Working on Being a Good Wife (per Proverbs 31) - and Operation Declutter returns!
|Hubby and me 2008|
The back story....
I knew I was sorely lacking in the wife dept. I'd been on a journey just a year or so ago to strive to be more of a Proverbs 31 woman. To be the type of wife and mother that would be praised. I'm not even sure what triggered a regression, but it kind of all stopped going forward and I actually became a bit more sullen, naggish (I made up that word), and snarky. I was acting like a martyr a lot of the time, though having done Flylady for years, I could recognize when that was happening and try to stop.Recently, I had a really memorable, very real-feeling nightmare. Basically in it, my husband and I never actually married. We raised our daughter kind of together, but we weren't really a couple, but still best friends. But then he gets engaged to someone else (who looks like Megan Fox, SHEESH!) and she treats him so well and is so gracious and loving to him, that I can't hate her... I genuinely am happy he's found someone who is so good to him. But the night before their wedding, I ask him to stay with me instead and he say no.. and I have like flashbacks of how I nag at him and yell and don't respect him like I should and do not encourage him... And I realize I don't deserve him. I don't treat him as a wife should. but OMG it was so heartbreaking. I was sobbing in the dream and woke up with tears running down my face and I cried for like a half hour after waking up. I pinched myself to make sure I was awake and everything was back to normal. I mean it was like one of those Scrooge visits from the Ghost of Christmas Past or something. Scary. I called my husband at work and told him I loved him and he told me he loved me too and couldn't wait to come home. It made my day. But I realized after I got off the phone... all those things I was guilty of in the dream were also true in reality. That's when I knew the dream was straight from God.
This past week, my husband has been out of the state on business. He doesn't normally have to travel for work, but this was one of those mandatory manager things. While he was gone, I realized it gave me the perfect opportunity to really bless him and me as well actually. Our bedroom (and especially the master walk in closet) had been the kind of storage room since we moved in nearly 2 years ago. I'd always wanted him to have his "man cave" or game room. We both play fantasy and sci-fi role playing games like D&D, Star Wars, Gamma World etc (kind of like World of Warcraft, but using paper, miniature figures, maps on the table and dice.) He's MUCH more into it than I am. He usually runs the games and a group of friends and I play in them. It's a great social activity and there for a while we actually had a couples Bible Study before the games. That was cool. Anyway, our master bedroom is HUGE (to us anyway), something like 15.5x15.5 maybe? with a bathroom and walk in closet. A little while back, as I blogged about at the time, I decided to give half the room to him as his game room and we'd put the big farmhouse table in there and get a smaller set for our living/dining area. Which we did. But the now-game-table was covered in STUFF.
Crates of game books, sock baskets, seasonal clothes, giveaway stuff, school papers, you name it. It's a BIG table and it had gotten to where you had to clear a space just to set a drink down on the table. In addition, the master closet had gotten to the point that we had to lean in and get clothes off hangers cause we couldn't walk into it. The floor was cluttered with shoes, empty hangers, luggage, stuff that fell out of boxes and even a bowling ball. (We've never gone bowling.) So, since he was gone all week and not sleeping in the bedroom after I got off work, I decided to use the time to fix that room.
No before pics... I wasn't thinking about it.
I worked a little each morning after work, starting with the closet. Looking back on it, it was a huge undertaking, and I'm exhausted just thinking about it, but I got it done. I went through everything, even found the tub of winter clothes I'd lost (at least I found them before Spring! LOL). boxed up stuff I was keeping and didn't need around me all the time and made a big stack of boxes and totes to go to the storage building. I have two boxes of things family members hand made for my babies over the years. I'm saving them for my grand-kids. I also filled bags and boxes of stuff to take to the battered-women-charity-store. (The giveaway stuff is back in the closet until I can get them out to the van.)
|There's a floor in my closet. Hubby actually said, "I didn't know the closet was carpeted." I am not kidding.|
|It's nothing out of a magazine, but now it's decluttered and peaceful. Ignore the Crocs sticking out.|
|So now the bedroom half of the room looks like a bedroom. Though it does become the Movie Room on some nights when we rent a family movie.|
|Yes, that's a battle axe. The best man from our wedding made that for him.|
|Hopefully I'll be able to get that leather office chair to fit up under the end of the table. It's where he prefers to sit (he can see the TV hehe) and it'll free up more floor space since the chair won't be sticking out in the room.|
The day he was coming home, I did final straightening up and vacuumed. Had the girls get the living room clean and I did the kitchen. Everything looked nice. Not spotless, but good, and I had dinner still warm on the stove for him.
He was really tired when he got home. He'd worked since 6am and left at 4pm and drove 5 hours. It was really nice to get a hug from him again, and I noticed how handsome he really is in his blue dress shirt and black leather jacket. Bonus! haha. Still I was excited to see his reaction when he walked into the master bedroom and saw the difference. Well, he was glad to see it cleaned up, but he didn't really show a lot of any sort of emotion. I kind of wondered if he was upset that I touched his stuff. Later on, I noticed him looking in his drawers and looking kind of disappointed. I hadn't gotten a lot of laundry done this week, just the girls' stuff really. I'd been working on the bedroom most of the time I wasn't sleeping or working or taking care of the girls/making lunches etc., so his white t-shirt drawer was empty, and he only had one paid of socks in his drawer. I'd been working so hard on one thing to try to make him happy, that I neglected the everyday things he relies on. Of course he didn't need a white t shirt at just that moment, but still he noticed. He also made comments about how we didn't fix the main bathroom's toilet while he was gone (he said it had something stuck in it. I didn't know I was supposed to fix it.), and he wondered why I hadn't replaced the light bulb in my office and he had to do it today (I had no light bulbs and no vehicle til today and I had just gone out to buy light bulbs). Oh well.
