d love to hear your stories, lists, and comments about your own journey.
Joshua Straub, Ph.D. is an advocate for families and parenting in the 21st century. He loves coming alongside families to provide encouragement, support and practical counsel. Josh specializes in combining the scientific research with biblical wisdom to provide the best-of-all-worlds perspective on raising stellar kids, having an awesome marriage and living a full life. He is the coauthor of God Attachment and The Quick Reference Guide to Counseling Teenagers. Together with his favorite writing partner and wife, Christi, Josh is working on raising his own baseball team, starting with their son Landon. For more encouragement and ideas on marriage and parenting in the 21st century you can join Josh and a growing tribe of awesome families at www.joshuastraub.com and follow him on Twitter @joshuastraub or Facebook.