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'How choosing crunchy over smooth peanut butter is the difference between my husband and I.'

In our household, I’m in charge of grocery shopping. I enjoy looking through flyers, discovering what’s on sale, and adding things to my list. Then when I’m at the store, it’s like a scavenger hunt for me.

One time, I’m perusing through the weekly deals when I saw a crazy sale on peanut butter; however, today was the last day. I can’t go because I’m on my way to pick up my son. So I text my husband to grab some on his way home. He texts back, "Okay."

I arrive home and I see jars of peanut butter sitting on the kitchen counter. I’m feeling giddy like it’s Christmas Day. I love buying things on sale, especially essential items, because our kids go through peanut butter like ants on a fallen popsicle.

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I put my son down and I look closely at my husband’s stockpile. As I rotate each jar, my level of disappointment grows deeper and deeper. Every single one of them is crunchy. I take an exasperated breath.

He comes downstairs with a grin on his face, "It was crazy at the store. So many people, but I managed to grab the last ones. I saved like 50 per cent or something."

I dismiss his excitement and roll my eyes, "Was there only crunchy peanut butter left?"

His face changes to a sullen expression. Then he shakes his head.

I flatly ask, "Do you notice how I only buy smooth peanut butter?"

He purses his lips, "Yeah, I know you do."

I interrogate, "So why did you buy crunchy then?"

He retorts, "I wanted crunchy for variety. I was getting tired of smooth peanut butter."

I scoff, "Yeah, duh, me too! But babies can’t eat crunchy peanut butter because they can choke on the small peanut pieces."

He counters, "But they’re not babies anymore!"

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I become silent. He’s right. Our kids aren’t blobs of flesh anymore. They’re running, climbing, and throwing little rascals who have great sets of teeth fully capable of chomping down on small peanut pieces.

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My husband was ready to take on choppy whitecaps and breakers while I wanted to stay wading through smooth waters. I didn’t want to change course.

I’ve never been a risk-taker. I don’t even play penny slots. As a child of immigrant parents, I was raised to carefully think through my decisions, to take the road most travelled by and live a long, safe and uneventful life.

Through my ongoing recovery from perfectionism, I’ve had to learn how to be a little more reckless, to experience how making a mistake isn’t the end of the world, to do less worrying about what may happen and more living in the moment of what is happening now. I’ve grown more comfortable with uncertainty and when I became a parent, I’ve had to embrace that even further.

On the other hand, my husband pounces at opportunities. He takes more risks than me. He’s more comfortable with not knowing what may happen. I make plans for 5, 10, 20 years down the road. He plans what to eat for lunch. I’m the one who turns to Google for parenting advice. And even when I’ve read up on what to do, I’m hesitant to try it.

For instance, when we switched from breastfeeding to bottle for the first time with our son, I had a tonne of fears and anxieties because of what happened with our daughter. She cried and cried for the boob. It took days for her to get used to it. I was worried our son wouldn’t take the bottle because I assumed the same would happen.

However, my husband didn’t remember any of that. All he remembered was how much he enjoyed feeding her with the bottle and how he loved smelling and nuzzling her little head while he held her to sleep after.

When I told him it’s time to transition to the bottle, he jumped at the chance. He grabbed the bottle out of my hand, got comfortable on the couch and motioned for me to hand our son over. I held my breath as I anticipated my son pushing the nipple away. But he didn’t. He took it without fuss. My husband’s none the wiser.

So the morning after he bought those jars of peanut butter, I started thinking about these moments when he took leaps of faith while I slowly inched away from my worries.

I hand my husband the plate of peanut butter toast. Then, I say to him, "You’re right, they’re not babies anymore. You know I won’t ever be as free-wheeling as you about parenting. However, I do need to start enjoying these little bits of freedom as our kids get older and learn to embrace the spice of life more."

He nods and hands my son a piece of toast. He takes a big bite and starts chewing. I hold my breath. He swallows it as effortlessly as that first sip from his bottle and takes his next bite.

Katharine Chan, MSc, BSc, PMP is an author, wife and mum of two. She writes stories to empower individuals to talk about their feelings despite growing up in a culture that hid them. You can find more from Katharine on her website or podcast, or you can follow her on InstagramFacebookTwitter or YouTube.

Feature Image: Getty.