At least now that big project is done and we are blessed with a clean bedroom/gameroom and he's already switched from laying on the bed with his laptop to sitting at his game table with his laptop.
Today, he did smile (finally) and thank me. Then asked in a nervous voice.. "Can you tell me where you put stuff so I can find everything I had been working on before I left?" So, yeah I guess there was a little, "OMG you touched my stuff!!" thing going on. but I assured him I made sure to set the familiar looking stuff in one spot, and I quickly found everything he needed, and showed him where all the more current books were and how things were organized, where his dice and mechanical pencils and wet-erase markers and all that stuff were. He seems much calmer and happier with it all now. Tonight I am washing/drying/hanging/folding and maybe even ironing (*gasp*) his dress clothes for work that were in his suitcase, plus a load of whites to fill that white t shirt drawer.
I find myself striving to want to make sure he doesn't have to do anything around the house (like fixing toilets or changing light bulbs). I used to feel like there were "man duties" and the rest was woman's, but as one blog I read recently pointed out, we're here to help our husbands, not the other way around. It's how we were made, wired, designed for. I know it sounds very old fashioned, but it's something I've been growing toward over the last couple of years, and have finally found myself led to accepting this and feeling fine and happy with it. I mean, if I don't expect him to mow the lawn then I will have no reason to be mad at him and nag or cause a fight if he doesn't do it. same for helping with the dishes or fixing things around the house. He's not the fix-it type, so it's not like he'd do a DIY thing for fun. He hates even getting out the toolbox. So, I have decided now I will do all those sorts of things. Anything to do with or around the house is my domain. It's actually incredibly empowering, and takes a huge weight off my shoulders in fact. It seems like it should be the opposite effect, but it's not. It's like roles are much more obvious now. No gray areas, nothing's fuzzy. It may take some time to really get there 100%, but I sure plan to make it happen.
Now, I do still work full time (albeit from home) and my schedule is still a challenge, working from 6:45pm til 3:15am. Balancing awake-but-not-working-time with sleep time is not always easy, but I know I want to stay up longer than I had been. For the last year, I've been getting the first set of girls up for school, and then going to bed, and then Hubby would get Zoe up for school and dressed etc, and take her to school in time for tutoring. Now it's his decision to take her to tutoring, and that's fine if he wants to continue that, but I feel like I ought to be the one getting Zoe up and ready for her day (and making sure her clothes match LOL), so he can sleep a little longer and have less to stress about. It also means I'll be up to see him off to work most mornings which I hadn't been - and some days our schedules have been so bad that we would never see or speak to each other for a couple days, simply because of work and sleep. The rest of the holiday season will put a wrench into these plans since his work schedule will be so hectic, but overall, it's how I hope to start doing things.
I just told him I want to get to where he doesn't need to do anything around the house. He immediately said that he thought we agreed when we got married that it was a partnership, and especially since I work 40 hours a week, I should have help. Then he talked about how the girls should help me more. Well, they do, they help a little, though I think that maybe the messes they make outweigh the help they give fixing the messes... but I do have other "servants". Like Courtney at Women Living Well blog said... the Proverbs 31 woman would rise early and give her servant girls tasks for the day... I may not have servant girls, but I have a dishwasher, a washing machine, a dryer, a vacuum, a swiffer wetjet (lol, I love that thing!), crockpots, the oven, coffee maker, kettle, etc. So, I do have many things to make the tasks of homemaking easier. It's really just a matter of getting it decluttered and keeping up with maintenance cleaning. I will have to adjust to new things like lawn mowing and taking out the trash, but it's not really a big deal. My Mom sure did all of that stuff. I can't recall my father ever doing anything in or around the home actually Not sure Mom was happy about that or not lol.
I sit here thinking of all the things that I've nagged my husband over these last couple of years in this new home. Things that became topics of arguments... like taking the garbage from the porch to the truck (or taking the trash can out to the curb when we got trash service), or keeping my back porch cleaned off so I could enjoy a cup of tea on *my* back porch... or oh man the fights over the mowing of the lawn... All those arguments are going to be a thing of the past if I can just get over myself and remember I am blessing my husband and my family and most of all honoring God. Some things I'll have to hire out, like I know we need a plumber to come and fix a pretty big leak under the trailer, and the master bath toilet needs replacing. Some things I can do. Some things I'll save up a fund to have done. That's all part of the job.
I'm really kind of psyched about this. I consider it a serious challenge to be able to have this house running so well that my husband needn't lift a finger. He can be like my dad and Hubby's grand-dad.. come home from a long day at work, sit down in the recliner and relax. One of the girls or I can take him a glass of iced tea. I want to know he'll always have stocked sock and underwear and tshirt drawers. His closet will always have wrinkle free dress shirts and pants. He won't have to wear pants with holes in the pockets because I never get around to fixing them or buying him new clothes. Strangely he seems to be the last one to ever get new clothes in this family. It's really a challenge considering I work 40 hours a week and sleep most of the day. So, I will ask y'all pray for me to continue to feel that this is blessing my husband, my marriage and my family... and not get discouraged.