Since I started my adventure in motherhood back in 2010, I’ve always had a goal to keep things “strong” — physically, emotionally and mentally.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my share of mommy-meltdowns, but I remember admiring how strong my own mom was raising my sister and me.
She handled anything and everything. Our house ‘ran’ thanks to my mom. She worked. She cleaned. She cooked. She dressed cute. She ironed my dad’s shirts. She carted us to lessons. She never complained about being worn-down or worn-out. (Which is more than what I can say for most moms, including myself, these days.) But wow, what a real woman. S-T-R-O-N-G and fabulous.
So now that I’ve officially got two toddlers in tow, I’m gonna do the same thing, darn-it! I’m gonna be strong. S-T-R-O-N-G I tell you! We all know how incredible it feels when you finally figure it out, make a breakthrough with your kids, bust open that bedroom door, cook a tasty meal or triumph over a personal career goal you might be working on.
The only problem? I think my husband is getting used to it.
The stronger I try to be, the less help I get. I’m noticing it more and more. Being capable is a valuable and learned skill that takes practice and trial-and-error, but it’s also turning out to be a curse. I can hear the voice in his head: No need for me to help with bedtime.. she can handle it. No need for me to watch the girls for her to make a quick errand to the store… she can handle it. You get me? Based on friends’ stories (probably including some of your own) this is a common thing that all spouses experience?
It all hit me like a piercing alarm just recently. Literally — a piercing burglar alarm. My husband was traveling for over a week on a volunteer medical mission (a hobby that he’s been in love with since before I met him, and which I happen to think is pretty amazing). Like usual, I stayed at home with my girls by myself. All was perfectly fine (and exhausting, but that’s another story) until my burglar alarm erupted in the middle of the night. Around 1 am.
I was PETRIFIED. My girls screamed fear as I held each of them while trying to calm my pounding heart and punch in the code to disarm the alarm… before I cased our house (holding each of my girls in each arm) to make sure some psycho wasn’t trying to get in. I handled the situation and the alarm turned out to be a battery shortage… but what if it’s not a battery shortage next time?
told my husband what happened when we talked the next day (him being across the world and all) and he was concerned… but I don’t think he realized how scared we all were. Then I went all wifey on him and declared that this was his “last overseas mission!” for a while. (Keep in mind that when we first got married he went once every two years… now he goes about a twice a year.) I’ve built such a reputation with him about how I’m happy and confident to handle things as a ‘strong-mom’, but I think I’ve desensitized him to my vulnerabilities in the process. My learned capabilities at home with our kids have given him a freedom that I never predicted. Hm.
My husband is wonderful. WONDERFUL. (I seriously say my prayers every day for hitting the jackpot.) But the more I handle things at home, the more I find things getting piled higher and higher on my plate. Maybe I’ve approached this be-a-strong-mom thing all wrong?
Does being a strong mom suck?