Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Wife, then Mommy

A constant dripping on a day of steady rain
And a contentious woman are alike;
16 He who would restrain her, restrains the wind
Proverbs 27: 15-16

This is such a stretch.. and an article that is sure to raise more questions than it answers. I've always tried to make parenting and non-disclosure statements on here. To make Biblical wisdom the focus, and less about me. But here goes nothing....

The hardest part of being a Stay at Home Mom is remembering that you are also a wife. And, honestly, you're a wife first. Then a mommy.

And that is a very tough balance.

Hubster and I were talking about this last night. Pregnancy with Jminator was a breeze. The recovery after I had him was horrible. I was emotional, exhausted, and most of all, in pain. Combine that with a needy newborn who nursed constantly, was insistent on being held 24hrs a day, and I was a total wreck. Everything hurt, and by the time Hubs came home in the evening, all I wanted to do was be left alone. I was so touched out (and touch is my last love language) that I literally had no emotion or desire left in me... Touch is my husband's first love language. I wasn't even interested in speaking it. And it almost destroyed our marriage.

I would use any amount of extra energy I had to do laundry or dishes, trying to keep the house reasonable, I persisted. Truth is, Hubs could not have cared less about the condition of the house. He would have been totally happy with tuna sandwiches for dinner, as long as I wasn't an exhausted, emotional mess with zero sex drive when he came home. I look back on that and wonder how he managed all of that, and am determined to do things differently this next time.

But I love being a wife first. Before sticky hands greet me in the morning, I always try to get up with Hubs. Even if we steal 5 minutes before J wakes up. I can say good morning, I love you, and talk about the upcoming day. I make his lunch, we eat breakfast (well, Hubs eats breakfast. I drink coffee) and watch the news. We're making ourselves a couple again, before the demands of the day pull us in different directions. Is that a perfect system? Hell, no. If J's been up all night, or had issues and been needing me for hours, Hubster gets dressed quietly and makes his own sandwich.

I usually try to make sure that J is down for a nap when Hubster comes home. Now, that's not always
possible, but if J's at least well-rested, he's a much easier tot to handle. This isn't 1952, and I'm not expected to keep the house spotless, and children seen and not heard. But, honestly, who wants to come home and the first thing out of the door-greeters mouth is screaming, complaining, and a list of demands?

I don't greet Hubster with a martini and cigar (although an occasional beer happens) with his slippers, but I honestly try... and this is going to be tough... to take a nap in the afternoon before Hubs gets home. Sometimes I use that to do dishes or fold laundry also, but a power nap can do wonders for this momma. Is it a perfect system? Not one bit. But that little bit of rest in the afternoon perks me up enough so that I'm emotionally available to Hubster when he comes home. After J goes to bed, we affirm that the night is ours. We watch terrible TV shows, sit outside (with the baby monitor) and talk about the future... generally behave like we're people instead of "Mom" and "Dad."

I love bragging to J about what Daddy does. Daddy works hard for us, and often does a lot of things that he really doesn't want to do, but that's what lets Mommy stay home. Daddy's paycheck pays the bills and buys us groceries. That's why we're mindful of what we buy and how we use things, so that we can show Daddy that we're grateful for what he does for us. Too much for a toddler to understand? Yes, but I'm trying to build habits in myself for what to say later on as well.

We do less spending money, but we always try to have long family days in the park, walks on the hiking trails, and later trips to the splash pads. Hubs spent a full hour yesterday teaching Jminator how to climb up his little slide himself... It's not going to dinner as a family very often, but it's being together. The kids get to see (and later I'm sure get embarrassed by) how Mommy and Daddy love each other... Kissy-Face Days are our favorite days, and I can't wait to embarrass the hell out of our teenagers when we're making out in front of them.

What psychologists, children of divorce, AA, and even most people have re-iterated: you cannot have a happy childhood when you have miserable parents. If something is really that unhealthy, it's far better to parent separately than to fight constantly and the tension remain in the house. It's easier to have one sane parent, than two that are sick. But to have two that are soooo disgustingly happy that you understand they'll never put you first before them: golden. It teaches kids that no matter how amazing they are, they're coming second to Mom and Dad. That's not neglect; that's pecking order.
Note: this DOES NOT apply in cases of abuse or neglect from a parent. That is NOT okay. EVER.
The Bible brings up "contentious women" in Proverbs quite often. Women that are never satisfied with anything. If Hubs has a job, he should be getting a promotion. If he buys her a car, it's not as nice as so-and-so's. If he comes home late, it's inexcusable. If he doesn't put in overtime, he's not making enough money. If he's stressed about money, he's being too negative. If he's not stressed about money, then he's not taking anything seriously. If he's involved with the kids, but does things differently than mom, then he's undermining her authority. If he asks her what she wants done, he's leaving everything to her to do everything and....

Men do the same thing, though. If they're so focused on victory, unless the wife cheers him on like a groupie, he may never feel satisfied. If he has made plans but maybe the toddler has had other ideas, he can feel less important because he's insecure in his standing. If Dad feels like he's lower on the pecking order than a toddler, he may become more aggressive than usual, if only subconsciously, just to realign his place.

In reality, both are bad ideas.

If a woman feels heard and appreciated, and if a man feels like he's winning... it works. But that takes time away from Juniors and Juniorettes. Time they'll appreciate later. Time that will pay off in dividends later. It's ok for them to know that not everyone will worship the ground they walk on. It's ok for them to know that some things are more important than they are. It doesn't mean that they are not important; it means that some things are more important.

See, eventually J and S will leave home. They will. I will personally see to that. And Mom and Dad will still be there. They will call first before coming over, because Mom and Dad may be gettin' busy, and no one wants to walk in on their parents. They will film us doing comedy routines, MST3K style, to movies on our 40th wedding anniversary. And it will embarrass the hell out of them.

God, I can't wait.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Stopping by from Mom Bloggers Club. Great blog!
    Have a nice day.