Hi! I’m Ashleigh’s husband, Doug. I am not a writer by nature, and this is my first blog post, but I’m excited about the subject. For Valentine’s Day, Ashleigh wanted to try a collaborative piece. The topic we (mostly she) decided was the things we appreciate about each other, as parenting partners. We thought it would be better if each perspective was broken-up, a two-part posting. This way each of us could identify the characteristics, actions and personality traits that meant the most to us. For those who haven’t seen Ashleigh’s post, you can find it here. For those that still willing to hear my side of the story, here are some of the ways Ashleigh has and continues to impress me.
As a father, I’m grateful for the affection and special connection a mother seems to have. Often I’m distracted, exhausted or just fed-up with a troublesome child and Ashleigh will swoop in with open arms (a welcome reprieve after a long a hard work day or long night). While some may see this as a typical example of teamwork and cooperative parenting, but she is just as (if not more) distracted, exhausted and fed-up. She is constantly willing to sacrifice herself to ensure our children receive the love and care they need (or simply want). I’m not sure if they sense this “perfect love” or remember the “quality” time they’ve spent with her, but they always respond to her touch. Whether in pain, hungry, or tired they find solace in their mother’s arms. And I am grateful that she is willing to love like this and doesn’t expect the same from me.
I have been told several times that children are highly impressionable; often described as “sponges based” due to the amount they absorb and take in. As such, I’m grateful for Ashleigh’s experience and passion for teaching. As they read, eat and even play she finds a way to impart knowledge to our young students. But more than simply teach, she makes it so exciting they can’t help but enjoy their lessons. I am so impressed (and grateful) with the time, effort, and creativity she commits to our children’s future success.
Some may see this as a stereotypical trait of the female gender, but I believe her multi-tasking would impress most woman. How many people can handle two cranky toddlers (and a dog) running around the kitchen preparing food for the whole family? And she does this daily! I have a hard enough time entertaining one child as I’m changing the other’s diaper. Let alone a dog, “hangry” babies (combo of hungry and angry), all while cooking. Her multi-tasking nature extends into her thought capacity. While mothering she’s thinking of me, this blog and developing several other projects. If I were to mentally juggle so many things I would lose the ability to sleep at night.
While this relates to the first characteristic I noted (maternal nature), I felt it necessary to address this separately. While mothers deeply care for and are connected to their children, I am struck at the spans of Ashleigh’s concern. No matter the time, place or state she is in the babies are always on her mind. She is always loving on, worrying about, and considering what’s best for them. No matter the time, place or activity if her babies need her, she is there. This concern has been demonstrated in so many ways – but for the sake of illustration – one such moment comes to mind: I was downstairs playing with the babies while Ashleigh took a short rest. Our daughter, who had climbed on the couch proceeded to jump off. While uninjured (thankfully), she made quite the bang. At which point Ashleigh jumped out of bed and came running down the stair to ensure her babies were ok. How she heard the bang, knew it was a baby, was now wide awake and running down the stairs was beyond me. She was so concerned for the well-being of our daughter her sleep and safety were second-priority.
Ashleigh has always understood and accepted responsibility. This maturity has greatly benefitted our marriage and parenthood. I always know that Ashleigh is giving us (her family) her best and will continue to uphold all that has been asked of her. This gives me the peace of mind to work outside-of-home, knowing the babies are in good hands and are cared for. Ashleigh also understands the responsibility of limitations. She must know the importance of help, when it’s needed and when it’s available. She has learned to plan her objectives and activities, based on this information. This responsibility has and continues to save us stress, exhaustion and disappointment.
It never ceases to amaze me how a woman with so little sleep, a hectic non-stop schedule and sparse moments of relaxation can make it look so good. I’m wowed by her ability to survive, in the midst of such pressure and high demands. But more than just survival, in the midst of her maternal-marathon her beauty is not diminished; I find my attraction growing, with my respect and appreciation. She is one of the few women who could walk the runway with a child on both hips; a diaper bag slung over the shoulder while running on the proverbial “fumes” and manage to steal the show!
While there are more aspects to Ashleigh’s parenting that I appreciate or simply find impressive, the final one I recognise now is her JOY! Every morning she is happy to hold and snuggle them, every time they giggle or dance she beams, when they make funny noises she laughs; even when their falling over, smearing food all over their face or struggling in some capacity she just sees her adorable babies. That Joy is infectious and a
I am the first to admit this list of characteristics, actions and attributes are very personal. But I hope it encouraged, helped clarify and challenged you. Hopefully, it encouraged those who see themselves in the characteristics I gave or helped you understand your partners’ contribution. Brought clarity to how differences in you parenting partner can be very beneficial and provide a greater expression of love to your children. I hope it challenged you to just “ be yourself ” as you parent and find every opportunity to show your partner they are appreciated.