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My dear husband,

Hi, you. I love you. You're great. Seriously. I appreciate how strong you've been through all of this, how you're always looking out for our family, and most of all, how much time you've been spending with our kiddo, playing with her and watching over her and trying to get her to watch something vaguely educational on YouTube.

I appreciate how hard you're trying. Your loving attention shows our child that even with all the changes caused by coronavirus—the self-quarantining and social distancing and school closures—you've got her back, and just as important, it's still okay to have fun.

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But oh. my. goodness. My dude. You are kind of driving me crazy right now.

I know this is partly me. It's just hard being on top of each other all the time… and not in a sexytime way, more like in a sardine-can way. I just need some space—physical and emotional space.

I know you do too.

Space helps us both breathe, stay calm and think before we speak or react. Sadly, space is a luxury that not many families, our own included, can claim right now.

Another thing that's hard? Being so needed, so much, from so many different directions. I mean, you get used to a certain amount of that, being a mama—being needed is basically the job description. But I'm working hard to split myself into pieces right now so that everything and everyone who needs me can have an appropriately-sized chunk: Our kid, you, our safety and health, my job, our family and friends, and all the new responsibilities that landed on American parents this week like an anvil out of the sky with 75% of schools closed.

(Oh, and the news. The news would like to consume me whole. It's greedy like that.)

And all this while I'm grappling with my own coronavirus-related anxieties and fears—are we going to be okay? How can I make this okay? If I can't make this okay, then how can I make myself be okay with not being okay?

It's hard. I need something to need me less. I know it's not fair that I'm hoping it can be you.

Because as much attention as you're showing our daughter, you seem to need...um, how can I put this? Instructions and help and input on some pretty basic things?

Remember yesterday when you offered to make everybody lunch while I finally answered some overdue work emails, and then you spent the next 20 minutes yelling questions out of the kitchen like, "Where's the peanut butter?", "Where's the mayo?", "Where's the lettuce?", "What should I make?"

You realize—right?—that these are all variations on the question What's in the fridge that I am literally standing right in front of?

This is a small thing, I know. And it's a funny thing. It really doesn't even bother me that much. But it is a sign of a larger thing, which is that we absolutely have to commit to trying to share responsibilities as evenly as we can—now more than ever—so that we're really helping each other and being good partners.

Anticipating issues. Solving problems on our own. Thinking around corners. You know that "mental load of motherhood" thing I keep talking about? Yeah. This is that. Don't interrupt my two precious minutes of stolen work time to make me tell you where the peanut butter is. Just please don't.

As painful as this is to admit, there's something else, too.

Sometimes I just do not feel strong enough to carry all of us through this. In those moments, if I don't feel heard and seen, if it doesn't feel like you're sensing my fear and worry and stepping up—arms out and open, to pick us all up and carry us for a while—I get angry, resentful, mean.

I am expecting as much of you as you are expecting of me. Sometimes we're going to miss opportunities to show one another that we have each other's back. That's just how it is. But man, right now, when it happens...it makes me so mad at you.

In a way, I guess, I'm also mad at me.

But you're the closest person to me. And I hope you always will be. Even when you drive me crazy.

I love you, honey. I'm pissed off and freaked out and mad and scared, but I do love you. Even when I'm mad at you. So let's do this. Together.

Oh, and by the way—the peanut butter is in the cupboard on the right-hand side. 😉


[Editor's note: This story is a letter from a woman to her husband. While this is one example of one type of relationship, we understand, appreciate and celebrate that relationships come in all forms and configurations.]

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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As mamas we want our babies to be safe, and that's what makes what happened to Glee actress Naya Rivera and her 4-year-old son Josey so heartbreaking.

On July 13, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department announced the 33-year-old mother's body was found at Lake Piru, five days after her son was found floating alone on a rented boat. According to Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub, Rivera's last action was to save her son.

"We know from speaking with her son that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point in her journey. It was at that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water," Ayub explained, adding that Rivera's son was wearing his life vest, but the adult life vest was left on the unanchored boat.

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Ayub says exactly what caused the drowning is still speculation but investigators believe the boat started drifting and that Rivera "mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat but not enough to save herself."

Our hearts are breaking for Josey and his dad right now. So much is unknown about what happened on Lake Piru but one thing is crystal clear: Naya Rivera has always loved her son with all her heart.

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