I am sorry.
I’m sorry that you’ve been neglected for the last four-and-a-half years. I’m sorry that your needs are secondary. I assure you, you are still one of my top priorities – you just aren’t on the top of the list anymore.
I know that you have needs, wants, dreams, and desires. When I tell you that I want to be the one you lean on, I mean it. I know you are tired of my excuses of being tired, having a headache, or am already snoring when you snuggle up next to me. Trust me, I wish I had the energy I had five years ago. Hell, I wish I had the energy I had two weeks ago when I washed, folded, and actually put away all 10 loads of laundry. Of course, you didn’t see that because I was letting you get some much needed sleep.
I know that some days it feels like we have a business partnership. And you’re right. Some days – even weeks – feel that way. Know that I want better for our marriage, for us. Because together, we make a good team.
The problem is, my life, my brain, and my body are so wrapped up in being a mother to those little boys who look exactly like you. Even after they’re sound asleep and we’re sitting on the couch watching a movie, my brain is still in mother mode.
I’m thinking about tomorrow; I’m thinking about 10 years from now. I’m wondering if you have work clothes for tomorrow. I’m worried about money, milestones, and milk. Do we have enough milk? I can’t turn off being a mom. It is who I am now. And it is physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting.
I don’t want you to think you aren’t as important as you once were. I couldn’t live this life without you and I wouldn’t want to, either. But the simple fact is, you’re an adult and you can do things for yourself. You can vote, so you can make your own lunch. You are legally able to drive a car, so you can figure out how to make a doctor’s appointment.
When you come home from work you, unfortunately, are getting the worst version of me. I gave our children the best. A little secret: sometimes, some days, there just isn’t a best version of me. There just isn’t.
I can’t worry about your health, the boys’ health, the pets’ health, and my health. Who do you think gets ignored? It’s not you. It’s not our children or our pets. When I say I don’t feel well, when I say I haven’t been sleeping, it’s because I haven’t been taking care of me.
Yes, you tell me to go to the doctor, to eat better, to drink more water, but I am my very last priority. I know I need to change that and I’m not complaining. I’m explaining that when something has to give, because no one person can do it all, I am the thing that gives.
I’m worried about your sleep apnea, your allergies, your knee spasms. I am worried about the rash Alex has, and the snotty nose that Ben suddenly started with. I am concerned about our dog’s ears and what it’s going to cost to take her to the vet.
While I’m thinking about it, I’m worried that the fish have too much algae in their tank and the water needs to be changed. I’ll just add that to the never-ending list of things I will feel guilty about when I’m trying to sleep tonight. None of this is your fault. I’m not blaming you, or wishing you were any different.
You do extraordinary things for our family. You work harder than any person I know. You care more about everyone, including me, than any other human I have ever met. I love you a little more each time I see you help someone knowing you will never get anything in return. You are the kindest, most loving father to our children. There is a reason they cry when you leave for work. Yes, it stings a little but knowing that you are their role model in life fills me with love and pride.
I am not the person you married 11 years ago. I have changed and evolved into a wife, mother, friend, and keeper of all schedules. I am a party planner and a personal shopper. I am a chef specializing in chicken nuggets and pasta. I am a housekeeper who can’t keep a house. I am the cheerleader and the librarian. I am the night and the day nurse.
I wouldn’t change any of it. I don’t want any other life. I love you and I love the life that we created. But I am not the spontaneous, beer-drinking, sexy bad girl you met way back when. I am a mother. And it is all of me.
This article originally appeared at Parent.co. Published with permission.