Things have been extra crazy around here lately. My little guy is full-on-speedy scooting (and into all sorts of trouble), my daughter is potty training and my 4 year old has decided it is absolutely no fun to listen to mom. ever.
Some days being a mom in this house is nothing short of a marathon.
I haul my daughter into the bathroom and by the time I get her situated on the potty the baby has scooted his way in there too and is busy sucking on something, well, disgusting. I pull him out and try to get him focused on something, well, cleaner, only to return to find the toilet paper completely unrolled and my daughter’s skirt in the potty, which she is currently peeing into. Good job, I guess? As I am about to pull her off the potty I hear a blood curdling scream from outside where my 4 year old is playing (or, as it sounds, being torn apart by wolves). So, I am forced to leave my daughter on the potty a few minutes longer, despite her demands for “candy now, I pee!” while I check on my son with a 30 lbs baby on my hip who is now wielding a metal spatula.
And it’s only 8 in the morning. Plenty of time to repeat this delightful scenario a few hundred times before my husband gets home.
I guess it’s not surprising that I sometimes throw a baby at my husband as he walks through the door or begrudge him 10 minutes to use the bathroom before he is ‘on’ with the kids.
It’s also not surprising that I sometimes crawl into bed 10 minutes after I get the kids settled and don’t move until morning.
These things aren’t surprising to me now, now that I am the mother of 3 little ones, but they would have been shocking and down-right horrifying to me 5 years ago–the idealist girl in love with a boy named Bill who wanted to spend every waking moment with him.
Life is hard, and kids change things and yeah, I know. We can talk all about ‘this season of life’ and other platitudes along those lines, but when it comes down to it, I don’t want to just miss out on a decade of time with my husband while we raise our little ones. He’s my best friend–I want to spend time with him each and every day. I want to show him I love him every day.
Not that I am very good at showing him I love him at the end of any day.
It’s just really hard to be loving when I feel like my tank is utterly and completely empty.
Sometimes I just need a nap or a walk by myself–which my husband understands and is more than happy to give me. But more often than not I just need to take a breath, count my (many) blessings and remember how much I really and honestly love this man I married.
I’m not talking about making time for dates (which, of course is important). I’m not talking about sex (which is even more important). I’m talking about making time for my husband every day–directing energy his way and loving him the way that I was delighted to do when we were first married, even if now the moments are tiny and interpreted and sticky.
It is so easy to love my husband–he is incredibly lovable. It’s just that after a day of wiping cracks and making snacks, sometimes I’m just so done.
But, here’s the problem. In my selfish little pity party (you won’t BELIEVE what I had to deal with today!) I was starting to get things all twisted around. When my husband walked through the door at the end of the day he wasn’t just another human needing my love and attention–he was here to offer those things to me.
Because he loves me. Because he wants to serve me. Because I am his wife
How had I forgotten this?
Sure, I was wiped, but how much energy does it take to smile at the man I love as he walks through the door and let him kiss me?
And yet, it was becoming routine for me to be crabby and short with him in the evening.
I want a better way. I want to be the wife I saw myself as 5 years ago. I want to reprogram my mind and, even when I am tired and the kids are screaming and potty training is a nightmare, I want to love him as he loves me.
So, in those tired, drained moments, here are the things I try to do so that I can love my husband and receive the love he is so happy to give me:
1. Glance at a wedding picture and recall how excited I was to be his wife and have his children. I wanted this. I am lucky to have it. Really, lucky.
2. Force myself to laugh at his jokes (instead of rolling my eyes). I am always amazed at how laughter, even if it is forced at first, can snap you right out a mood. And he really is funny. We love laughing together.
3. Stop and objectively think about the things I am saying and the way I am acting. Am I playing the victim? Usually if I have to ask myself that question the answer is yes. And once I realize that it’s easy to change. No one likes a person pretending to be victim.
4. Come up with at least 2 good things to share about the day when my husband gets home. My tendency is to dump on my husband the moment he walks through the door. “I had to clean up this, and deal with this, and endure this!” Sometimes when I am done with my tirade my husband will meekly ask, “did anything good happen today?” And of course a million good things happened that day! If I lead with the good it’s amazing how my entire perspective and mood changes, toward my husband and the kids. He is happy to hear me vent, but he deserves to hear more than just the bad.
5. Decide that we are going to have sex that night. (whoa, did she just write that?) Seriously, try this. Sex is a super important part of our (every) marriage (except when NFP is getting us down). I personally rely on it to connect with my husband. If I decide that we are going to have sex that night my behavior toward my husband is radically different. I’m flirty and sweet and genuinely try to connect with him emotionally as I hope to connect with him physically later that night. If I have in mind that we will be connecting intimately that night I behave like a WIFE much more than like a bedraggled mother.
Because that is what I am, a beloved wife–and even on the worst days around here, that is what I’d like to act like.