Whole Parenting Family

Practicing Gratitude for My Husband


I’ve been thinking a lot about Thanksgiving and what it means. It helps that I have kids old enough to ask questions about it. Pilgrims, Native American Indians, turkeys, friends and family we are grateful for . . . Minnesota finally embracing the winter after a unseasonably warm fall. And then I think about my husband and what I’m thankful for with him.

Not what he doesn’t do quite right. 

Not what I wish he would think of.

Not what I wish he would remember.

Not that I want him to follow my instructions regarding the kids’ getting dressed to a T.

Not that these days we’re just hanging on to dear life with serious 18 month sleep regression (well, he only ever slept well for about 2 months after we stopped cosleeping, so let’s be honest–survival has been a bit of a way of life). 

Not just that all I want in life is dessert and have to battle my sugar deep deep wants. 

My conscious three steps for showing my gratitude:


1) Instead of asking him to do something for me, asking if I can do something for him.

I get lazy quickly. It’s a habit from three pregnancies riddled with throwing up the whole time. I ask the people around me to “just grab me quick” something or “run downstairs and get me” something else. I have to fight that habit. So instead of asking him to get me something to drink at night, I hoist out of bed and ask if I can get him anything while I’m getting myself my own dang water. It’s always a pleasant surprise to him. Ha.

2) Kiss before he leaves for work & when he comes in the door.

I’m semi-conscious when he leaves between 6 and 6:30. I’m sure I have dragon breath. Just a simple physical display of affection. And when he comes in the door, I’m usually cleaning up dinner and setting his plate in the toaster oven to warm up, or scooping him something from a pot on the stove, with at least one child miserable or on the little couch in the kitchen as a timeout from hitting//biting//screaming. We could easily not connect until well after 8pm (or the whack-a-mole game of kids popping up has desisted). Just a kiss! just a little moment to treasure my handsome man.

3) Tell the kids they have the best dad and that I have the best husband.

Say it, Nell, say it. They do. Even in his faults and failures. He’s the best dad in the world for them.

And when I listen to this song, I cry a little and think, oh my gosh, I got such a good one. I got such a wonderful man in my life. I didn’t miss out on him. I married the right man for me. I get to grow old alongside him. I get to be angry with him, talk it all out, and fall in love again. I get to see his face and his kindness in our children’s little visages. If I died tomorrow, we had these days together.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

wall art by my friend Kelly at Of Thistle & Thyme from whom I just ordered two gifts!



  1. Laura @ Mothering Spirit on November 25, 2015 at 7:14 am

    Oh goodness. You just nailed the reason I share bad habit #1. I never put two and two together to realize where that came from!! Of course I am back in that pathetic needy helllllppppp meeeeee place again right now, but this gives me new resolve to set it behind me at a later stage. Wonderful round up of ways to give thanks to our partners in parenting and life!!

    • Natural Mama Nell on November 25, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      I know–it’s so hard not to be this way!

  2. Megan on November 25, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    I love the posts you do about respecting and treating your spouse better. I too sometimes forget to show appropriate behavior at times. I sometimes ask my husband to tell me thank you for all I do every day as a stay at home mom because it can be SO hard. He responds with asking me to tell him thanks for supporting the family and all that entails. It’s too easy to forget that we all have it hard and we all need to be appreciated. You give great tips that I will (hopefully?!?) apply. Ha!

    • Natural Mama Nell on November 25, 2015 at 9:48 pm

      I’m hoping with you hahahah (for me, that is!!!). It’s the little things that make our marriages great.