I shared this post on our Facebook page the other day. The post is entitled, “To Wives: Before You Were ‘Mommy'”. It’s a really sweet read encouraging moms to remember their first true love and I really did enjoy it, I have nothing negative to say about it. It’s full of wisdom and care and she speaks the gospel truth, it’s a great post.
But over the past few days I haven’t been able to shake something about it that doesn’t sit well with me. I couldn’t quite pin point what until now.
I’m never NOT going to be mommy. For the rest of my life, I will be mommy. That means my husband and I are going to have to learn to adjust to our new normal. We can’t go back to pre-baby life. We can’t go back to the years of dating. But we can make this season as wonderful as those prior. How do we do that?
(photo credit to the amazingly talented Laura Vanderzee)
Let go of the expectation that things will ever be “like they used to”.
That’s gone. I don’t mean to be so negative, but it just is. Even when your kids are away from you, they’re on your minds. We all know that. I look forward to years of camp when our kids are gone for a week at a time, it sounds like heaven to me. But even then my heart will be thinking about them. Are they doing OK? Are they safe? Do they miss me? I miss them! A parent’s mind never stops thinking of their children. That’s the mark of a fantastic parent.
Expectations ruin things. Date nights just aren’t the same. They won’t ever be. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be a ton of fun! That doesn’t mean they aren’t even more enjoyable than before, because we understand what a luxury and freedom it is to steal away together and enjoy each other’s company. Time together can be even more wonderful than time before children, if we choose to experience it that way.
It’s OK if our children’s needs come before our own from time to time.
I’m prepared to face the firing squad here, but I believe this is true and that someone needs to hear this. My husband and I are adults. We are capable of reasoning unlike these little people we’ve created. We are able to assess the situation and understand what takes priority.
When both of our children are sick, my husband doesn’t come first. And he doesn’t expect to be first either. We both take the back seat while our children’s needs are highest priority. This doesn’t mean we love each other less, this doesn’t make us terrible spouses – it makes us normal.
Of course it’s dangerous to allow your children to be priority constantly, but we are both in agreement and understand the season we’re in. And that’s OK. That makes our time together all the more precious.
Fall in love with “mommy” and “daddy” as the new people we are.
We’ve changed. For the better. We are different people now, and I wouldn’t ever want to go back to before I was mommy. Watching my husband change diapers, burp, clean up vomit and wipe bottoms is honestly one of the sexiest things in the world. Seeing my daughter melt into his arms when he walks in the door is one of the highlights of my day.
I love my husband more now that he carries the title “daddy”. I believe he loves me more now that I am “mommy”. Maybe our love doesn’t look as romantic as it once did, but it is deeper and more meaningful than it has ever been. Take the time to learn your new roles and fall in love with each other all over again – and fall harder!
Embracing My Marriage NOW
It’s absolutely important to remember the love you shared before you had children. But what is often implied is that spouses should long for the husband or wife of their past or future. Which is to say the spouse of now is not worth fully embracing, in whichever season their family is in. Endearing moments of the past can be fun and even relationally helpful from time to time, but the spouse who absent-mindedly lives in the head of the past or future fails to take necessary stock in the life they are living. This IS what sweetens the memories.
Memories of “our former selves” would not be enticing if they weren’t riddled with two people ridiculously sold out to the moment. So be sold out, but not too much to the past, not too much to the marriage of 50 years – to the marriage of now. Sell out for the season and embrace it with all the quirks and difficulties. It will sweeten both the memory and experience of it all. It’s what makes those soul gazing stares into the aged eyes of your gray-headed spouse so rich and meaningful. So remember, it’s just as important to embrace the new season you’re in together and learn how to share that love in new, fun ways.