In writing that, I admit that at one point, I did not like football season. (maybe hate is a strong word)
It goes like this…
First season of marriage (no kids), I loved football season.
Football season meant that every Sunday he watched football and I had a great excuse for a long extended nap on the couch. Quality time together, right?
Then we had a kid. And 3 years later, another kid. And this year, another kid.
And taking a nap during football was no longer an option… but watching football (for him) was still an option… if I would let him.
My husband played football in high school, and it was one of the most formative things in his life. He loves football. Watching, listening, playing… anything. I wanted him to watch the games and enjoy them. But there was this thing that would creep in every Sunday (and Saturday if you count college football) and steal away his enjoyment of it, and my level of enthusiasm in letting him.
It was called bitterness.
Bitterness at having to entertain the kids while he watched.
Although he would often offer to help, I felt obligated to say, “No, you can watch, go ahead.” *mumble grumble*
“I’ll watch the kids.” *mumble grumble*
Bitterness in seeing all that needed to be done around the house and thinking, “Doesn’t he see the laundry and the dishes and the… (whatever)… and he just sits there?”
Again, he would offer to help and I would say no thanks, with a smile on my face and a grumble in my heart.
Then this year, something changed. I can’t say what spurred it on, except for the small (but HUGE) realization…
He works all day. He invests in the lives of other people all day. He provides for his family, and then comes home to a family that needs him and his attention. He helps get the kids bathed, in bed and tucked. He spends hours on Saturday morning managing our finances. He spends other free time doing building projects for our home, or hanging Christmas lights, or mowing the grass, or washing cars, or…
Now, he gets to have lunch meetings when he’s at work, which I would consider “fun,” since going out to lunch with 3 small children isn’t exactly fun. He gets to have adult conversation, which I would consider fun, but he also has to deal with those adults on a regular basis. :-)
However, I get to do things that are fun for me during the day – work on crafts, do some freelance graphic design work, have a play date, take the kids to fun activities (work, but also play), have lunch with a girlfriend (even if there are 6 kids between us)… He doesn’t get to do that. He very rarely gets (or asks) to go play poker with the guys, or have hobbies, or have time to do something that he really wants to do. That’s just the nature of life with a busy job, a wife, a house (and rental properties) and 3 small kids.
When I realized that, my whole view on football changed. I began to view 3 hours of football as something that I could give to him, rather than something that I could use to harbor bitterness.
“Darcie, what if you could give your husband a gift, every week, that you knew he would love, that would refresh and recharge him (unless his team loses), and it wouldn’t cost you anything except a little time and the effort of playing with your own kids?”
So, I started looking up the times when the Dallas Cowboys played on Sundays. Noon game? Let’s make it home from church in time so he can watch, and I’ll take the kids outside to play. 7:30pm game? I’ll tuck the kids in so he can catch kickoff. Monday night game and we don’t have cable/satellite at home? Send him to a restaurant to watch.
How much does that cost me? Not much. How much is the return value? Worth every minute and snotty nose wiped.
Now, this is not to say that every once in a while, I don’t have a breakdown and say, “I just want help with the kids! Stop watching for just a minute!” Or that life doesn’t get in the way – the phone rings, someone stops by, kids have issues… That still happens, but I’d like to think that at least I’m getting better at asking for help instead of harboring bitterness.
So, wives, moms… I don’t write this to toot my own horn, but to ask, “What is your husband’s “football”?” What is it that he enjoys, but doesn’t get a chance to do because of job, kids, home maintenance, making-wife-happy-stuff? Is it poker, hunting, sports, woodworking, photography, chess, tinkering with an old ’54 Chevy… what is it?
Consider giving it as a gift to your hubby.
It changed my whole attitude and outlook, and I’m a much happier wife too.