When I was single, I would listen to women talk about how having a family was just the best thing that could have ever happened to them. They always seemed to go on and on and on and on about the joys and delights of motherhood, marriage and career - "being the ultimate woman and having it all!" WELL..............................I drank the kool-aid. After having a sip, I am here to say that some of that dialouge was delusional and not at all realistic. Marriage IS work.
I did not want to be the person who turned into a different individual the minute I said, "I do". I was single for quite a while, as I was married at the age of 40. I had a longggggggg time of doing what I wanted, when I wanted, where I wanted and how I wanted to do something. Being submissive, as outlined in the Bible, "was" quite difficult, at first. I love my husband dearly. I was not use to running anything by anyone else. I ran everything by ME! LOL! Was it wrong for me to feel that way? I have come a long way in this area. I have learned how to honor my husband in everything. My prayer partner and mentor (yes! I have a marriage mentor..a seasoned woman who has been married for over 50 years, actually I have 2) constantly saids, "If I want change, I have to change". Well! I did not like that! But, oh well, I changed. I changed my attitudes and beliefs regarding being submissive. Being submissive did not mean I was weak. Being submissive does not mean my husband would run all over me. It does mean that I value, respect and uphold my husband's plans, goals and vision for our family. It meant me "not automatically committing to a date elsewhere, without discussing any possible plans we might have for our family". It meant me considering my words before I say them. My grandmother shared with me that a lady told her, "In order to have a happy marriage, drink a glass of water, everytime you want to say something bad!". LOL! Do not laugh! It works! I do it quite often. You can not talk if your mouth is full of water. Sometimes I have to drink 6-8 glasses though. And yes, there are times when I drink that water, swallow and politely proceed to express my opinion. (I am still growing!)
Parenting a child is WORK. Single moms, I do NOT know how you do it all! I know God grants you extra doses of grace. We have 2 (toddler and infant), and there are times when I feel we need "at least" 2 more people to help us! At least 2, meaning, more would be welcomed! LOL.
I think I have figured something out. It is easier to be what society calls a "bad mom". It is easier to be what society calls a "lazy wife". It is easier to be those things because all I need to do is simply QUIT....stop trying...GIVE UP! McKenzie and I are having ongoing "do not dump your plate" conversations at every meal. She does such an awesome job and I feel so accomplished. I feel like, "Hey, I'm doing a great job. I am teaching my child the basics of table etiquette." However, it is so discouraging when I go to the kitchen and return to her plate on the floor, food everywhere and KayCee has turned into an automated vacuum cleaner. (Well, I kind of like KayCee being the vacuum cleaner!haha). Just when I thought I would give up and allow my child to simply have her way and toss food everywhere....the plate stays on the high chair. YAYYYYYYYY!!! Good job mommie! Good job McKenzie!! However, there is a stipulation: The plate must be picked up IMMEDIATELY after she finishes eating her food. Responding to 2AM, 4AM cries is challenging. I do it because I want my baby to develop trust and secure attachment. Playing "funny faces and google eyes" at 3AM is fun AFTER I finally wake up.
It is easier to be what society calls a "lazy wife". Yes, it is easier to "not" do all of the things I know my husband would probably like. However, I do those things because we both share with each other, on a frequent basis, what we need in order for our marriage to continue to be responsive, strong and thriving. Is it always convenient? No. There are days when the mark is missed; however, an "effort" was made. And making an effort means everything.
Being the best mom to my children and best wife to my husband involves daily change on my behalf. When I am overwhelmed, it involves me telling myself, "I can do this". I can hold Madison while soothing McKenzie simutaneously. I can put something in the oven and NOT forget it is in the oven. I can develop a house cleaning schedule that is conducive to my energy level. I can ensure family time is priority over my office work. I can be intentional in not doing those things that annoy my husband. I can be wise and innovative in keeping my marriage fun. Ghandi once said..."Be the Change, you want to see". GOT IT! It does not happen overnight...but it does happen...it is happening.
It is not a fairy tale. Having a family, raising children and maintaining a marriage is work. There are easy times, as well as, challenging times. There are sad times, as well as, happy times. Those times are what we make them to be. God's unconditional love is the secret when we adopt and implement it in our own families and marriages. All in all, I can do this. I am not perfect. I mess up often. I will continue to embrace change in order to respond to the needs of my family effectively. Until next time, Love yourself!