The other day, my husband and I both had late night work events. I had the kids with me and dropped them off at my mom’s house. I called my husband after we were both done and on our respective ways home, and asked him to pick up some Chipotle for me. He said no because he said he was too tired to get out the car. He then asked if I wanted Wendy’s. I didn’t. I wanted Chipotle and knew they’d be closed by the time I got there.
So when I got home with the kids at 10 p.m. and he was sitting on the couch with his Wendy’s and no food for me, I lost it. In retrospect, it wasn’t that big of a deal but when you are exhausted from a long day and haven’t eaten for 7+ hours, being rational is not second nature.
I was pissed mainly because of how much I go out of my way to take care of everyone in the family. I pack my husband’s lunch and then put it in the car for him so he doesn’t forget it at home. I write love notes to every single person in my family—daily notes in my kids’ lunchboxes and a weekly note for my husband. I clean rooms and prepare dinner. I do it all. And this dude couldn’t be bothered to pick up some dinner for me from the same place he got his?
Of course, I have to remind myself that I don’t do this for the applause. I don’t cook dinner every night for the kids to rave over how delicious my spaghetti is. I don’t wash clothes for my kids to do cartwheels about my folding technique. I do what I do because I am their mother and I am his wife and that is how I get down.
But occasionally you do want to be acknowledged for how hard you work. You do want to feel like someone other than you notices your exhaustion at the end of the day and that it came from a whole day’s worth of ”Put that down. What do you want for lunch? Pick up your toys. Thank you! Eat your food. Put your shoes on.”
I know when I come across another mom, whether it’s a stranger at the park or a good friend who has just confided in me that she’s struggling with her kids, I try to toss some compliments her way. Because it’s hard. Motherhood is hard. We know this. We live it every day. And that little bit of appreciation, even if it comes from someone outside your house, does wonders.
On those days that I’m not feeling particularly appreciated (like the night with the Chipotle), my first instinct is to lash out. “Don’t you know how much I do for this family???” But trust and believe—they already know how much you do. Don’t go barking up that tree.
Instead, you must make your expectations clear. I expect my husband to care about my wellbeing as much as he cares about his. I expect my kids to treat me with the same respect and love I give to them. When those expectations aren’t met, well, then we have a problem and I do not hesitate to speak my mind about it.
As much as we give, ladies, we deserve to receive. We give, give, give and let our families get the best of us and feel like we can’t ask for anything in return. We can and we should. It is not too much to ask for a little appreciation, particularly if that appreciation helps us get through the day.
The lesson here? We have to speak up if we don’t feel appreciated. Let ‘em know. Speak up.