Tag Archives: mom

Married with Kids – It’s OK Not to Like Your Spouse Sometimes.

This piece originally appeared on Perfection Pending.

This is what being married with kids looks like – sometimes you don’t like each other and that’s okay.

Sometimes, I think back to the first couple of years after my husband and I got married. It was so… easy. We didn’t fight like many newlyweds might, over who should take care of dinner or why there were clothes left on the floor next to the hamper. However, when we started having kids, we realized the times of things being quite that simple were over.

For starters, we were exhausted. Correction: we are exhausted. There hasn’t been a day (that wasn’t some sort of child-free vacation) that has gone by since 2012 that both of us have felt “well-rested”. Either one of us gets the rest, or neither of us do. Which, as you can imagine, leads to some stress in our household, and our relationship.

But what we’ve figured out (and learned from wise friends) is this: even though some days you don’t like each other, it’s important to still love each other, and furthermore, to show it.

You have to prioritize your marriage, even though in a lot (let’s be honest, most) situations, you’ve got to put your kid – or all your kids – first. Their needs seem more pressing (butt-wiping, feeding them, keeping them from falling off ledges, you know the drill) and so you neglect the other relationship in the household while you’re meeting the more immediate needs – or simply, the ones that are shouting at you more loudly.

You see, there are more than a few reasons to take care of your marriage, even when it means putting aside the other stuff for a little while at a time.

One of the most, if not THE MOST  important reason to show the love, spread the love, and take care of your marriage even after you have kids is because those kids are always watching.

You’re setting the number one example of a marriage in their eyes, and you want it to be a positive and healthy one, right? Set an example for them of the importance of marriage, the teamwork it requires, and the love that it stems from. Show them a healthy relationship so they know what it looks like. Even have healthy disagreements in front of them sometimes; they need to know about that, too. They don’t need to see only the “good stuff” or they’ll have unrealistic expectations. Healthy dialogue, PDA (yes, affection is important to show!) and the importance of spending time alone together are important things for your kids to know about!

Among the myriad of other reasons to nourish your relationship with your spouse, I think the next biggest reason is this: one day, your kids will be grown and live in their own homes, and it’ll be just you and your spouse. Again. Alone.

Don’t wait until then to try to fall deeper in love with your spouse.

Don’t wait until there’s not the glue of parenting young children binding you.

Don’t wait until your lives have been growing apart for years to really cherish your relationship with your spouse.

I won’t say that won’t work – but I will say I bet that it’s harder that way. Communicate with your spouse, about big stuff and small stuff. Practice honesty – even when it hurts.

Say “I’m sorry.” and “I forgive you.” Do the easier things too, like dating your spouse! Have date nights or early breakfast together. Chat on the phone when you’re in the car. Send sweet text message to each other during the day.

Take a weekend away somewhere from time to time if it’s possible for you. Those things aren’t reserved for “dating” relationships unless you let that happen. “Dating” your spouse is a way to rekindle, reconnect, and intertwine your lives again when you feel like you haven’t been so “together” recently.

Make time in your schedule and room in your heart for your spouse. Even when you’re exhausted, feeling frumpy, and thinking it’s the last thing you want to do. Chances are, you’ll be so glad you did. Make sure to kiss, to chat, to hold hands, and to have sex! Those things are important… Don’t let them wait until the kids are gone.

A Good Friday Prayer

Tonight, I helped lead worship at my church’s Good Friday service, as I’ve done for the past few years. It’s a truly beautiful service, somber, quiet, slow… but not without hope. Our pastors do an incredible job of planning this evening full of dramatic lighting, powerful songs, and the last words of Jesus as he prepared to give his life, and as he hung on the cross. It’s haunting.

When I got home, I was still in the mood the service had left me in. I was lost in thought, as I had been on and off all day. Good Friday has always been a sobering day for me. But as I put my youngest son to bed, I started to sing him one of the songs we had sung in the service. It’s appropriately called “Passion Song”, written by some friends of our worship pastor. (Click that link. It will bless your soul to hear it.) It’s based on John’s view of how Jesus’s last week went down. The pastor who spoke just before the song presented it perfectly, emphasizing how Jesus was John’s very best friend, the only person who had ever known him so completely. Here are the words, so you can see the powerful emotion packed in them…

I was with Him when He rode into town
And the crowds gathered round Him like a King
Their smiling faces joined a sea of branches waving
Though they were masquerading in the end

And my heart rose in my throat
When I heard them sing
Hosanna in the highest
Oooh oooooh oh

We went upstairs broke the bread and drank the wine
From the only living vine that we would taste
And I watch them take Him up the mountainside
Where He was crucified though innocent
And they mocked Him and cursed Him with their mouths
And told Him to come down if He was God

And my heart broke in my chest
When I heard Him say
Forgive them it is finished
Oooh oooooh oh

I remember in the garden
When He sweat like drops of blood
And how He begged the Father
Just to let Him pass the cup
I can still feel the anguish
When they pierced Him in the side
And how the ground beneath us shook
Upon the very moment that He died
Oooh ooh oh oh oh

Three days later we found an empty grave
And the stone was rolled away where He had been

Tears of joy streamed down my face
When the angel said
Oh fear not He is risen
Oh fear not He is risen
Oooh ooh ooh oooh oh oh oooh

You can see how this song would be lingering in my psyche, right? So I’m singing it to my son, as I’m settling him in for bed. And when I finally wipe the (my) tears away, and get to his goodnight prayer, I began to pray like always, and for some reason, I was led to utter the words, “…and thank You for giving Your Son. I could never give my son.”

