Saturday, September 01, 2007

Appreciating what I have, part two

Yesterday I was not so loving toward my husband. He came home, happily telling me all about a conference he might go to in St. Louis...for 4 days...with attractive, accomplished female colleagues for company.

Stained-shirt-SAHM insecurity reared its ugly head. "Oh, great! I will really enjoy doubling my workload while you eat out in restaurants with other women! You do realize that I haven't had a day alone in over a year!" (I won't go on. I'm not proud of it, but you moms know what I said.)

I am happily married. I love being a mom. And apart from blogging, I rarely indulge in "me time"--or in complaining about the lack thereof. Even I was surprised at the sudden outburst.

Well, God showed me. A couple of hours later, I sat in the football stands, holding my one-year-old on my lap. A teenage mother sat next to me, holding her own one-year-old. I was flooded with shame.

I live a life of luxury and security compared to that young woman. Every day at home with my children is free time. Me time. Lord, help me not take that for granted ever again.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've sure had my times like this, too ,Meredith. My husband is a pipefitter, and has frequently traveled and worked long, extended hours through the years that left me home alone with all the little ones and no break. For me, the best thing to do when those times came is to stop the normal routine and shake things up a bit, and do something that's fun and refreshing to my spirit. I don't know if your Andrew is in school yet, but if not, take some little day trips while your husband is gone, and do something that you don't normally have the time to do. Up here, all the seasonal apple orchards are getting into full swing, and spending the day at some of the big ones is a lot of fun. We eat lunch out, play in the massive children's area, drink apple cider and eat cider dounuts... you get the idea. I have found that doing something fun like this, even if there are other, normal things that I "should" be doing, really helps me not to feel sorry for myself, refreshes me, and helps me be excited for the opportunities my husband has rather than resenting them. Hope that helps a little!
Susan

Jane said...

Meredith, Thanks for being so honest! What a wonderful privilage to be able to stay with our children and be able to make a nice home for our husbands to come home to! Your joyful, sweet, grateful spirit will be more attractive to your husband than any female colleague! (But I am sure he has already told you that himself)

Thanks for your work on the blog. I love it. Have a great weekend.

Jane

Meredith said...

Thanks, Susan, you always have an encouraging word!

I'm just lucky he doesn't have to travel often. I just wanted to share my little attitude check, because I know other SAHMs who read this may understand the feeling.

martha said...

Oh honey, I can relate. Both to the jealousy, and to the embarrassment after venting. Been there, done that. Be easy on yourself.

When my husband is on such a trip, I: get chick flicks from the library, sleep in whatever comfortable thing I like, eat one meal each day that makes no sense at all. When the kids were small, I'd let them camp out with me in my bedroom. I'd try to turn it all into a big treat, and put a happy face on it, then get quite lovely for hubby's return. Because I didn't want to look like a pouty frump after he'd spent all that time with business women on their best behavior.

I also prayed alot. We're working on 28 good years. Best wishes to you, dear.

Cat from Scaling Back said...

It's hard not to keep score sometimes, isn't it?

Alexandra said...

Been there...my husband works very long hours and sometimes it wears on me. When I feel myself falling to pieces that means I need to get out and have a change of pace. Nothing big, just a little something different. I agree with Susan...changing the routine and doing something fun and spontaneous does wonders. The house work can wait.

Janya said...

what a beautiful realization.

nea said...

been there, done that, too. it happens to every mom, not just SAHMs. both the lack of "me" time and the mini meltdows about being overwhelmed. my mom would say "it is part of your [mom] contract!"
hang in there. i am sure your husband understood!

Mrs Pea said...

Oh yes, your words could have been mine - except my dh works only with men. I'm thankful for your "wake up call" because it became mine too. As we get ready to add another child to our family - not a tiny baby but 6mo - and all the adoption and attachment issues raise their head, and our 3 1/2 yos is wanting breast milk and to be carried and no longer able to talk - I am so overwhelmed. I feel that home is my prison. That dh is the lucky one.

Ahem. I needed some clarity and you shared yours with me. Thanks.

The Gibbs Family said...

You mean I'm not the only one that's felt that way?!

We are truly blessed.

Lu said...

Oh goodness! I've had those outburst before and I'm never been proud of them....My husband works long hours (and works a second job) and sometimes I say things that I know don't build him up or encourage him. I feel bad and I know its selfish, but I do think that sometimes sitting down and having a talk about, "I gotta get out of here" is what it takes. My husband has never offered me a day away, so I've gotta ask! :) Thank you for your honesty...and your fantastic realization! I need to read this post several times a week!!! Hee Hee!

ann said...

I had times when my kids were younger that I felt this way. We're only human! It's good that you were quickly able to recongnize what a true blessing being a stay at home wife and mom really is. I so miss the years that my kids were small and needy. Time flies by in the blink of an eye. Try to treasure each moment!

