Why does being a wife and a mother all have to seem so difficult? People make it look so easy! Or you see a couple fighting or doing something that society deems are signs they are in trouble and you think “I’m glad me and my significant other are nothing like that.” or you see an unruly child and think “My children will never be like that.” But in reality all of this is normal. There is no such thing as a PERFECT couple or a PERFECT child. You can’t just get married and think all of your problems are going to disappear and you can’t follow a strict set of rules and believe your child won’t misbehave. Like everything, it all takes a hell of a lot of hard work and trial and error.
I haven’t been married for a year yet and I already feel like a failure half the time. I’ve been a mother for 12 weeks and I feel like I stink at being a parent. I set myself up for failure when I hold myself to unrealistic goals. My husbands mother raised 10 children! Stayed at home, homeschooled all of them while her husband worked and she kept the house in order. I can’t even manage doing the dishes half the time while keeping up with a baby, let alone having dinner ready at a reasonable time. Or many of my husbands siblings have 4+ children and I feel like I have standards I need to live up to. There are these amazing women in my new family, super humans in my opinion, that I want to be like! Some of them know I’m nothing like them, some of them don’t even like me all that much! And I know that and I want to be better. I want to be someone who they want to know and talk to and think is an amazing mother and wife to their brother. I want them to accept me.
But I’m not perfect. Not by any standards. I was raised by a single, working mother who didn’t know how to be a mother at all. So I went to school and stayed in ‘after school’ until 5/6pm when my mother or nanny could come pick me up. Most of the time it was a nanny because my mother usually didn’t get home till about 7pm. When she did finally get home, children were the last thing she wanted to deal with. So what do I know? I know all of the things you shouldn’t do. But I didn’t even learn how to cook or do my own laundry until college! I wasn’t forced to do chores like cleaning my room or doing the dishes, the nanny did those things. So I’m not neat or organized. I hate cleaning, honestly. So my house isn’t very clean. It’s not dirty, but my husband is embarrassed by the state our house is in. Like I said… I feel like a failure. I’ve made progress, but having your husband tell you that you need to do better is so…. painful to hear. Why does being a housewife have to be so difficult for me?!
And don’t even get me started on parenthood! “Don’t use these diapers!” “Only use this kind of shampoo/lotion!” “Don’t let them touch that!” “Don’t get your child vaccinated!” “Make sure you get your child vaccinated!” “Be careful for Zika!” “Your child might be under developed mentally” “Is she choking or coughing?!” “Is she breathing!?” Everything you think is right is wrong and everything you think is wrong is right. Or at least that’s how it seems. It’s definitely a learning experience, but most parents compare where their child is at to where other children are.”My friends baby is rolling over, my child should be doing that.” But don’t think about the fact that these babies are 2 months apart. We also don’t consider that every child is different, that every child learns at their own pace. We just see that our child isn’t where another is and think something is wrong with them. Doctors do it too. “Oh, your child can’t hold it’s head up yet? Well most children their age can, so you are clearly doing something wrong!” The key word there is most. Not all. Your child won’t stop crying and you immediately think you are doing something terribly wrong. You don’t think about the fact that sometimes children just cry for no reason. But then… They will smile at you. Just for talking to them. Or they will cling to you when you hold them and you never want to put them down.
Just because these things happen doesn’t mean you are a failure. So you didn’t have the laundry washed and folded by the time your husband came home. So what? Dinner isn’t ready by 7pm sharp. Who cares? Your baby stayed in their pjs all day? You probably stayed in yours all day too and THAT IS OKAY.
There is no right or wrong way to do any of this. Yes, it will seem difficult some days. Sometimes even impossible. But you don’t have to compare yourself to others. And I mean that in every part of life, not just being a wife/husband or a parent. Everyone compares themselves to everyone else and that is why so many are unsatisfied.
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. -Isaiah 40:31