Real Men… Wear Pink Backpacks

I’m just coming off a giant vacation (not quite the vacation-from-hell, but pretty close to it at times), and I’m bone-weary exhausted.

Still, Sunday was Father’s Day and regardless of how mushy my brain is, I needed to write this. I needed to tell my husband, and all those dads out there, just how awesome they are. (And, frankly, I wrote a Mother’s Day post and it was only fair that Dads got their spot in the light too.)

Because, truthfully, I could not do this without my husband.

I couldn’t do the blog or the fiction writing or the homeschooling. I certainly couldn’t be the kind of mother I am, and the kind I want to be (which means lots of learning and unlearning, trying and failing), without him.

From the writing side… I could not do this without having a supportive, patient, and very understanding partner.

Let’s face it. Nothing about writing falls into the ‘get rich quick’ category (or even the constant, steady paycheck category).

Being a professional writer means I’m on a very long, slow road to success. And just to make things a little more challenging, I’m gonna do it while also raising two small kids. So, really, I’m talking an even longer process (decades, probably). Whatever money we invest in my learning and publishing company just goes into this never-ending black hole (at least that’s how it feels at times since I can never work enough these days to make money come out).

And through all this, my husband is right there.

Encouraging me in his silent way. Just standing there in support as every day I struggle and crawl closer to my dreams. Driving with me and spending a week in Oregon while I attended a Coast Workshop when I was eight months pregnant with Kate. Keeping our kids happy and somehow not crying so I can sneak in my 30 minutes of writing.

He understands that we’re working the long-tail of writing and publishing and he’s not only cool with it, he’s supportive.

And even more than that, he wants me to succeed.

He never questions my burning desire to fit in any workshops I can… though he does provide a soft reality check after my excitement dies down and asks, “Are you sure you can handle this? Right now?”

(In most cases the answer is no. But still, he lets me come to that realization on my own instead of just saying ‘no’ and me getting all grumpy and resentful.)

And probably, most important of all, he understands how important writing is to me. How it’s a core part of my being and I’m only at my happiest when I’m writing.

It’s never been a question of “the writing or me,” which is why we’re even together and sharing this life and a family in the first place. Still, I know other writers aren’t as lucky. I certainly know how difficult it is to try and parent and write and still somehow maintain this all-important partnership.

But in all honesty, I could not be the mother I am without an equally supportive husband.

Saying ‘thank you’ just isn’t enough. And I know it’s something he doesn’t hear enough of, especially when it’s so easy to overlook the support staff role he plays in our daily lives. How after working all day he gets home in time to help the (often) bedtime battles, finish dinner and then afterwards, the endless cleanup of dishes ­(because, truly, how many dishes can a toddler and baby dirty?? The answer: A LOT.)

He does this all without complaint.

He’ll bring me the baby at 3:00 in the morning because I’m so tired I can’t move.

He’ll bring me much needed chocolate on my hardest days without judgment, only understanding.

He’ll be my rock and my comfort because dear lord, I need that most of all.

And he’s not the only dad making these little silent sacrifices. He’s not the only dad putting his family before his own dreams and goals.

Being a mom is hard and wonderful and so filled with both frustrations and joy, but I know it’s no less true for dads as well.

I do my best to remember and tell him just how much he means to me.

I do my best to simply say, “Thank you.”

I couldn’t be more fortunate to have him as a husband and a father. Someone who, I know for a fact, isn’t afraid of wearing a baby in public.

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Or wearing a pink backpack.

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Because, that’s what Real Men do.

Excuse me, Real Dads.

 

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