By Anita Doberman: Columnist
When I speak, and often when I write, my husband “gracefully” watches our five children, ranging in age from 6 years to 5 months old. The kids’ ages make it difficult for anyone to baby-sit, let alone for a man, my husband, to handle them for long stretches of time.
When he is not away, which is not so often, he makes an effort to help out as much as possible.
He watches our children while “I pursue my interests,” as he likes to say, explaining that a happy mom means a happy home, so he is glad to step in. He usually does a good job playing with the kids and handling them for a few hours, after which I find him with earplugs in, walking aimlessly around the house trying to stop the baby from crying. He hands her to me as soon as I walk in the door with an expression that needs no explanations, but requires me to quickly transform into my role as mom.
Last weekend I had a speaking engagement, and traveled a couple of hours away from home, so I was gone for half the day. I insisted we should have our baby-sitter help out for at least two hours to give him a hand, but he told me it would fine.
When I got back home I was excited to tell him all about my day, and I immediately plunged into my tale about the place, the people and the hotel decor. A few minutes into the conversation, I noticed that even though he was trying to be interested, he couldn’t keep his eyes open.
Was he bored? He told me he was tired and decided to take a 5-minute power nap – something he never does. I jumped to the conclusion that not only was he bored but worse — resentful of the time spent watching the kids.
While thinking this, I noticed the house was clean, the dishes done and all of our children were well dressed (well, at least dressed). I realized how hard it must have been for my husband to handle the day and how he must have tried to show me his support by being a full-time dad and getting the house ready while I was gone.
I had interpreted his being tired for boredom, and jumped to the conclusion we should have gotten the baby-sitter because he was clearly annoyed at having watched the kids. Both were incorrect assumptions.
I had a thought and ran with it in the wrong direction. Literally 5 minutes after my husband’s power nap, I told him how appreciative I was of all he does for me and how amazing the house looked.
As my mom always tells me, it’s all about how we see things. Our attitude determines our thoughts and consequently our emotional response. While with my husband it was easier than with strangers or people who seem to get in our way, I am going to look at the bright side of things as much as I can.
In the next few days I have to go the Department of Motor Vehicles.
There, the power of positive thinking will truly be tested.