What you want in a husband when you’re a love-struck teenager and when you’re a busy mom of toddlers are very different things.

Today I’m so excited to have Karen from Lightly Frayed on the blog! She’s talking about how what she wanted in a husband changed from before she was married to now that she’s a married mother of four!

Love how real she is. You’ll have a laugh!

Here’s Karen:

My friend recently posted a picture of her husband vacuuming with a caption that read: “Is it just me, or is this the sexiest thing you have seen all day?” Probably not something she would have written a decade or two ago but I’m pretty sure every wife agreed with her.

The truth is, marriage redefines sexy.

What is it about a vacuum cleaner that brings out the colour in a man’s eyes? Or a broom that showcases his muscles as he sweeps and pivots? Just seeing your husband speaking the love language of help-me-find-the-floor again is sweeter than champagne and chocolate.

How life has changed. And I don’t mean to alarm anyone who is single, but my “list” that I once clung to as sacred, is now a fading memory.

You know the list I’m talking about. The List you made as a teenager or a young, single woman. The list of all of the qualities you were praying for in your Prince Charming. The one you set beside his picture and ensured he ticked most, if not all, of the boxes. Of course, that was after sounding out your would-be married name, in case things worked out.

Just me? Moving on.

I would give anything to find my actual list. Might even be worth rummaging through dusty boxes that have been moved from house to house. Pretty sure it would be a complete disconnect with what I would put on a list today.

Join me as I imagine how my List written as my younger, single self probably looked. Of course, the real fun will be the comparison with The List After Kids.

First, let’s talk about looks

Dream List: He has to be cute. Really cute. With dreamy eyes and permanently tanned skin.

List After Kids: It’s a good thing to focus on dreamy eyes, because those are the only features that remain as we both age. While I earn my squishy four-kids belly, you won’t mind if he starts to sag a bit too. But those eyes…..

Dream List: He has to dress well. (I am fairly confident my List was that pathetic)

List After Kids:  While I will appreciate his style, the real points will come when he helps dress the children. Even if the onesie is snapped over their pants. Bonus points for singing originals like “One Sock Sam” and “Socks and Sandals Should be Banned.”

Dream List: He will compliment me on looking great, making it worth the hour spent getting ready for our dates.

List After Kids: He will see beauty in my everyday self. Lightly frayed jeans and t-shirted me, playing in the sandbox, will make him weak-kneed. And he will savour the times I invest more than 7 minutes fancying up for a married date.

Now what about romance?

Dream List: He will be thoughtful and buy romantic gifts like flowers and chocolates.

List After Kids: He will swoop in like a superhero, remembering to buy diapers just as we are running out. Or ketchup for the child who will eat nothing without it. Be still my heart. Although chocolate will still magically make my world right again.

Dream List: He will write me love notes that show his true feelings. All those mushy feelings about me.

List After Kids: This note still brings me to tears:  “I know you have had a full week with sick children, appointments and disappointments. Take Saturday to yourself. I’ve got this.” {sigh}

Dream List: He will bring me breakfast in bed.

List After Kids: He will tiptoe the messy-haired, pyjama-footed children to the kitchen. He will quietly serve their favourite cereal and pour orange juice in the green cup so there will be no broken hearts while Mommy rests.

Third, what do you want for everyday life with your husband?

Dream List: He will drive a nice car. Nothing fancy, but not a clunker.

List After Kids: He will drive a clunker. So I can have the reliable, new{ish} minivan. He will buy an extra scarf when the car heater dies and not even complain. He will be a crappy-heatless-leaky-car-driving hero so our ducklings and I can be safe and toasty.

Dream List: He will sweep me off my feet.

List After Kids: He will sweep. Period. He will understand that mopping is the new sexy and have multiple opportunities to practise this affection with high-energy spilly children.

Dream List: He will be spontaneous and up for the next adventure.

List After Kids: His introverted self will refuel by reading and reflecting in the quiet. After I give him this time, his adventuresome self can show up. And my spontaneity will be tempered by his ability to plan. I will dream up the destination and he will remember the supplies.

Fourth, let’s look at connecting

Dream List: He will want to talk for hours.

List After Kids: He will not make me talk for hours. When I can barely keep my eyes open, he will hold me in comfortable silence. Or let me sprawl out, hogging the bed still in my track pants and kid-stained shirt.

Dream List: We will enjoy all the same hobbies.

List After Kids: We will find a balance between doing things together and separately. He will see historical, war-filled movies with his friends and he won’t make me come. I will laugh insanely with friends and sisters and welcome exclusively pink time.

Dream List: He will think I’m funny.

List After Kids: He will think I’m funny. Smiling will cement our relationship and laughter will help bridge challenges life throws our way. And when we forget this, we will climb our way back to unity.

Finally, all about relationships

Dream List: He will be amazing with children. Like a hunky Mary Poppins with spoons filled with sugar.

List After Kids: His children will be blessed to call him Dad. They will know his unconditional love even when they give him an eye twitch. And we will learn together that parenting is more exhausting and rewarding than we expected. He will find a depth of selflessness neither of us knew was possible. He will definitely deserve the last piece of pie.

Dream List: He will have a sincere relationship with God.

List After Kids: His love for God will be the foundation of our relationship. He will challenge me to grow deeper and never settle for mediocrity. I know that if his heart hardens towards me during conflict, it will always stay soft before his Creator, which will bring us back together.

After 20 years of marriage, my new list barely resembles the old.

Young women still in the dreaming stage? Make your list. Imagine the possibilities of your future. Hold out for amazing. And as you choose wisely and prayerfully, may you find the prince to share your castle.

But don’t be surprised if your definition of amazing changes as much as you do in the next season. 

And remember, chore day in your palace will probably make you putty in his hands.


Karen Gauvreau would squeeze her four-baby-body into a cheerleader’s uniform for you to know someone is rooting for you as a parent – cartwheeling for your victories and offering a pep talk when you feel pummelled. If she makes you laugh in the process, even better. She has written for Focus on the Family, Momsense and ForEveryMom and is thrilled to be over here today. Karen shares the highs and lows of parenting four boys on her website, LightlyFrayed.com, offering hope and humour to parents in their journey.

How has your list changed since you got married? Let us know in the comments below!

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