Dear Husband, The System is Breaking Down


Dear Husband,

Really, dude?

Remember when we talked about her starting Kindergarten and him starting preschool, and how mornings would now take the two of us? How starting your own business was giving us more time as a family? I vividly recall our extensive conversations about how this year’s daily rituals would go down. My slightly obsessive personality had it all laid out and timed to perfection. Ok, that’s a bit much, but you get it!

I know you are new to the game, but listen; forgetting the backpack on day one is just not how we roll. The second time you forgot the backpack I laughed in order to keep a sarcastic comment to myself, but I could see the system was clearly breaking down. I love you, I do, but when you sent our three-year-old to school without breakfast, I honestly thought I might lose it.

Seriously, you didn’t feed the kid.

Our preschool is nothing short of amazing. With one text, his teacher who laughed a lot (which is why we are such good friends), gave him a banana and cheese balls, the official preschool breakfast of champions! I however, was frustrated with the notion that you could actually forget to feed him breakfast. School duty had been my job until now and I was feeling a little like you weren’t trying.

You started your own business with the intention of being present more, but you didn’t appear to be trying very hard to follow any part of the system I had put together. For my sanity and maybe your safety, I thought about a Plan B. If I am not comfortable with this new morning routine (sans breakfast), I am prepared to take morning duty back. I played out this scenario — not because I don’t trust or love you — but because I needed “my system” to be in place. The system that gives me peace and helps me to know that we have given them everything possible to make their day great.

I picked him up that afternoon and are you brave enough to guess what my three-year-old son told me? What he remembered about the morning in which his Daddy forgot to feed him?

Before Daddy took him to school, they played cars.

Wait? What?

The mere fact that you forgot to feed him (insert eye roll for good measure), didn’t harm him one bit! Would his day have been better with breakfast? Maybe, but I am going with no. He wouldn’t have had his race. He wouldn’t have felt quite as much Daddy love.

My three-year-old’s profound answer changed the way I look at mornings.

No, this does not mean that you silly boys can play and skip breakfast. It does mean however, that you are doing this gig right. Maybe it’s different than my version, but it is really good and just as important. It means that sometimes a quick race followed by a muffin in the car set up our kids’ day better than a sit down breakfast.

It means you were right.

You know me well and you know my heart. You know that I struggle daily with the pull of mom guilt and I’m sorry if I excluded you before. I want to be at every drop off and every pick up. I want to chaperone every field trip. It is hard for me to let go of some of the responsibilities because they help me feel included. Doing these things helps me feel like I am still a part of something I can’t always be there for.

Thank you for showing me that you are good at these things too. Thank you for stepping up and showing me a different way. A way that helps our kids thrive. A way that allows us to both be involved and neither of us to feel excluded.

Will our son ever remember that you forgot to give him muffins one Thursday morning? Nope. Will he remember the hallway car races and the good morning kisses sent to Mommy? Absolutely. Will our daughter remember how hot the farm field trip in September was or that Mommy couldn’t be there that day? Nope. Will she remember how her daddy hid outside the barn and pretended to be a bull coming for the corn in which they were playing?