Anonymous said...

SAHM- It's the best and hardest job you will ever have. ( Me too) But the rewards are the best and besides everyone deserves a bad day, even you. Enjoy your blog. It has been an inspiration to me!
God Bless you!
Suzeq

WesternWarmth said...

Thank you, I needed that.

Rebecca said...

Maybe it is pregnancy hormones, but your post brought tears to my eyes. What a blessing that the Lord opened your eyes {and mine too for that matter}. Thanks for the great reminder about something that so many of us take for granted!

It's a Mom Thing said...

Perspective. It's all about perspective. Thanks for sharing your lesson learned with the rest of us. The Lord knows I need that reminder pretty often! I'm so thankful that my husband encourages me to spend some time on "me" while he hangs out with his little girl. It sure is refreshing.

Marianna said...

Oh Meredith, I've certainly had the same outbursts! When both of our children were infants and toddlers my husband worked horrendous hours, attended many evening conferences etc. It's difficult not to feel sorry for oneself...until you see that relatively speaking life is pretty good.

Thank you for visiting me and commenting on my house quote!

Anonymous said...

Meredith,
You are one of the most grace-filled people I've ever encountered. I don't mean this to sound nasty at all, but honestly while I'm sure seeing that teenagegirl with the baby did inspire you to be thankful, don't forget that of course one doesn't know her circumstances, but in all likelihood she may have made poor choices that lead to that circumstance. Obviously, so did the Father (and of course, like I said one never knows another person's circumstance).

What I am getting at is - while it's great that was a motivation to you to be thankful, in no way does that render it obsolete that you, like any other human, occassionally wants 'me time'. One would have to be a robot to not want that.

By the grace of God and by the good choices you have made in your life, you are where you are. Don't forget that a big part of that is the good choices you've made. There are consequences, as that person may well be experiencing, for poor choices.

My point in all of this is just to say, there is nothing wrong with wanting some down time, some alone time. Jesus even seemed to need time alone, away from everyone else. If he needed it, then I imagine everyone else certainly does.

You are a huge blessing to so many, myself included, with your graceful attitude and gentle encouragement and light-heartedness! THank you!

Anonymous said...

good post Meredith. I needed the perspective you received and passed on. Thanks, Deb Meyers.

Homeschool Housewife said...

Wow! I needed this post today. I have had some of those "poor overworked under appreciated me" feelings lately. And sad to say I have been taking them out on everyone.

You are so right, life is hard, but we women who have husbands that support our staying home are so fortunate. Our husbands work so hard and give up their "me" time so we can be the moms we are.

Thanks so much for the post!

Jenni said...

My dh is a truck driver. After 11 years of dealing with him being gone and knowing he has to go, I still throw a tantrum every now and then.

I do have to remind myself how lucky I am to be home with my children and remember how hard it must be in him to leave us. I should learn to hold my tongue more often, he really does a wonderful job supporting us and never complains.

I totally relate:)

nannykim said...

I think I must be the weird one; I have always enjoyed it when my husband goes away for a few days because I can have a little more freedom in my schedule. Like the first comment said --I feel free to do something different. I can plan dinner at a different time; I can just be a little more flexible. It also makes both of us apppreciate each other even more when we have spent a bit of time apart. God Bless.

Mrs. Pivec said...

Wow! A brief and powerful post. My dh does not travel, so I don't share those exact sentiments, but I *do* need attitude checks often (even if it's just my own stewing and not said out loud). Thanks for the terrific reminder!

I just spent too much time on my own last post, but thank you for stopping by and I can see that my first line of business next time I log on will be to peruse your own home here. Girl, you are prolific!! :)

So nice to meet you! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Meredith,

I am a female businesswoman. I'm 31, single, and every day trying to fit Proverbs 31 into my life out in the workplace. Many days I ask/beg God if I could please be the SAHM!

It's tough out there everyday. And not so glamorous many times. In fact, many of my Christian co-workers and their wives have no idea that watching their marriages gives me something to work and pray and hope for someday. That is why I read your blog.

Thanks.

stephanie@{Olive Tree} said...

I've recently watched a friend's son several times - the son of one of our youth girls that came home from her first year of college pregnant ... you are so right on with this post. A good reminder for all of us, me as well, as I watch this precious little boy whose mama is working two jobs to cover everything...

Jenny's Vegcafe said...

Meredith,

My husband travels a lot for his job too (and often with other women that he works with) so I know exactly what you mean! And I have ripped him up a new one too and felt the same shame you have felt. Oh my word, it is such a blessing to stay home but, in the same sense it can get so lonesome and frustrating.
But, if you can I would suggest you go with him. Not to the conference-- but, to St. Louis. The zoo is free and it is wonderful. There are so many kid friendly things to do here. Or maybe just stay at the hotel and enjoy the cable and swimming pool is there is one.
My family just finished a day at Grant's Farm today and we're all happily tuckered out from it. Dh is busy nuking potatoes and veggie dogs for dinner. I am blessed.
And so are you!

