Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 28: Husband...What Husband?

I will choose to find a positive perspective under even the most negative circumstances.
I will choose acceptance over resistance.
I will choose to focus on the things I value about my children, not the things that drive me nuts.
I will choose to extend the same grace, love and forgiveness to myself that I try to lavish on my husband and children each day.
Jackson seems to be revisiting the climbing and home exploration stage. He's been traveling the house with his chair as a step stool, getting into anything he can safely assume is off-limits. Last night's project was to retrieve candles - our unity candle and the two taper candles used to light it at our wedding - from the living room shelf. The activity that followed was drenched in symbolism, so much so that all I could do was smile, take a picture, and write about it.

We had a few child-free friends over, and Jackson was enjoying moving into the room to share the pretend coffee he had made, then out when he'd had enough commotion for a little while. During one of his excursions away from the group, he grabbed the candle unnoticed. When he re-entered, candle in hand, he was quite excited about this new treasure he had found. I weighed the joy he was getting out of it, the time it would take to talk through putting it back, and the fact that it was a fifty cent candle from a craft store. I explained that if he bonked it on things it would break, then let him go ahead and play with it. Needless to say, the candle ended up broken in several places.

My husband apparently thought that this was no reason to get rid of the candle, so it made its way back to its holder where I noticed it this morning. Although in his defense I'm sure he was just scared that throwing away something from our wedding would be met with disapproval. 

This picture couldn't be more fitting: The carefree engagement pictures pushed to the side and our broken wedding candle in the background with Jackson front and center. A picture really is worth a thousand words!

I never thought I'd be the mom consumed by her children. I was so madly in love with my husband that there was no way anyone could take his place. Then I actually became a mom. I found out that I was biologically programmed to fall hopelessly in love with this little person who, though a product of our loving marriage, threatened to intrude on it. I found out that this tiny being needed me so intensely, and rewarded me so wonderfully when I responded to those needs that caring for him became my sole focus. I found out it wasn't as simple as I had thought it would be to prioritize my marriage over motherhood.

Two years and another baby later, I'm still madly in love with my husband - and still struggling to put us first. He can feed himself, clothe himself, bathe himself, even go potty on his own. He doesn't need me like they do. But that doesn't mean he doesn't need me.

Ultimately, there's nothing my children need more than to be part of a loving, secure family, and our marriage is what provides them that. By loving my husband, I'm loving my children, and by prioritizing our marriage, I'm meeting their needs and ours. This is hard to remember and even harder to put into practice, especially when I already feel like there's not enough of me to go around for just the two kids! But I know that being connected to my husband energizes me and makes us a better team, so expending energy on him comes back to me (and the whole family) ten-fold in the end.

So I will plan date nights; Max will survive a few hours without me. I will greet him with enthusiasm when he comes home, no matter how long and hard my day has been. And I will stop dominating our conversations with kid-talk so that we can connect on other non-parent levels. He's every woman's dream and for some reason he chose to be with me. The least I can do is love him well in return.


  1. So, I've been trying to read your blog in order, but skipped ahead to this one because of it being linked on facebook.
    The idea of putting our marriage first has been one I have struggled with since having children, and my ideas have evolved over time and with different children and different circumstances. Here is where I'm at now :)

    The biggest thing I now try to keep in mind - when we were dating we connected while doing things together and we enjoyed talking even if the time we could do so was limited. Then the things we were doing together were recreational, that has changed. Now we are still blessed with the opportunity to do things together, it just can be harder to see it. What we do together now is mostly parenting. Our recreation comes as a family, but it is still time spent together, if we choose to see it as such. Our time spent alone together is often limited now to brief encounters, but that makes us notice and take advantage of them more.
    Date nights can be nice, but they are not necessary, and not worth upsetting a child with. Eventually, and sooner with some children than others, all children will be happy even when their parents leave. I learned how much personality effects this with my first two. Johnathan was ready to be left alone without one his significant caregivers before Kathrine was - not just at a younger age - really before she was. There are a lot of reasons I think played into this, but the largest one was personality.
    I have come to recognize that if I choose to be what my child is most attached to, and if I discourage their dependence on security articles such as "blankies" or "lovies," then I need to be there when they need security. It doesn't take long (only a few years) for them to learn they can get that security from other people as well. And isn't that a lesson worth learning.
    So, we take babies on dates with us, and then once they are no longer happy to sit in our laps as we talk, we have family dates for a year or two or three, and eventually we realize that its amazing how much they've grown, and yep, we're still here and those stolen minutes in the middle of the night, or the afternoon, and that communication - even when mostly by phone, e-mail, or text message - has been enough - and our kids are connected, not just to me - to both of us.

    And now I'd really like to go back and proof read this - but kids are waking, and the baby in lap giving me the excuse to stay here is probably ready to lay back down. So I am sorry if this makes no sense or is disjointed. :)


  2. I appreciate your experienced input! As each child is different, I think each husband and wife is different too. I find that I'm not capable (haven't learned yet?) of focusing on my husband and the needs of our marriage or anything non-child related with a child present. Dates with babies don't leave either of us feeling more connected, probably because of this. It's something I'm working on, but in the meantime I see that our children are capable of an occasional few hours away with loving grandparents without damaging the attachment we're creating. Family dates sound fun! I better keep working on my end of it :)