And I cried some more.

You see, the sacrifice is beyond what any one of us could do. In the Old Testament, Abraham was told to sacrifice his son. Whether he would’ve (or could’ve) actually gone through with it we’ll never know. There was a ram in the thicket, and God was preparing, even then, to give His very own son to save the world. Jesus willingly gave his life to pave the way for us to enter into fellowship with his Father. One of our pastors this evening titled it “a beautiful exchange”. His life for ours. What else could possibly be a better exchange for us?

When You Wake, I Will Snuggle You. 

I began this post in the middle of the night one night, up with a cranky baby, who eventually fell asleep on my chest, breathing slow and deep in the nursery. I finished it up, and submitted it to a few places, but it was never published on any site but my own.

Life is fleeting.

Children grow quickly. Things happen fast. When you look back, you’re always surprised to see how much has happened.

So when you wake, little one, in the middle of night, I will snuggle you. I’ll be tired; don’t doubt that. It will be hard, at first, to pull my groggy self out of bed. I’ll complain a little. I’ll stumble into your room.  I’ll scoop you up, sniff right behind your ear, and settle into our chair.

It’s the same chair, you know, that I nestled into with your brother and your sister. I’ve spent hours and hours in this chair. The time probably amounts to days or even weeks, actually. But I’m not sad. I’ve loved those moments. Snuggling, nursing, rocking, booty-patting, back-rubbing and snoozing, all done for long, delicious moments with three gorgeous, cuddly, sleeping (or sleepless) babes in this same chair. I knew even then that the moments were numbered. You would not always need me like this. Want me like this.

But times have changed, and in the best way. You are independent. You are doing many things on your own, playing happily alone, communicating with others, asking for what you want, and showing me you aren’t as helpless as you once were. But in the dark of night, waking from your sleep, you cry out. And I hear you. Unsteady and dazed though I may be, I rouse myself from my warm bed, groaning with effort and sleep, and struggle across the hall to your room. When I open the door, there’s just more darkness, but I know exactly where you are. I reach down, and feel your tiny arms reaching for me. You knew I was coming for you, even before I got there.

That’s how we are made, you and I. We know that we’ll find the other, in dark of night, in the depths of our exhaustion. I will find you, love you, snuggle you. No matter how old you get, when you need me, I will come. Regardless of the reason, or direness of need, I will be there when you need me. And for now, when you wake, I will snuggle you.

This post is part of my NaBloPoMo, where I publish a piece every day in November. I brought this one up from the depths of old drafts, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Looking for Patience and Grace

This post appeared on MyBigJesus.com

I’m constantly reminding myself to chill out. I’m always noticing a pan that didn’t get washed well enough, or seeing that J’s third shirt (of the morning) is dirty, or remembering something I forgot to do, or… you get the point. I immediately want to freak out at these things. My life is full of messes I can’t clean up and accidents I can’t prevent. O ye of little patience, I am your leader.

Being a parent, a wife, a human, is a lesson in patience for me. Being a teacher for six years was as well. I’m all about some deep breathing, counting to ten, and clasping my hands very tightly in my lap. Patience is the biggest thing for which I’m constantly asking God. Sure, I say it different ways: “Help me get through this traffic without succumbing to my Atlanta-bred road rage!” or “Help me not to yell at EK for spilling the sunflower seeds all over the floor because I know she didn’t mean to.” I come by it honestly; I can be high-strung and short-tempered (just like my parents – sorry, Mom and Dad). Hubby is a saint for putting up with me. But I don’t want my kids to grow up afraid of me because I lurch quickly into frustration. I don’t want them to have memories of me flying off the handle over small stuff. But how exactly do I extend the patience and grace that have been extended to me?

Hubby is a wonderful example for me in patience.  When I said he’s a saint, I was serious. He is able to absorb my craziness and let it go. He shows me endless support, patience and grace for my quick temper and my OCD nature. I see his patience with the kids and with me, and I know I can try harder to give others (okay fine, my kids) a little more grace.

I don’t have it perfected yet by any means, but I start by repairing my thought life. Toxic thoughts just multiply unless I change them. Changing the way I think changes the way I react. Changing the way I react changes how I feel. Often, if I have no patience in a situation, I notice it immediately, and then I get angry with myself for having no patience! It’s a vicious cycle if left alone. However, if I can wait, change the way I’m thinking – extend a little grace and a little patience – it makes all the difference in the world. When I feel like I have no patience or grace to give, I sit back for a moment, and draw from the boundless stores we’re blessed with every moment of every day.

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