Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Supporting Your Husband: a Dose of Perspective

Perhaps you have a number of items on your "to do" list this time of year that revolve about creating the perfect Christmas for people, whether that be buying gifts, making gifts, sending out the perfect Christmas card photo, or decorating your house to the max. I know many women who, like myself, enjoy making things for people and are also on a budget. For us, Christmas "to do" lists seem larger than life: make Christmas stockings for the kids next week, make candy for Johnny's Sunday School teacher this weekend, buy the Christmas tree TONIGHT because it's on sale, decorate said Christmas tree TOMORROW because Christmas party is THIS WEEKEND, wrap secret Santa present for hubby's work TODAY, order photo cards THIS WEEK so they'll get in the mail on time, and on and on and on....

Where are our families in all this mess? Specifically, where is your husband? It's easy at any time of the year to start grumbling and complaining about being a stay at home mom, watching enviously as hubby drives off to work BY HIMSELF in that car with a glorious commute to work that doesn't involve any little voices whining, saying "Mommy," and pointing out every single last dump truck on the way. But think about it for a minute: yes, your husband may get more "alone time" than you. Yes, he can run in the store for something quick and not have to load/unload children. Yes, he gets to work out on his way home from work. Yes, he gets to have adult conversation any time he wants it.

BUT, we stay-at-home moms have some things that are just as good--and probably which our husbands envy. Instead of complaining this season about all that you have to do, think about the following:

  • Is your to do list full of things YOU have decided and/or want to do? How many of them can you farm out to others or... just not do? What is really essential for your family's celebration of our Lord's birth? (If you need a reality check here, go read Little House on the Prairie).
  • Your mental to do list is rarely created by outside deadlines. If you don't get the laundry done today, who's really going to care? In contrast, if your husband doesn't meet his work deadlines on time, there can be real issues. I can guarantee that you and your hard-working husband both have stress and his is probably worse--his is put on by outside forces whereas ours is often self-created.
  • When you're "stuck at home" all day long, do you sit down and check your email? Read a blog? Call a friend? Work on a sewing project here and there? Plan your garden for next year? Work on a craft with your child? Bake some cookies for the fun of it? Go outside to play with your kids? All of those things are not only optional, but usually they are for the sake of enjoyment. How many times does your husband, while at work, get to talk on the phone to a friend? Take a quick walk for some fresh air? Have some freshly baked cookies? Spend quality time with a family member? Probably not very often.
  • Are you still "working" when your husband gets home? If so, then I'd suggest that you cross off some items from that to do list without doing them. I try very hard not to keep working after my husband gets home from work. I make sure the kitchen is cleaned up (often doing as many dishes before we eat as possible) and the kids are in bed. That is it. Sometimes, I'll fold laundry if we're watching a TV show. If I work on a crafty project, my Bible study, or something like that in the evening, I try my hardest to make sure it's a night when he'll be home late or he has to work from home (he used to work from home more when he was a professor; thankfully he doesn't bring much work home anymore). I do not stay up late baking cookies, writing thank you notes, doing housework, etc. in lieu of spending time with my husband.
Ladies, don't let your Christmas wishes/hopes/to do lists take away from your time with your husband. Don't you think he's feeling the stress of working hard in order to pay for the perfect Christmas? Make sure you include him in things if he's interested. Save decorating the tree or making that gingerbread house with the kids until the weekend so he can take part. RELAX about all of your personal deadlines. If the Christmas cards are late, so what. Making Christmas meaningful and "fun" for our families includes making it that way for our husbands as well as making it that way for our kids.


Bridgette Boudreaux said...

Thanks for giving us some perspective in this area! During this time of year we can forget who and what really matters!

Harmony said...

I have just come accross your blog and am thoroughly enjoying it. I am at the opposite end of the family spectrum to you. I am a stay at home Gramma...awaiting a husband to decide to retire. There are days when I have those very thoughts you describe in your post today.
Thank you for giving me a fresh reminder. My Mom died many years ago and she would say those same words you speak...thank you so much for this.
I hope you don't mind, but I think I will be following your blog.