The Gap My Wife Left

My wife, Mel, spent the last five days running a youth camp for young women. It was put on by our church. This is the busiest time of the year at my job. I couldn’t get time off, but Mel wanted to help with the camp, so my in laws came from out of town to care for our three kids while I was at work.

A couple days into Mel being gone, I was standing in my kitchen, chatting with my mother in law. She mentioned how tired she was from taking care of our children. “I’m getting older,” she said. “It’s getting pretty difficult to keep up with little kids.”

She laughed, and as she did, my father in law was on the sofa, his arms sprawled out, head back looking at the ceiling. He was tired, too. I was tired from working long hours, sure. But I was also tired from coming home and wrangling the kids into bed, like I always did, only to I take on the nights myself. None of our kids are great sleepers. But Mel and I are good about taking turns getting up, and having to do it all myself was taking it’s toll.

I looked at my in laws, and thought about the long night ahead of me, and the long day ahead of them, and realized that it took three people to fill the gap while my wife was away. And even with my in laws and myself working as a team, we were all beat.

But let’s really think about what we were trying to do. Taking care of a home is actually a collection of a million full-time jobs. A stay at home mom is a housekeeper, disciplinarian, teacher, nurse, chauffeur, comforter, cook, school volunteer, neighborhood caregiver, and more.

I don’t want this post to be about gender roles or house work distribution. What I want to be about is admiration.

Because the fact that it took three of us to fill the gap, says a lot about my wife’s contributions to our family. Not that what she does isn’t noticed. It is. I thank her daily for all that she does. And when I’m home, I’m pitching in.

Its just that, sometimes, when someone isn’t around for a bit, you fully realize how much they do. You can clearly see their contributions.

Mel, like all mothers, is an amazing, hardworking, person.

When Mel got home from camp, I was so happy. Not to say that I couldn’t make it with out her. I’m sure I could. But I wouldn’t want to. And I give mad props to all the single parents out there, because you are remarkable.

But the fact is, mothers are the frame. They are the gears and the grease. Sometimes they are the motor, and sometimes they are the gasoline. It just depends on what needs to be done.

I am grateful to have a mother and a wife working at my side.


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