Dear husband: You often get the worst of me, but I still love you first

Because motherhood can sometimes be this all-consuming thing that leaves me with next to nothing left to give anyone else.

Dear husband: You often get the worst of me, but I still love you first

Sometimes I feel like you must walk in the door and not even recognize me.

By the time you get home after a long day, sometimes I’m just so frustrated. Sometimes our daughter didn’t listen, or hits me, or screams for minutes on end that feel like years. Sometimes I don’t get the one thing done I needed to that day. Sometimes I have looming deadlines for work, but nap time didn’t happen which means I’m now staring down an evening filled with work and not the relaxation I need. Sometimes I’m so filled with frustration that I feel like I could burst into flames if I don’t let it out, and you become my unwitting target.

Does this sound familiar?

You come home after a long day of providing for our family to find me, exhausted and scowling, shoving a whining toddler into your arms. Before you can even ask how my day went, I’ve launched into the litany of how your (because she’s always yours at this point) daughter tortured me or the messes I’ve had to clean (and re-clean) or the work I’m behind on and need to do as soon as she goes down for the night.

Once she’s finally (finally!) asleep, you find me curled on the couch, staring blankly at the television or resting my eyes for a minute. You try to snuggle in next to me, and I jerk away. “I’m sorry, I just need one minute where no one is touching me,” I explain through exasperated breath.

Or how about this?

Before you’re even home, you sweetly call to see how we’re doing in the afternoon. But what you don’t know is that I’ve just engaged in a 20-minute standoff over picking up toys, and my patience is nearly gone. “What?” I huff as I answer the phone. “I’m a little busy right now, can we talk about this later?”

You try to check in on our weekend plans or what’s for dinner, and I snap. “I can’t even think about dinner right now. I’ll figure it out.” And then I have to go because our daughter is crying about putting on her fourth different princess dress of the day or because I won’t let her play with the letter opener she found in the desk.

As much as I don’t like it, you often get the worst of me. The leftover bits devoid of joy and warmth because, quite simply, all my patience and willpower has been used up by the time you get home. Or because motherhood can sometimes be this all-consuming thing that leaves me with next to nothing left to give anyone else.

This season of life, while so rich and flourishing in some ways, seems to be a cold winter for you and me. But you will always be the one I loved first.

So I want you to know:

I still love you first. I firmly believe that the best thing we can do for our daughter is continue to love each other and put each other first. Not only will it give her a sense of security that will shape the person she becomes, but it will also teach her the standard she should have for her own relationships—one of mutual love and respect that will bring her lasting joy.

So I will work harder to leave that reserve of love and patience for you, no matter how the rest of my day has gone.

I still love you first. By the time you get home, sometimes my affection feels so spent. I’ve kissed and cuddled and soothed and snuggled for literally hours, and sometimes I just feel overly touched, desperate for a few moments without human contact. But I beg you: Don’t give up on me. Because I need you in so many ways, including your affection, touch and kisses, too.

Give me a few minutes to decompress, and I promise I will always open up again.

I still love you first. I read once that willpower is a finite resource in humans. By the time you get home, my patience has often been maxed out. I’ve navigated tantrums and not listening and lots of sass for so long without cracking or losing my temper, sometimes you feel like a safe space to snap—even just a little bit.

As a result, you get the sarcastic remarks and the blowouts. I have no good excuses (and I’m not in the least bit proud of it). So I ask you for patience—to love me first the same way and give me the grace I sometimes forget to give myself.

(And maybe it’s time to schedule that weekend away together, so we both get a break?)

I still love you first. I know I take the world on my shoulders sometimes, but please know that I would never want to do all this without you. You are our moon and stars, and this family would not be complete without you.

Watching you become the man and father you are today—watching our family become what it is—has been incredible to witness, and I’m so happy I get to do life with you by my side.

So though you don’t always get the best of me, I hope you always remember: You loved me first, too.

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With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

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Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

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Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


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Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

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