Husband’s Response When Wife Says “Haven’t Had A Chance To Cook Our Dinner Yet, Sorry.”

Story by Klara Donovan

He works long hours. He drives for 45 minutes to get home. He’s exhausted. His brain has been stretched to its limits. He’s sweaty and hungry. He walks in the door to the symphony of our son’s exuberant greetings. “Daddy’s home! Hi Daddy! Daddy, today we went to the park! Can you build lego with me?”

His eyes land on me. “Hey,” I greet him with a tired smile. I follow him across the kids’ play area, explaining as we trip over Hot Wheels cars and My Little Ponies, “I did tidy it this afternoon, I swear.” I chase him into the kitchen, waving at the piles of colourful plastic plates and sippy cups, “This kitchen was spotless after breakfast, not that you can tell.”

He glances at the oven tray bearing the oily outline of the crumbed fish I pulled out of the freezer and hurriedly baked for the kids, “The kids have eaten, but I haven’t had a chance to cook our dinner yet, sorry.” Right on cue, the baby cries out sharply in the background. I cringe, “She’s bathed and ready for bed, but I haven’t done her bottle yet.”

I sigh. “Sorry, it’s chaos here.” He looks into my eyes. He sees me. He sees the bright young thing he married, hidden somewhere under tired eyes and little grey streaks in her hair.

He sees the woman he supports and believes in, falling short of her own expectations. He lays his hands on my shoulders. And he says to me, “You’ve done so much today. I’m here now. What can I do?”

He sees me, and he knows I can’t do this all alone. He doesn’t believe for a second that I SHOULD do this all alone. He works long hours. He’s exhausted and sweaty and hungry. But the minute he walks in the door, he’s switched on.

He’d like to collapse on the couch and vortex on Instagram. But instead he warms the baby’s bottle and feeds it to her.

He’d like to sit back as the enticing smell of dinner cooking wafts through from the kitchen. But instead he jumps in there and starts chopping, grating and sauteeing, while I read books to our son.

He’d like to relax after dinner. But instead he picks up toys, even knowing that tomorrow they’ll be scattered all over the floor again.

He’d like to sleep through the night, uninterrupted, to buy himself enough energy for work the next day. But instead he murmurs, “I’ll go,” when the baby cries out at 2am because she’s teething, and I’ve already been up with her three times in the last couple of hours, and he knows I need rest just as much as he does.

He truly is my partner in this crazy season. The shortcomings that I see as personal failures, he sees as opportunities to step up. He fills in the gaps. He plays a unique and inherently important role. He never complains or begs out when it gets tough; instead he searches for ways to make it easier.

Most importantly, he owns it. He doesn’t look at it as him “helping” me. He believes that he’s simply fulfilling his role in our home.

I have strengths, and I have weaknesses. And he has strengths, and he has weaknesses. But mash our strengths and weaknesses together and you kind of get a mostly-functional, semi-chaotic but generally happy family home.

He works long hours. He walks in the door. And without missing a beat, he jumps straight into the trenches alongside me. Because he knows the most important role he plays each day is just getting started. 

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