I had one of those weeks – the kids were crazy, the house was a mess, I couldn’t finish even one task without getting interrupted. And, I took it all out on my husband.
As women, we’ve probably all been there. Pulled in too many directions, everyone needs a piece of us, and we can’t give anything or anyone 100%. By trying to be a good mom, we become a nightmare of a wife.
As Valentine’s Day wraps up, I’ve given this whole good wife/good mother dilemma some hard thought. And, I think the key to being both can be found in some of the simple lessons that we learn in preschool. So here they are: The 5 Preschool Lessons on Being a Good Wife and Mother.
No Whining: How do you feel when you pick your kids up from school and the first thing they start doing is whining and complaining? They don’t want to buckle their car seat, why do we have to go to the grocery store, they wanted Goldfish and you brought popcorn, and even worse, no snack at all. It’s enough to drive you bonkers! Now, put the shoe on the other foot and think about when your husband arrives home from work. Yes, the baby may not have slept during naptime and you’re exhausted. You spent the afternoon playing Candy Land, and you’re done with Gingerbread people. You’ve not been able to make a phone call, check email or even shower. Hubby come walks through the door and all you want to do is complain. Well, nobody likes a whiner. What if he had a horrible sales meeting, or his boss dumped a huge project on him? Traffic stunk, and lunch isn’t sitting so well. Do you want to hear that the moment he comes home? Didn’t think so. It may take effort some days, but focus on greeting your spouse with a smile, a hug or kiss and how about a “we’re glad you’re home?” There’s plenty of time for discussing the pits and peaks of the day – but as you know from carpool line, re-entry isn’t one of them.
Share: Even though you feel like no one can do anything without your help, we moms are not actually the center of the universe. We may go all day long without talking to an adult, so it’s all too easy to answer the phone when your spouse calls and launch into your monologue of the day’s events. But, what if you gave him a chance to share with you? After all, he called first. It not only shows you’re interested in what he has to say, but sharing is just plain nice. Let him go first, and you’ll get your turn next. It works on the swing set; it can work for you.
Practice the Buddy System: When your little ones go on that first field trip to the library, the zoo or their local dentist, you’ll see all these cute 3- and 4-year olds holding hands and doing “the Buddy System.” You’ve got your person, and you operate as a team. Well, marriage – and parenting – should follow the same path. Have his back, and he’ll have yours. Don’t play the old game of “well, Daddy forgot to put the sippy cup in the diaper bag” . . . “ or “Daddy was wrong when he said you could have chocolate pudding for snack.” You two are a team, holding each other’s hands, tagging in for reinforcements on parenting, life and whatever else comes your way. And as you learned in preschool, you don’t throw your Buddy under the bus. Yes, there may be missteps and mistakes along the way, but rather than letting your kids see your discord, discuss it later on – and get through the parenting moment at-hand, together.
You Get What You Get – and You Don’t Pitch a Fit: Some days, well, some days just stink. But, you know what, that’s the same for you, for your spouse, for the random stranger you see on the side of the road with the broken down car. But, you deal with it. Motherhood is messy and exhausting and fun and maddening and touching – often all at the same time. But, it’s a choice you’ve made and a journey you’re on. You take the good with the bad and go with it. Likewise, your husband’s day of dealing with work, traffic, phone calls, 200 emails – it’s not always a walk in the park. But it’s his walk in the park, and he has to manage it. And, on the flip side, some days are really, really awesome! So, don’t take the crummy ones out on each other – after all, you’re the one who is supposed to make his bad days better.
Make Good Choices: Being a good wife and a good mother can be hard to do, but the attitude we take and the choices we make can be the difference. Nagging, complaining, the sighs or never-ending “but I do more than you” argument are not good choices, and can end us in Time Out. Instead, think, consider, and put yourself in his shoes. Choose words and actions carefully, and when you’re upset, take a break, get some space, maybe even put yourself in Time Out.
Since the days of yore, parenthood has brought new stress into a marriage. But, it also brings new joy, new firsts, and well, new life. So, try your best to be a good mom – there’ll be good days and bad. But, regardless, don’t forget to dance with the one who “brung ya.” After all, his place is right next to you, every step of the way.