Notice the title is not, “The Perfect Housewife”? There is space between “house” and “wife”.
That’s because my downfall was not that I was a goddess divine at home but that I was in a constant struggle to have the perfect house that I could not rest and enjoy life at home. Last year I discovered I had the blessing of grace in regard to household matters that I wasn’t cashing in. It created a gap between house and wife.
There is irony in the fact I finally had time to be home more to domestically engineer a clean and tidy castle but realized I didn’t have to. I set my own bar too high. My husband and daughter didn’t fret over water-spotted counter tops, unfinished projects on the dining room table, a stack of mail, or hair on the bathroom floor. They seem to peacefully move about life without a nerve twitching at such things. I came to realize it was my own set of standards I was striving to meet when I worked full time outside our home. While I do feel more relaxed when the glass coffee table sparkles, the beds are made with fresh, line-dried sheets, and I’ve prepared a nice meal from scratch, it was [is] up to me to let go of productivity challenges to enjoy every moment of life.
Perhaps there is something in some of us that drives us to set the bar high. For me, I felt as though I needed to keep up while working so my priorities were [read: appeared to be] in line as a good wife and mother. When I finally sat down with my family to watch a movie, I was fast asleep before the plot developed. My loved ones wanted to share time with me but I exhausted myself before they got to be with me.
This ties back to a previous post where I’ve mentioned Gary Chapman’s books regarding our Five Love Languages. My weeknights and weekends were filled with tasks and obligations that I believed screamed “I Love You!!”, but only took away from our gift of time together to build relationships.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in the dawn of time where I feel complete remorse for how we lived life. The point of my writing today is simply to talk it out so others who might be in a similar place can choose how they want to spend their days moving forward. Perhaps the sovereignty of God allowed me to come to this point for a younger family to make changes.
A coworker recently told me she would clean her room just as she was instructed by her mom, including dusting. (I do not like dusting so I was quite impressed). But if she went to her room to change and left the shirt on the bed, her mom would holler out, “Amanda Marie, didn’t I tell you to clean your room??!!”
Are you thinking what I thought?
Absolutely! Sometimes we lose sight of reality, no matter who we are.
If I had to do family life over again, I would certainly do household tasks differently. Coming from different worlds, David and I had completely different ideals of how the roles of husband and wife played out. And now, I’m sharing the truth about our standards. We truly could have relaxed more, indulged less and would be 20 steps ahead of where we are today. In recent years, he does many more tasks around the house to help out and I am so grateful. I could have been a better mother and instilled more responsibility into our only child. But I’m pretty sure she will do just fine when she steps up to the place as an adult. In her own time she will learn to procrastinate less. No matter how much I THINK I’m exercising patience as a mother, at this age every request to do this or that will be heard in a different tone. She will likely have kids of her own one day and will hear the same attitude in their tone.
As we look ahead to the days of empty nesting, I’m hopeful for this time together. I’m grateful for a husband who doesn’t make me feel guilty for dust, and water spots, and unfolded clothes. As lousy as we have been about communicating, I appreciate the unspoken dance we learned to waltz…
The vacuum lays in the room a day or two before the other finishes and puts it away…
The baskets of clean underclothes finally gets folded…
The towels are folded any which way but they made it to the cupboard…
One makes dinner, the other cleans up…
No one likes to dust though. Perhaps I’ll just start writing notes to my love rather than letting the dust tickle my last nerve.
It’s not too late for a recalibration of life. This is why I’m writing out my experience in the midst of the rebuilding of our marriage. It is a testimony that God can do exceedingly and abundantly all that we desire in our hearts if we let Him have COMPLETE control.
I’m praying for you.