Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bragging Rights

I'd like to brag about my husband for a bit. He's on a plane to Germany, so he probably won't read this for at least a day or so. After picking up some more interesting gummy candies in Heidelberg, he'll check in to see how things are going at home, and he'll probably get a bit embarrassed. 

Sorry honey.

But I have a really great husband. 

Today was one of those days that just epitomized some of the great things about BestestHusband.
He got up before the rest of us to walk the dogs.
He put away dishes, helped get breakfast for the girls, and helped us all get out the door for swim lessons.
He was, as usual, an enthusiastic and encouraging component of swim lessons.
He ironed the laundry.
He carried a mini trampoline around the corner to a birthday party*.
He hung out with a bunch of 3 and 4 year old girls and their moms for a few hours.
He held someone else's baby for part of that time.
He read nap time stories.
He then went outside and moved dirt and rocks to make more improvements to the garden and yard while the rest of us napped. 
He did bath time for the girls.
He watched YouTube videos of Kriss Kross' "Jump Jump" with the girls.
He let the girls "help" him pack his suitcase.
And all along, he was funny, affectionate, and wonderful to all 3 of his girls (yes, including me). 

Thanks to a recent column in The Atlantic titled "Why Women Still Can't Have It All", the topic of work and family has come to the forefront again in the blogosphere and in my online mommy network. I'm happy to hear some people discussing the concept of FATHERS that are also making career sacrifices in order to have a happier home life. Because BestestHusband did this years ago, and continues to do it today. After college, he was recruited to join a firm doing very lucrative investment banking work. Very. Lucrative. But he looked around at the employees and saw that they had miserable marriages and family lives and said, "No thanks." He knew even then that he wanted a family someday, and would have to make sacrifices to have a happy home life. And the company that he's with now, the one with an extremely family-friendly culture and hosts summer outings to places that have bouncy houses and entertainers for the children, pays a lot less than other companies. Companies that don't provide paid paternity leave and an understanding and flexible schedule for parents who need it.

Of course I did that too. I purposely chose a career that was family friendly. And less lucrative than others that would make being a mother more difficult. That's what the so-called "Mommy Wars" want to discuss -  my sacrifices, and my forsaking of a graduate degree that I must do to care for our young children. But let's not forget all of the wonderful husbands out there who attempt superhuman balancing acts and make sacrifices for their families. Their efforts demand our recognition, too.

So here are some updated photos of the garden that BestestHusband has sacrificed his weekends to create:
BH moved a LOT of dirt and rocks to make this garden.

He had to remove a large shrub and move another cubic yard of dirt to add this extension to the garden. (Anne, these are your seedlings in this corner!)

Didn't he plant some gorgeous lettuce?

The tomatoes look lovely, too.

The spinach is spectacular.

Lots of spinach. Yum!

He planted TWO kinds of mint!

Zucchini blossoms!

He moved a lot of boulders to build this retaining wall.

Side view of the garden, including small boulders.

BH did pretty well in creating a garden out of an infertile slope.

Thankfully, the plants are helping to hide the boulder - the one that got away...
All in all, if he likes to move heavy things to get some exercise, I'm happy with the results. But it's yet another way that he invests his time and energy into taking care of the family. He could spend his weekend mornings on a single scull on the Charles River instead of letting his daughters "help" him in the garden. But he doesn't. He gives his time to us.

Anyone at The Atlantic want to write about that?

*A, hope you don't mind that we shared the trampoline...

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