By Nick Dinardo
Originally published on Thought Catalog,
Yesterday, my son woke up at five in the morning. As much as I want to wake up with him, sometimes it can be tough. On this particular morning, it was really tough. He screamed at the top of his lungs for his bottle. I picked him up, walked over to the fridge, grabbed a four ounce bottle, sat down on the couch, and started feeding my son.
As he chugged away at his meal, I started to think. I started to think about how we, as parents, are forced into these new routines…in service of our kids. I am ok with it; much more ok with it than I thought I would be. It becomes your normal – the way things are, and the way things will be.
But I became sad. I became a little bit angry. I wasn’t sure why, until one word kept popping up in my head.
My focus is so much on Benjamin and his routines…that I’ve lost focus on my wife. I promised her that this wouldn’t happen. We promised each other, in fact.
It’s deeper than a loss of focus. I still love her. I love her even more than I did before the kid. It’s about attention.
It’s about a focus on making her feel special. There are less surprises now that we’ve settled into our marriage, and settled into parenthood. I can’t remember the last time I bought her flowers, just because she deserves them.
Is there a way to be a great husband and a great parent?
I heard a great metaphor from memoir writer, Marion Roach Smith. It goes something like this (with some of my thoughts added in): Imagine there is a large pepperoni pizza in front of you. Let’s call it a pepperoni “attention” pie. Imagine that each member of your family gets an even slice of that pizza. Even the four month old.
The question to me is: does the attention pie get bigger when we add one person to the family? Or does each slice get smaller? Do we have an abundance mindset, or a scarcity mindset?
Here’s my answer: that all depends on ME. I control the attention that I give my wife. I can give the flower shop a call, and surprise her with flowers. And I will.
Don’t let yourself settle into the excuses. It’s ok to be budget conscious when it comes to your finances…but don’t do it with your marriage.
Not to mention, I’ll always take a bigger pepperoni pizza.