The Mom Conundrum

It is one of the great mysteries of motherhood: How can we LOVE being with our children and LOVE being away from them?? I absolutely adore spending time with my kids! For crying out loud, I even homeschool! There are weeks that I am literally with them 24/7…most weeks. I LOVE teaching them! I LOVE taking them to the park! I LOVE doing family activities!! I really LOVE family togetherness!! However, the other day when we left to pick up our new van…I was giddy! I was excited to get the van, of course, but I was giddy to be alone with my husband!!

We drove 2 hours by ourselves. I read my husband a hilarious article on Facebook and we both laughed. We listened to the music we wanted to, we stopped and looked at campers that we have no intention of buying, we ate lunch together, and we talked about dreams we have for the future. It was wonderful!!!

A few years ago, we went on a weekend away. I think it may be the only weekend away since kids, now that I think about it. I was so excited! We had a great time!! Dinner on our own! Going places that kids can’t go! Staying in a hotel without having to put kids in bed. It was WONDERFUL!!! Yet when it was time to go home, I was pretty sure that I could run faster than my husband could drive! I was ready to be home and I missed my kids so much!!!

Why is this? How can we love being with them and love being away from them at the same time?!?! I honestly think the answer is, as mothers, we have two halves: motherhood and the woman we were before motherhood. The person we were before kids, enjoys revisiting those care free days where the only concern we had was our own wants and plans. The person we are after kids lives for their needs and they become the center of our world…our heart walking on the outside of our bodies. Sometimes I think I lose that girl, the one I was before kids. But when I have time away from them, I find I don’t want to stay there for long, because I miss them too much.

It is strange how two seemingly contradictory feelings can live in one person. And yet, they do! Talk to any mom. Most of us feel this way!

It is a grand thing to be a mom!

The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.

-Jessica Lange

10 Tips for a Happy Marriage

We all want a happy marriage! So many times, it’s the little things that cause the problems. I don’t claim to be an expert, but here are a few tips from our marriage in no specific order:

  1. Laugh a lot! Sometimes it is difficult, I know. But laughter really is the best. Life throws so much at us and there are times that it is difficult to laugh at it. Really though, life is too short not to laugh! If you can’t find something funny enough to laugh at in your life, than I highly recommend checking out Dry Bar Comedy on YouTube! Trust me! You’ll laugh!
  2. Sharing the blankets is hard! We have a queen size bed and it always seemed like someone was without covers. Now I sleep with my own sheet and quilt and so does he! We can both burrito ourselves and roll with the covers as much as we want. Problem solved!!! And for those of you wondering, “How do you make a bed like that?” See previous post: Lowering the Bar.
  3. Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! My husband always tells me, “Assume that I need you to spell it out for me!” Not that either of us are dumb, but we do communicate differently and have different expectations. Your partner is on your side….so share your thoughts with your spouse!
  4. Follow the same rules you expect of your kids! Be kind, don’t call names, if you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all, etc. Pretty simple actually!
  5. Play! Play board games, play tag, have a Nerf gun war (tons of fun!), joke around, tell corny jokes, play chase, have snowball fights…just have fun! Fun is a huge component that most adults are truly missing in adulthood. Notice that all of the above mentioned, are free!!
  6. Don’t say no to sex. I know this one sounds difficult, but physical intimacy truly grounds a marriage and keeps us united. The more that you say no, the easier it is to continue to say no. The more you say no, the harder it is for your partner to ask. No one likes being turned down. Try saying yes. Every time. I promise you won’t regret it.
  7. Jobs should be done by each person. I always say that we are a team and it doesn’t work unless we are both pulling as hard as we can in the same direction. My husband does laundry, I take the garbage, we’ve both mowed the lawn. The point is that there aren’t “his” jobs and “her” jobs. He works full time. I work full time educating the kids. To get it all done, we pull together!
  8. Fart in front of each other. I really feel that this is essential. I mean, I live with 6 dudes, so my life is truly a gassy mess! But gas is funny! Which brings us back to laughing together. Oddly enough, ladies, most men are impressed by gas…no need to hide your talent!!
  9. Be together! Togetherness is important. In this busy, busy world we live in, it is easy to get lost in the busyness and forget to be together. Cook together, read together, study together, drink coffee together, fold laundry…mountains of laundry together, watch movies together, work on the car together, exercise together. If you can do it together, do it together. It helps you strengthen your connection.
  10. I know that some things on the list are seriously tongue-in-cheek…I mean we do them, but you don’t have to fart in front of each other to have a happy marriage. This last tip, however, is the most important. Pray for each other. There are several reasons that I say this: A. because in this harsh world of temptation and struggle, your spouse needs your prayers. Prayers of protection, prayers of safety, prayers of wisdom, discernment, and strength. B. The more you pray for your spouse, the more endeared they are to you. Let’s be honest, Jesus said pray for your enemies and some times it seems that is our spouse. However, Jesus, King of the world, knew that when we pray for someone it becomes increasingly difficult to see them as an enemy. Therefore, the more you pray for your spouse, the more you think of them first. The more you think of them first, the more you put them first. The more you put them first, the more you love them more than yourself. The more you love them more than yourself, the more you love them like Christ loves the Church, the more you respect them, the more your trust them. Isn’t that the goal?

Disclaimer: I am no marriage expert! I have been married for 17 1/2 years. I know more today than I knew when we married. I will know more in the next 17 years than I know today. Most of what we have learned has been trial and error. I love my husband more today, than I did the day I married him and more than I loved him yesterday. He is a wonderful man….I married up 🙂 These are 10 practices that we honestly do in our marriage and I do believe they contribute to our happiness, although I hate it when he does #8 in the car and locks the windows!