“How do I wash the mommy off of me?”
A dear friend of mine asked me this question when her sweet baby was a couple months old. She was having a hard time being anything but mommy.
And I know you know.
Between not sleeping, breastfeeding, pumping, making bottles, baths, laundry, diapers, not to mention if you have other kids and trying to maintain silly things like eating and/or going to the store, some days “mommy” is all you feel like you do or are or look like or feel like.
But before you were “mommy”, you were “wifey”.
And being his wife, is one of the best ways to treat him like a man.
To me, this looks like a three-part discussion:
1. What kind of things can you do to promote being “wife”?
2. How can you not be his mom?
3. How can avoid making him your child?
I could probably go into each of these, but since I’d love to hear from you on them, I will just discuss them briefly.
What kind of things can you do to promote being “wife”?
Think back to when wife was the only title you carried at home (this is not to say that you didn’t work or go to school or do anything else but when you heard your first name or “babe” “hon” or “love” when you were being addressed instead of “MOMMMMMMMMMMY”). What kinds of things did you do then? Could you bring some of them back?
Things like making his favorite meal as a priority on the menu even if you didn’t like it or it took a long time. Or watching a documentary on the food system for a few hours on the weekend. Or wearing something he liked around the house or to bed. This takes feedback from your husband because sometimes they change their minds. I know, can you believe it? HA And each husband is different. To help you remember and get back in the groove, try asking some questions like “what is one meal I could make this week, anything you want, that you would just LOVE and we haven’t had in a while?” or “I would love to give you a back rub while we watch a movie. If you’d like to get back into your documentary list, that would be fun” or “I am looking for feedback on what you think is a nice look for me when you get home at the end of the day …make up, hair, and jeans? yoga pants and a ponytail? What do you think?” or “What would you think if I started sleeping in ____? Do you think you’d like that?”
And believe me when I say that I looked all over for answers to these questions instead of just asking my husband and I ended up using my time in ways that weren’t as useful. I was all worried about squeezing in hair and makeup when he preferred my hair long and air-dried, and me wearing yoga pants and would have rather had a clean sink and kitchen instead of a certain level of dress. And he doesn’t care what I make him as long as I try new things once in a while. But that’s MY husband. I don’t know about yours. I have a friend whose husband likes her hair long with highlights and for her to be a little more “put together” at the end of the day. Ask your husband.
I know the last two are similar.
But there is a tendency to mother him – to give the unsolicited advice, to nag about the cleaning up, to have a chore chart or reward system in your head. And this makes us more like his mother than his wife.
And we can make him our child by how we talk and what we say to him. Do you know as women that our voices tend to get higher in pitch naturally when we talk to children? It’s part of our nurturing instinct. Do you use that same high pitch talking to your husband? Or when we are teaching kids things, we ask them a lot of questions and get them to think through a process. “Hunny, do we need 3 forks for dinner or 4 forks? Let’s count everyone. 1, 2, 3! 3 forks! Can you get out 3 forks please?”
This one may or may not need as much feedback from your husband. But you’ll definitely need to look at yourself.
Is it ok to offer your thoughts in a conversation? Is it ok to ask him to take the trash out. Yes and Yes. But think about the how. Ask questions, give feedback, but also remind him that you know he will make a great choice and are excited to be on this adventure of life with him. And if he forgets to take the trash out, ask him how he would like you to deal with it. Does he want you to send an email reminder? Ask him 3 times? Put a note on his keys for work? (Ok I guess this one needs feedback…)
And really look at the pitch of voice. Hearing a high pitch tone will sound patronizing. Using questioning on him as if he’s a child will sound patronizing. And likely he will shut down not lash out. This one can be really tough because you may not even be aware of it so be sure to take a moment to think before speaking.
“Washing the mommy off” and being a wife and treating your husband like a man has a lot of parts and I didn’t even get into the sexy stuff!! [Which is really important too by the way…] But here are some ideas to get started with, to think about and talk about.
And share about! I’d love to see what you think of these three areas!
Proverbs 15:22 Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.
We can be the advisers to each other on this one. And help each other bring success.
How do you treat your man like a man?
Be sure to check out The Respect Dare blogging team – Nina, author of The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband and Debbie, especially for parents of teens, tweens, and twenty-somethings, and you can subscribe to me in the sidebar. And connect with me on twitter @LeahHeffner and on faceboook on The Respect Dare community page.
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