Out of nowhere, I found
myself teary-eyed, totally unproductive and questioning my life, my choices and
my career. Despite being a blogger, I'm a pretty private person and it's hard for me to reach out to a friend
when I'm feeling the blues. Usually I just suck it up and assume I'm having an off
day or have been overtaken by a tidal wave of hormones.
I don't get depressed often, and when I do, it generally
passes quickly. But this week, it
didn't. I just couldn't shake it. Noticing this, my husband made sure to check
in with me a bit more often than normal during the day and made sure to pepper
me with encouragement and compliments.
Finally yesterday, I was able to talk to him about what was
going on in my head. It turned into a lengthy conversation with
him listening, encouraging me and reminding me of all the good things I had
accomplished rather than what I was focusing on: the things I didn't accomplish.
I left that conversation feeling much better. It wasn't that
all my problems were solved. But more importantly, I realized having a supportive spouse trumps any concerns I was having about
my life. I couldn't imagine not having my best friend and partner also be my
biggest supporter and cheerleader.
But I know that's not always the case, which reminds me just
how lucky I am. One of my best friends is a writer whose husband has never read
a word of her work. Another good friend's husband refers to parenting issues as
"her problem." And the list goes on.
Truthfully, every woman has to judge the supportiveness of
her spouse for herself. But if you ask me, here are 9 signs your man has got
your back. (And of course, the same goes in reverse.)
make $1 a year or a $100,000 a year, your career is not a
hobby. When someone refers to another's vocation as a hobby or makes comments
like, "How's that thing you've been working on?" it minimizes you and your work. Nobody asks a
man how his hobby is going when he leaves for work each day.
2. He's a partner in parenting
and doesn't assume Mom is the default parent.
A supportive spouse doesn't opt in to child rearing when it's convenient.
Parenting is not one parent's
job, nor is it the other parent's job. Parenting is, usually, a decision two
people made together. So while one parent's schedule might allow for them to
be with the kids more than the other, that shouldn't mean that parenting is his or her job by default. A supportive spouse doesn't opt in to child rearing
when it's convenient. They're engaged and involved, not just for the kid's
benefit, but to support their partner in parenting.
3. A supportive spouse
doesn't blame you when one of the kids is struggling.
It's stressful when
one of the kids is struggling in school or when you have a toddler that won't
eat or sleep. It's natural to want to find an answer or solution, but that
doesn't mean the problem is one parent's fault. Parenting choices should be made together and solved together.
4. A supportive spouse
sees when you need a break, from the kids, from work, from him!
gives it to you without comments like, "Why are you tired? You went to sleep at
10." Or, "What's so hard about being with kids all day?" Everybody needs a
break, moms included.
5. He supports you
pursuing outside interests that may not include him.
Life doesn't stop at motherhood and neither do a mother's interests. A supportive guy recognizes that and helps make it happen.
While rewarding, motherhood can be
constraining. Most moms I know, myself included, find it life-altering to spend
time with friends, see art or shows or get away for a few days. Life doesn't stop at motherhood
and neither do a mother's interests. A supportive guy recognizes that and helps
make it happen.
6. He does things that
you enjoy, even if he doesn't.
knows you do the same for him!
7. When you just need
someone to talk to, he listens rather than tells you why you're wrong.
know I personally sometimes want to talk about an issue I'm having. My husband
wants to offer solutions and fix the problem. I don't always want his
solutions. I usually just want a supportive ear. It took us a while, but now he
understands his job isn't always to fix stuff. Sometimes his job is to do what
my girlfriends do and listen.
8. He thinks ahead,
thinking of things he can do to make your life easier.
When I've spent a day juggling bickering kids
while making one meal after the next, nothing feels better than the hubs coming
home and saying, "I stopped at the market to pick up a few things I noticed we
9. A supportive spouse
doesn't sell you out in front of the
There's nothing worse than having just told the kids "no" and your
husband comes in and tells them the opposite. A supportive spouse supports your
parenting choice in front of the kids. If he disagrees, he should tell you in