I finished reading the Facebook note and I could feel my face turning red. In the pit of my stomach I felt angry, or really more like incensed. But why? Truthfully, I related to nearly everything in the post.
A stay-at-home mom from California, Deanna Ramsey, wrote an open letter to her husband about 13 things she needs to maintain her sanity during the difficult years of raising small children and spending 24 hours a day with them. The note went viral. I read the comments of hundreds of women essentially saying, “Thank you. You nailed it.”
I honestly couldn’t decide why I reacted the way I did. Staying home with littles is so hard. There were days I nearly ran screaming from the house. Days I felt misunderstood and I thought my needs weren’t being met, and surely my job was infinitely more difficult than my husband’s.
While I agreed with this woman on many levels, I realized two things. The first was even though she invited her husband to write a list of his own, I just felt the slightest hint of entitlement to the items on the list came across to the reader.
I’ve been with my husband on a few of his business trips. While people think traveling for a job seems glamorous, it isn’t. Dealing with time zone changes can be a bear. Meetings from sun up to sun down, never leaving the confines of the hotel do not equal a walk in the park. Group dinners that last three hours in a noisy restaurant with people you don’t know all that well aren’t necessarily enjoyable. Sleeping in a strange bed night after night makes one weary. His job is hard, too.
My second observation was all too suddenly that time of my life has concluded. While my kids will still be home in the summers, my unending days of changing diapers, chasing a toddler, playing play dough, and watching Curious George have come to an abrupt end. I wonder how my husband felt about those early days. Was I selfish with my needs? If so, I don’t get a do-over. Did I too often consider what I needed instead of what my husband needed?
Regardless if you stay home, work part-time, or work full-time and raise kids (all of which have their areas of difficulty) don’t forget to make your needs a conversation. Life isn’t all about what you need. Your spouse has needs, too. And, your spouse can’t read your mind, as much as you might like him or her to.
Several years back, when I was a young mom, I got a book called The Power of a Praying Wife. It contained prayers on all different topics you could pray for your husband. I chose three to focus on, but then I had the idea to ask my husband which ones he felt he needed. He chose three completely different topics. This left me a bit shocked, yet grateful I had asked the question.
Start the conversation. Ask your spouse what he or she needs. The answers may surprise you. Your marriage will thank you for it.