I feel like I’m being pulled in every direction lately. Like I can’t quite reach the mark. I remember when I was working, I used to dream of all the things I would accomplish when I was on maternity leave. The house would be clean, the kids would have beautifully cut shapes of fruits and veggies in their lunch, and my husband would get all the attention he deserves. Fast forward 10 months and one more baby later, and while I find that my house is slightly cleaner and my kids are happier because I am home and they have after-school snacks and decent lunches (no starfish though), my husband still gets put on the back burner. Which makes me feel like a great mom but a not-so-good wife. Can you feel me?
I’m starting to realize that being a wife and being a mother is not the same thing.
It sounds so obvious, but I’m coming to realize it’s not really that obvious at all.
I wake up every morning with this mental checklist of all the things I want to accomplish that day, and by noon I find myself losing steam. By the time I complete drop off and pick up, get the laundry on and make supper, do homework and activities (all while juggling a 9-month-old baby), I have very little energy to invest in myself let alone my husband, and that makes me sad. Because at the end of the day, I do want to be a good wife. And I know what you’re thinking: all these things do make me a good wife. And you’re right. While that’s definitely true, I believe there is still way more to the story.
Did you ever dream about your marriage when you were little? Did you fantasize about the life you would have when you got older and maybe even plan your wedding? I did. Probably a lot more than most. I can remember watching episodes of 7th Heaven and dreaming of having a home like theirs and my very own Rev. Camden! Maybe it’s because I didn’t always have a great example of what a marriage and family looked like. Or maybe it’s because deep down I knew I wanted something better for my children than I had growing up. Whatever the reason, I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to be a good wife.
So where am I going with this?
Ask yourself these questions and really think about them for a second.
Who did your husband marry? How have you changed since then? Who are you today? Is this what you pictured your marriage to look like?
There are no right or wrong answers here. It’s about self-reflection, something I’m learning to do a lot more of these days.
For me, when I started to ask these questions, I realized that not only was my husband dealing with all the changes that come along with welcoming a new baby, he was also dealing with the loss of a wife. His once super-motivated, easygoing, fun-loving wife was now an exhausted, irritable, cracker barrel t-shirt and black legging wearing woman with her hair in a perma-ponytail (I’m not dissing the cracker barrel t-shirt, that t-shirt is life!). Oh, and how easy it is to think I was the only one whose life was turned upside down.
I started to feel like a great mom but a not-so-good wife. Can you feel me?
Does he care? No, of course not. He loves me even more than the day we got married. He cheers me on in all my endeavors and tells me how beautiful I look every day. He supports me and never complains (and trust me, he has a lot he could complain about). Do I care? Yes! Of course I care. Why wouldn’t I? Marriage is one of the most important things we enter in life. It affects every single thread of our existence. Two become one. Families come together. Traditions are made, and children depend on it. Why wouldn’t I want to give my husband the best version of that possible?
Isn’t that what I expect from him?
I know how important it is to invest in my marriage. I know that I need to spend time with my husband away from our kids. I know we need to get out more and do things together like we did when we were dating, and I know we need to talk more about our lives and our dreams for the future. When do married couples stop making dreams for the future together?
I know it’s all easier said than done. I know that the mountain of tasks that I begin each day with will not be as forgiving as my husband. I know that my five-year-old will have a complete and total meltdown if his ghostbustersters t-shirt isn’t washed in time for show and share, and I know the groceries won’t buy themselves. But it’s become far too easy to put my marriage on the back burner and let our lives pass us by, and that, my friends, is a scary thought.
Why wouldn’t I want to give my husband the best version of me?
Listen, I have a good marriage. Let me say that again: I have a good marriage. But that doesn’t mean it can’t get better. That doesn’t mean that it’s not super important to keep investing time into our relationship as husband and wife and not just as mom and dad. I want our children to have an example of a thriving marriage. And I want my husband to get the best version of me possible.
I don’t know what that looks like; I’m still trying to figure it all out. But today I will start thinking intentionally about myself and about how I can be the best version of me possible. I will start thinking about my relationship and about which hat I am wearing. And I will begin to look for ways that I can build up my marriage and be a good mom. Heck, I might even ditch the cracker barrel t-shirt.
I want to be a good wife.
Like, I really want to be a good wife, and I am sure that you do too. I don’t know what that looks like for you, but I do know that a thriving marriage is possible.
Who were you before you got married and life happened? What did you and your husband do together for fun? Maybe you’re in a season where you feel like you’re two people living under the same roof and
your marriage revolves around these tiny humans. Or maybe you’re in a highly demanding job, and you’ve forgotten to take time away for each other. Wherever we find ourselves today, we need to invest in ourselves and our marriages as much as we invest in our children, our jobs, and our homes.
So think about it. Which hat are you wearing? Where do you and your spouse find yourselves today? I know I can do better. I want to do better. And with a little self-reflection and a lot of intention, I think that I can be!
We deserve the best marriage possible, and I’m excited about the journey. I have no idea what it looks like, but I think recognizing the need is the first step. I promise to share all that self-reflection and growth as it comes, and I hope you’ll come along and share your own!
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