Staying Interesting and Interested

02 July 2014

At a bridal shower a few years ago (Hi, Meg!) I played a game where everyone wrote down encouraging words about marriage on slips of paper and the bride chose her favorite. She chose:


"Stay Interesting and Interested"

Right now, I'm trying to stay interested in Jacob's enthusiasm for tiny houses. He was on a kick about a year ago and recently got back onto it. I can't say I encourage him very much because how do you encourage something like this? I'm pretty sure we graduated from tiny house potential as soon as we started having kids. I mean, currently, we
 have five people living in an 1100 sq. ft house. Per person, we're basically on par with the tiny housers. 
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He really just wants to build a house on a trailer and drive it around and park it overnight in any spot where he wants to watch the sunrise. So basically what he wants is a "tiny vacation home" which I argue misses the entire point of the tiny house movement. 

For all I tease him about it, I find them pretty interesting, these quirky little buildings with all their nooks and hooks and crannies. 

But were he ever to drive home with a double axle trailer and tell me he was going to build a house, scratch that OUR house, on it...well...I mean for him to do that I would not only have to be on board, I would have to be on duty. 

Especially now that we have kids, staying interested in each others' hobbies is a lot more effortful than just an occasional "how nice" - being interested often means enabling the other person, we have to help each other stay interesting.

I'm the type that is a huge cheerleader for Jacob to follow some passion, but when he actually starts in on it I feel abandoned and overwhelmed, and bitterness mounts because I can't beLIEVE he's out there PLAYing when there are bedtimes to routine and diapers to change! 

Interested is when I let him pursue a passion even when it feels inconvenient to me.


Interested is when my husband is outside with his tools finishing what I'm sure is a very pressing project, while I scramble through the end of dinner prep with two hungry people clutching at my calves. 

Interested is when he comes in for dinner and proudly presents me with...a cherrywood muddler, and I suppress the lip-pursing, eyebrow-raising "THIS is how you've spent your last half hour?" face. Or half-suppress it...or perhaps I just own the snark completely while taking the muddler from him and making cocktails.

Sometimes I have to be more of a mom so he can be something other than a dad for a little while.


Sometimes I have to be more of a mom so our children can watch their dad be a carpenter. So I can watch him too.
I have my interests too. Things I pursue, that make me a happier and hopefully better person. He's interested in those things with me.

And often his interest surfaces around seven in the morning, when I'm nursing my sacred morning coffee as he takes the toddler to the bathroom and tends to the baby who's started to squawk, and he says too loudly: "I'm coming, Lucy June. Papa loves you MORE than his computer." And then to me "I'm just gonna change a diaper here, honey, if that's OK with you."

"Go for it!" I say. He would welcome help, but he mostly just wants me to remember all that he is juggling so I can play like I'm a blogger for a few more minutes. 



25 comments :

  1. As someone who lives in Europe, I always start cracking up whenever I come across this American idea of tiny houses. I mean, they must be really small, right? Um, no. I'm definitely not saying I wouldn't love more space or just some closets and I want a garden so, so bad. But our apartment is 96 m2 (that's a little smaller than yours) and considered just fine for a small family.

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    1. When we lived in our converted garage studio apartment (with an amazing garden) our friends from Europe and NYC thought it was just the best ever...and then our California friends with their affinity for wide open spaces often looked at us like pity cases!

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  2. Loved this!! I'll look for ways in which to remain interesting and interested... Thanks for sharing!

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  3. This is something important to remember. To give your spouse the freedom, to facilitate the other one being interested in something besides the daily tasks that come...

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  4. This was a great post. I shall go and chew on what you've said so that the next time my husband needs more than an eye brow raise at his hobbies, I can be ready with fuller enthusiasm. :)

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  5. I love this!

    My husband is... well... a little similar. Right now, we've got a non-functional hot tub in the back yard (waiting for Zeke to fix it!), two motorcycles in the garage, and a work-in-progress fireplace. Because apparently, servicing and fixing and maintaining 40 cabins at the camp where he works isn't enough "handy-man-ery" for him. But you're absolutely right- he gives me the time and space to do what I love... he says that a perfect vacation for us would be a cabin in the woods with dirtbiking trails and good WiFi... so I could blog while he rides the trails. =)

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    1. I told my husband your perfect vacation idea! So true! In the middle of nowhere, but 100% plugged in!

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    2. Can this be a thing, a camp for husbands to ride dirt bikes and play in the trees but where wifi roams free?!?

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  6. This is great to remember! As for tiny houses...I think I'm right there with you. I love the *idea* of a tiny house and think they're pretty darn cool, but we're living in a home of similar square footage now and adding a baby or two to the mix will make it seem like a tiny house for sure!

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  7. What a great observation. It's definitely something I struggle with. My husband has lots of hobbies (or he used to) and how INTERESTED he is in them and other things is one of the qualities I love best about him. I know I should be encouraging him to get back to doing what he loves, but I count on him so for relief from the kiddies. Today he's going to a happy hour with his buddies after work. I'm so glad, because it's the first thing he's done for himself in at least six months. I know I need to encourage him to keep taking such opportunities. Thanks for reminding me!

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    1. I totally here you...encouraging poker night takes a lot for me!

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  8. I love those Tumbleweed Houses. My husband likes to read Latin and Greek out loud on the couch. Some of my friends think it's funny/fascinating/intelligent. I'm pretty sure I did, too, before we got married and had our current six children. Sometimes staying interested involves passionately faking it. Ha! Such is life.

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    1. Tumbleweed Houses?! I love that term.

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  9. "Sometimes I have to be more of a mom so he can be something other than a dad for a little while."

    Don't mind Mrs. Crazy over here permanent marketing this on to every single wall in our house as a reminder-scratch that, I'm just going to tattoo it on my forearm so I never forget!

    Remembering that watching my husband be passionate about little things was the very foundation for me falling in love and admiration with him, that's what our boys need to see-less of me whining about the thirty thousand (totes not an exaggeration) diapers I've changed today, more watching papa build something, work on a bike, hike through the millions on trails in our great state.

    You always get me right where I need got! Xo!

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  10. Not to be an enabler.... but I love tiny houses. My friend Kate just moved into one on a lake, and it's so perfect.
    Country Girl's Daybook

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  11. Bah hahaha!
    Is it ok to be more "interested" in certain hobbies than others? Like, I'm all for him whistling away while he builds stuff (ie babygates) or a fort for Sam or searching for his latest dinner masterpiece. Heck, I even love the D&D night he has with the guys. But playing games on his phone or watching random videos on his favorite blogging sites? Notsomuch.

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  12. haha loved this Kate….but if i mention the word "interested" I get more than i bargained for!

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  13. Encouraging the husband to have hobbies: yes, this is hard for me as well. Actually, I want him to have hobbies, but like you say, it's when he actually goes out to DO some hobby-ing and I become indignant- that's what I need to work on. Thanks for writing about this!

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  14. My husband is the same way with the tiny houses and actually talked me into living in a 5th wheel and then we had another baby and I say nope, no way.

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  15. This is awesome! I love that piece of advice!

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  16. Very interesting article. I would love to read the book “Start with Why”, by Simon Sinek. I think he has taken a great topic to deal with. Teaching leaders to inspire others is a good idea to bring up a civilized society. Thanks for sharing. Keep posting.
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