Sometimes, I’m too much mom and not enough wife.
What I mean is, I am immersed in mothering all day long. My thoughts are about kids and school and meals and sibling relationships, and when my husband comes home I don’t want to just throw him in the mix.
But sometimes I do.
There isn’t a switch I can turn off to mothering. It is my always-occupation and preoccupation and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, not for more “me time” or money or fancier clothes or recognition. There’s just this balancing act between always-mothering and not mothering my husband, not making him feel like one more thing on my list.
We’ve been married sixteen years and there’s not one of them that I regret, not one that I wouldn’t want to re-live. We are blessed by the overwhelming grace of God, but once in awhile things that are familiar get taken for granted.
I don’t meet him at the door like I used to. I stopped putting love notes in his lunch box, and sometimes I’m in my yoga pants when he gets home and all I can manage for a greeting is some complaint about where his shoes are placed, and would he please referee the children for a minute.
He would say he understands, that it’s ok and he knows I’ve worked hard all day, and he might even pretend he likes my yoga pants. But it’s not the way we planned for things to be, back when we were newly-wed and we agreed that I wouldn’t greet him with the ends of my day, the leftover crusts of spent energy.
The people in my life are not on my to-do list, not burdens to be carried. I can bring my leftover energy to the laundry or the dusty floor or the bills waiting to be paid, but not to the people made in His image.
People need spoiling from time to time. Everyday, maybe. And that requires energy.
The first 9 years of our marriage he worked in the woods, and he used to bring me home wildflower bouquets with a grin. He would see beauty in his day and stop to bring me some, just because.
He builds houses now, and there are bits of 2 x 4’s and screws and nails all around him at the end of the day, not wildflowers. So he had to go out of his way to buy me flowers, to hand-pick fancy artisan chocolates. Me, in my yoga pants and bad attitude. It was the same week I posted this, if that’s any indication.
I ask him why he went to all the extravagance.
I love you becomes empty and hollow, he says, if there’s not some action to it, something out of the ordinary.
Like how we always answer the how-are-you? question with fine, just an automated response with little thought. The verb part of the word, the doing and showing and not just saying it, requires us to go out of our way sometimes.
This guy knows me and knows the way to my heart, he does. Knows how I value quietness and peace and chocolate.
And the flowers? What I loved the most, aside from the sweet words on the card and the thought that went into the gift, is that the sunflowers looked wild and there were sticks, real sticks with moss on them, in the vase. Beauty and wild and love, all mixed in and spoiling me.
He treats me like I’m special. And it reminds me that before I was Mom, I was Wife. Girlfriend. The one for him, and he for me.
I love my children and I try to make things special for them, to create good memories and pray away bad ones. At the exhausted end of my day, the one where I greet my husband and welcome him home, I want to have something left for him. Something special, something more than how-was-your-day, let-me-tell-you-about-mine. I want home to be his place of refuge and spoiling.
So I’m going back to those first things. The love-notes and make-up and drop-everything-daddy’s-home. There will be days of ugly and tired and could-you-please-put-your-shoes-away, but I want that to be the exception, not the rule. Because my husband already has a great mom and she trained him up right, and I’m so thankful for that. He has a great dad, too, who still brings his wife flowers.
I’m the wife, and I think great wives make the best mothers. But sometimes good moms forget the wife-part and so I’m reminding us all.
Be the wife, sisters, be the best wife.