Dear Bradley,

I have been working on this letter to you for weeks.  I have always been good with words, and expressing how I am feeling.  Motherhood has taken that away from me in some ways.  In any moment, I am feeling ten different emotions.  Words don’t seem enough anymore.  But this feels important…this letter feels necessary.  You deserve to know what I am feeling, even if I don’t think this letter could ever come close to really expressing it.

You have always been an amazing partner to me.  Always.  Early in our relationship, you made it clear that your actions would always reflect how you felt for me.  I had never been with someone who so clearly valued and prioritized my happiness.  At times, it made me uncomfortable.  It made me feel selfish.  That’s the funny thing about being a mistreated woman.  You begin to actually believe that your joy can only exist at the expense of someone else.  You broke me of that type of thinking.  Thank goodness for that because what I didn’t know – what I couldn’t know – is how detrimental that type of thinking would be for me if I carried it into motherhood.

I always knew you would be a fantastic father.  Truthfully, it is one of the main reasons why I ultimately decided to have children.  We discussed not having kids.  We talked about other ways we could have fulfilling and satisfying lives.  We even planned for ways we could spoil our future nieces and nephews in the absence of our own children.  But after a year of marriage, after countless times seeing you interact with the children of our friends, I knew I wanted to grow and share this love that we have created.  So, the way my heart feels when you and Jefferson have Saturday morning talks does not surprise me.  You are showing our son that you love him during the good and the bad – during the sweet smiles and the epic meltdowns.  The way you share the responsibility will hopefully confirm for Jefferson that you want to spend time with him…something that most little boys want from their fathers.  None of this shocks me.

The thing that has most surprised me is how you support me through motherhood.  Maybe surprise isn’t the right word.  You have always handled me with grace and patience.  I think it is because I hear the horror stories.  Other women talk about the shame they feel when their husbands criticize them for not having a clean house while the same husband does nothing to console the crying baby in her arms.  Coworkers tell me about fathers that missed the birth of their children and others who didn’t even pretend to be interested in helping care for their newborn.  Friends have expressed how crushing the pressure of maintaining a household, a job, and a new child can be when their husbands do little to help.  Those stories are not my story.

My story is that you step in, no questions asked.  You understand that my type of motherhood is unique to me and our family.  You have never complained that I spend too much time away from home, whether I am at the gym or spending all day at a photography workshop.  You realize that I need that time to recharge.  I have never been able to devote all of my time and energy to a person or thing.  That time alone is not because I do not love my family.  It is not because I don’t care.  It is because that tiny voice that tells women we are not enough…that tells us that are failing at motherhood as we hold a screaming baby…that voice can be deafening for me unless I separate myself.  Those hours away from home give me such perspective and truly allow me to be a better mother.  You understand that without judgment or expectation.  You can’t know how valuable that is to me…to be able to parent exactly as I am with you offering me encouragement and reassurance that I am doing a wonderful job.

Even when I can see how tired you are, you don’t talk about it as if it is a competition…as if the responsibilities you have are greater than mine.  You recognize that our work cultures are different but both are valuable to the financial stability of our family.  You appreciate my sense of humor and never mistake my sarcasm for anything more than it is.  On my worst days, you have never spoken to me harshly or caused me to believe that you doubt me.  I love that we have approached parenting as a team.  I love that you are bonding with and building memories with our child.  But most of all, I love that you are allowing me to become a mother in a way that feels organic to me.  You do not rush me or expect me to know the answers.  You do not question me nor do you allow me to question myself.  And as Jefferson gets older and starts to recognize these qualities of our parenting and marriage, I hope he strives to find those same qualities in his own relationships.

Don’t forget to ask for time for yourself, too.  I can handle the house when you need to spend time in your shop or when you need to take a hunting trip.  I won’t keep count of how many times you need to take a breath because we have chosen grace over egos.  I could have ten more children with you (but I’m not…to be very clear) because I know we would manage the chaos together.  We make a wonderful Lowe class team, baby.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Love,

Your smokin’ hot wife

britney bradley-romantics-0121.jpg

Photography by Sharon Elizabeth Photography, Hair by Kara Edwards, Make Up by Kristine Marie, and dress from Voila Bridal.

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