The title of this blog sounds like the beginning to, “If you give a Mouse a Cookie.” And, to be fair, it’s not that far off.

All this talk about needing self-care, I suppose that means we’re supposed to also be kind of supportive or something when our significant other wants a little self-care, right? I mean, the nerve. But fine. (Am I communicating the eye roll that’s about to make my head fall off my neck here?)

There’s something about becoming a mom has really turned on the “dream killer” in me. Meaning, if my husband has a dream, I’m ready to kill it.

I encourage my husband to take time for himself. Ok, I TRY to encourage my husband to take time for himself. Usually, that means that he takes a really long and really early morning bike ride with a friend or gets together with some college friends for drinks. Like once a quarter. It’s a one-off and very rarely consistent outing.

So, when he picked up an actual hobby several months ago, I was excited for him. At least I thought.

“I want to take flying lessons,” he casually brought up at dinner one night, in between bites of some keto-friendly casserole where cauliflower was costuming as a delicious carb. I smiled that fake smile you make when your husband has just said something insane and you’re trying not to lose your cool because you’re in a public place and don’t want to be “that crazy wife.” Also when you’re eating cauliflower posing as something delicious.

I smiled. “Um, what?” I responded.

“It’s just… something I’ve always wanted to learn.” he continued. “MY ENTIRE LIFE.”

My heart sank. GREAT. Those were not the words I wanted to hear. Now I wasn’t just about to crush an idea, I was crushing his DREAM. LIFE GOAL. CHILDHOOD AMBITION. Perfect.

Why do they do this to us? Was I really just supposed to say, “Ok honey, you go for it. Have fun! Fly away!”

I just didn’t understand why my husband, the father of three very young children, the owner of a successful business, our sole financial supporter, my best friend and partner and, well you get it, wanted to get into a tin can powered by a propeller and a prayer for no other reason other than “he wanted to.”

This was an INSANE idea. Immediately, my head went to “how much fricking’ time is this going to take?” followed by “are you going to die?” and “what does this cost?” Because you KNOW there are going to be expensive “accessories” involved. What great hobby doesn’t involve expensive accessories? Also, where are all the passwords I need to know stored?

“We can fly to different places together!” he said with excitement. He was serious.

My eyes widened. Hell. No.

At which point it dawned on me. I didn’t have to actually understand any of this. I didn’t have to understand or even really appreciate his interest; I just had to support him.

I didn’t really have a choice. This was what I signed up for, supporting someone through “tough times” which also meant “tough decisions” which apparently also included “you really want to do something that I hate!”

So, I let him fly. I had no choice.

I didn’t get it, nor did I really want to, to be honest. But I just couldn’t say no. Not to one of the few things he had actually asked for, himself.

Why should you say “yes” to your partner when they pick a hobby you hate?

Self-care is about finding things that fulfill you but also about saying “yes” to the things that fulfill the people you love. This is one of those things that, although it has nothing to do with me, I will reap the significant benefit.

He came home from his first lesson in the middle of the week. The kids were asleep and I was tired having had to bathe the tree of them alone. The dishwasher was whirring quietly and I was working on my laptop.

He walked into the door with a look of glee in his eye, and the giddiness of a little boy. He was eager and attentive to me, hopeful and energized, quick to do tasks I needed him to do. But mostly he just looked happy. And I wanted to see that look on his face again. Also, truthfully, I wanted to be the one that had given it to him.

So give your spouse that cookie. Just be prepared that he’s going to want a plane to go with it.

Renata Musial

Renata is the founder and creator of Renewing Mom, an online community and series of in-person experiences that help moms stay connected to who they are as women and individuals. A recovering attorney, Renata lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband and three young kids.

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