Angela said...

This post was beautiful in the end Meredith. :) I second the idea to go with him if you can sometimes. We go with my husband on the long trips when he doesn't have to fly. We bring food for the mini-fridge in the hotel, enjoy the pool and exploring a new area. Your husband will probably love falling into bed with you at night while away from home after a busy day at the conference. Even if he has late dinner meetings, you at least get to see a new place and see him in the mornings and while you sleep. :)

My Boaz's Ruth said...

I am coming up on the end of my maternity leave -- and dreading it. Because of the way things are right now, I have to go back to work and leave my husband (who I love dearly. But I still feel a bit jealous of!) at home to be the SAHD for our son for his first two years of life while he finishes his training to get his teaching certification.

I know being a SAHM is hard, having to handle the kids by yourself, etc. I have very much appreciated having my wonderful husband home at this point to help out. But I would give anything to be able to be the one to stay at home with my babies while my husband went out to work.

Scribbit said...

I've felt similar things--it's so easy to feel as if they're out doing glamorous stuff and I'm hanging out with the kids.

But it says something about your character that you recognized your mistake. That's really admirable.

Steph said...

Thank you for that. I've been feeling "entitled" a bit lately and that really humbled me. :) :) :)

Frugal Disney Mom said...

I am not a married mom..a divorced mom. Who had those same thoughts in different way. I see the teenage moms or the young moms and when I can try and give them a helping hand or a hug. I remember those days when I needed one.

Meredith said...

Frugal Disney Mom, I didn't mean to imply that I felt shame for the teenaged mom...I felt shame that I could complain about a lifestyle which others would love to have.

Anonymous said...

Your post really humbled me as I'm guilty of the same things. I'm married to a wonderful man and I should step back and think before speaking and be grateful that I can stay at home. Thank you for your post. :)

Anonymous said...

You know I understand all to well what you are saying. My own husband was a Marine for more than 20 years. Talk about gone...well let me tell you he had so many deployments of 6 months I can not begin to count them. If he was gone just six months we (his family) could not go with him. Well, often these deployments would be longer than 6 months because his time would get extended. Those were hard years. I felt like a single mom most of the time. It was not like it is today with e-mail and cell phones either. An example, in 1980 he was in Japan...one phone call from him was more than $100.00 for a call less than 30 minutes long. Oh how I ached to talk to him and tell him about what was going on with our boys. I could not. Let me tell you that I was NOT a good wife then. I wrote him some awful letters and complained loud and long about what the Marines were doing to our marriage...etc. well, I hung on. It was not easy, but I did it. I love my husband, he is my best friend. I learned I can tell him anything and though he might not understand it, he will try to understand and he will LISTEN to me. I am sure that YOUR husband is the same way. He might work with pretty ladies, he might go on trips and eat lunch with these other ladies, but he will come home to you. Remember that. He chose you. You are his best friend.
Remember to treat yourself once in a while. Let him take care of his children and you go spend the day with girl pals and lunch and just be yourself. Do what you like to do. It does not have to cost much, just getting away from the 'normal' day to day can make a huge difference in your outlook. You are blessed. You have great talent. You have a beautiful home, a happy marriage and wonderful children. Count those blessings.
Take care. Reading your blog is an inspiration to many. Roxie

Anonymous said...

I don't think I ever felt guilty for those outbursts ... they were a wake-up call for my DH. Otherwise, he'd go happily forward, not realizing that I was hanging on to sanity by the tips of my fingernails!

I remember one weekend tirade when I told him top weekend priority was NOT house repairs; NOT outings. Top priority was for me to get some SLEEP.

Was my outburst over-emotional? Yes. But we starting making a rested mom a priority ... and that was a good, necessary thing.

Little kids are charming -- and draining.

Jora

Green Tea & Kimchee said...

Dear Roxie,

I hear you! I applaud you for your committment and dedication to an active duty military member. I am consistently amazed at the strength I witness during a spouse's deployment.

Please tell your husband "Thank you!" for his service to his country.

mama k said...

An important lesson! An attitude of gratitude is so important.

However, I don't think being thankful and taking time for yourself are mutally exclusive. We all need to recharge and have a break sometimes. Otherwise that resentment builds up and you have an outburst on your hands.

Taking good care of your kids' mom is one of the best things you can do for them.

Jeana said...

I see I'm not the only one who appreciated this post! I really loved how real you were here, and humble. And the perspective at the end is priceless.

katie g said...

15 month deployment.
One-year-old daughter.

Goslyn said...

What a beautiful reminder to be thankful for the ability to be a SAHM. I often struggle with the same issue, especially since my husband usually works very long hours.

Thanks, Meredith.