If I could write a letter to my husband, here’s what it would say:
You’re an incredible father and a wonderful man. Whatever you do, you give it your best. And it’s hard not to like the person that you are. “Such a great guy!” is what I’ve always heard people say about you. But to be brutally honest, I have reached my limit.
There are times when I can’t help but sigh. I know that you’ve noticed me burying my head in my hands. You’ve seen me sitting in the kitchen, expressionless, while I stare at the wall even though everyone is already done with dinner. Sometimes you try to ask me why I’m feeling like this or why I’m being so cranky. It’s a weeknight, we’re home, and everything should be just fine. And all I tell you is that I am exhausted, and it’s nothing major. Other times, I take my frustration out on something very small and inconsequential.
Whenever I snap at you, your first response is to usually back out and let me be by myself. Because truth be told, who is willing to take that kind of an attitude from their wife? Right? While all I do is sit in our room at the end of the day and just repeat myself, yet again: “It feels like I’m just going around, doing stuff all the time. If you were to deal with my work, day after day, at the speed at which I’m required to function, I don’t know what would happen. You would probably go crazy. I feel like no one even acknowledges how hard I work, every single day for our family.”
Every time that I have to say this again, I find a part of me just giving up. It’s because it gives me joy and pride to multitask and manage things for all of us. And so, when I say that I’ve reached my limit for everything that I’ve been doing so far, you have to know that things have really deteriorated.
And like every other time. You look at me cluelessly and pose the same old question, “What is it that I can do?”
My brain tells me to just accept your question at the surface level and immediately give you a list of things that you should accomplish in a week. However, when you ask me this, it only makes me angrier.
Because I am just so done with having to tell you what to do every time. I don’t like having to “order” you around all the time. I don’t enjoy acting like some entitled person.
Instead, here I am, giving you a direct response to your question.
“What can I do to help?” — ANYTHING.
If you wish to help, please do something, no matter how small the action may be. Do what you think should be done at the moment to make things less chaotic without asking me too many questions. If you find dirty utensils in the kitchen, don’t worry too much about doing them before I come home. Just go for it. I swear I will not get mad when I find the kitchen cleaner than I left it.
I know that I am not the only one facing this at home. My issues are the concerns of nearly every woman I know. So I want to take this chance to speak for each one of them and recommend the following things to all the well-meaning husbands like yourself who feel like they need some kind of instruction before they step in and help:
- If the clothes basket looks like it’s overloaded with dirty laundry, don’t be afraid to put the clothes in the washing machine without my permission.
- If there is some water splashed on the floor, wipe it so that someone walking across the room does not slip and fall.
- Pack the lunchboxes for our kids.
- Drive them to school.
- If you happen to notice that we might run out of milk soon, feel free to buy some of it on your way home instead of just saying that we are out of it and doing nothing about it.
- Water the wilting plants in our garden.
- Make the bed. Just any bed.
- Move the clothes from the washer and put them into the dryer in case you find them lying in the washer even though it’s been hours since they were washed.
- Take note of the kids’ school events.
- If you get a note from their teacher saying that a lot of children in third grade were found with lice in their hair, get the kids’ heads checked to make sure they don’t have lice.
- Take up the responsibility of making dinner at least once a week.
- If you see washed dishes lying in the dishwasher, put them in their respective place.
- Get the children birthday presents.
- Take out the garbage.
- Help the girls prepare their costumes for the upcoming dance performance.
- Make sure that our daughters clean their teeth before sleeping and go to bed immediately. Don’t just joke about it.
- Serve the kids dinner instead of simply asking me what we will be having tonight.
- Click photos of our girls and me without us having to always ask for them.
And in the end, the most precious thing that you could do without needing any permission is to say thanks. “Thank you, my wonderful wife, for managing everything and taking care of this family. I know it’s not an easy job, and I know that it gets to you every once in a while, but I respect and cherish all that you do for us. So I thank you for always making sure that our needs are met.”
The thought of having to tell you that I would like to feel acknowledged for my work is probably why I choose to not say anything at all most of the time or burst out at random things. And that is also why I decided to write this letter today.