“No worries mate, let’s go”.
“Icy pole Dad?”
“No worries, I’ll get one out of the freezer”.
“Dom, can you take the rubbish out please?”
“Later, I’m tired, I need a break”.
It’s a pretty standard set of conversations in my family home.
I have two kids under three and like all parents, want to do anything to make them happy. Yet when my wife asks me for help, or I’m tired after work, she’s sometimes put on the backburner.
Her tiredness doesn’t factor in my thoughts.
Her needs are at the back of the pile. After all, I have to look after my kids and then myself right? I’ve come to realise that it’s a flawed attitude. And attitude can be my downfall. I’m a naturally pessimistic person – not something I like to admit.
I get stressed easily. I get annoyed easily when I’m tired. I get grumpy easily.
My attitude can stink. And when it stinks, I don’t love my wife like I should.
It’s alarming at times, because my two-year-old son is like a sponge. If I’m getting grumpy at my wife because she’s asked me to do the dishes after a hard day’s work, he’s just standing there taking it all in. Taking in the grumpiness, the stinking attitude.
So, I’ve come to realise that the best thing I can do for my kids is not to give them everything they want, but to show them how much I love their mother.
There are numerous up sides to this.
Loving my wife forces me to self sacrifice for her.
This is beneficial not only to my wife and me, but our kids as it provides a real life example that the ultimate sign of love is not the tripe they see on Home and Away ads on TV, but a selflessness and an attitude of giving to others.
Loving my wife also provides a real life example to our kids of how to love; how to treat a spouse; how to respect another human.
By loving my wife, I can provide a demonstration to our children that will hopefully contribute to the criteria they adopt in terms of selecting the type of person they choose to date, and ultimately, the type of person they choose to marry.
As hard as it is to change an attitude that has been set in stone for over 30 years, actively loving my wife forces me to be more optimistic, more hopeful and probably more pleasant.
I’m by no means a perfect lover, but it’s clear to me that the best thing a dad can do for his kids (and his wife) is to love their mother unconditionally and openly.