MM2

April 11, 1007

Margi’s Memo
From Margi: Wife, Mom, Attorney, Professor, Married to a Pastor
To: The Women Who Feel Guilty Looking at the Size 4 Next Door
Re: Capacity

She bit her lip to keep from biting his head off. It took every ounce of will power to fight back the tears. How could the man she loved so much say that to her? How could he not get it? She knew he said it innocently; but she had hoped he would have gotten it by now.

“You don’t work,” he’d said. “So you should get up with the baby at night.” momkissingchild.jpeg

Some men get it. Some don’t. It’s not my goal to bash men. God knows there’s enough of that. I’m thankful for men. And I’m thankful for the man in my life (Bill, in case you didn’t know). But how can we women help our guys really understand the relentless pressures of homemaking and child-rearing? To be fair to Bill he has never said those words to me. He values motherhood. He honors my role as a wife. He has gotten up in the night with our children and still continues to do so. He has never considered it my job to take care of the house and kids. And he has never implied that it isn’t “work”.

Unfortunately there are men out there that still think it’s exclusively our job. Sometimes what we do seems under-appreciated and overlooked. But it’s not only the men in our lives that sometimes make us feel inadequate: we women do it to each other.

gossip.jpeg

Ladies, it has to start with us. We have to respect each other and ourselves if we’re ever going to get that respect from the men we love so dearly. I also think we need to be honest with each other and a little more transparent.

When my children were really little, I would talk to other mothers about how they were doing. Mostly, they would smile and say “Fine!” “Great!” And I would think, Wow, I’m barely hanging on. My husband would talk to these womens’ husbands and they would tell him how their wives were crying and were having a hard time handling things.

Why this difference of responses? My theory: most women don’t want to show that sometimes we just can’t handle it. We are overtaxed. People will think I’m a failure.

This is especially true when we think other women have it all together.

In today’s society, you have to be a good wife, mother, cook, maid, scheduler, car-pooler, friend, lover, volunteer, caregiver, supporter, career-jockeying size 6 or 4, who exercises at least 5 times a week and looks good even grocery shopping . . . all with a smile and sparkling laugh.

houscleaning.jpg

I don’t know about you, but I’m doing the best I can. Nope, I don’t sit around and watch soap operas eating chocolate bon-bons, I don’t have tea with the girls, I don’t chat on the phone for hours, I don’t have time to even think about getting a manicure, I haven’t shaved my legs for days and I haven’t had my hair done since before Christmas – seriously. My plate is full – for me.

Can other gals run 10 miles at 5:00 a.m. and then prepare a full homemade breakfast for their family and get their squeaky clean kids off to school in freshly ironed outfits, after having Windexed every window in the house, taken time to love their husbands, had their daily devotions, put on their cute little size 4 capris and applied full makeup before 9:00? I don’t know. Maybe. But I definitely am not one of those people. You’re lucky to see me in sweat pants and not pajamas before 9:00–and it’s not because I’ve been sleeping.

God has given us different abilities, skills, gifts, and talents. We also have different capacities: our ability to perform or produce or handle what is coming at us. You do not know my capacities. I do not know yours. Our capacities depend on our age, our stage in life, our emotional, our psychological and physical well-being. Sometimes we can handle quite a bit – bring on the whole entree. Other times our plate is full with just one carrot on it.

My priority, unapologetically and unashamedly is my family. My husband first, and then my children. I want to be there for my husband so that he can serve the Lord in the capacity in which God has equipped him. I want my children to grow up knowing that their mother valued and respected her God given responsibility of raising children and supporting her husband. I’m working at my capacity, given my stage in life, the abilities, temperament, skills, talents and gifts I have been given. (What makes this work is that my husband’s top priority is me [next to God of course.])

Don’t ever let anyone make you feel guilty that you are somehow not cutting it. It is between you and God. Ask yourself, “am I doing the best I can at this point in my life?” If you are, then stay the course. If not, maybe there are some changes you need to make. Prayerfully consider what God would have you do.

Also, I encourage you to stop comparing yourself to others. I can assure you that even the seemingly most put together women out there have things falling through the cracks – even if it is just their minds. You can’t be all things to all people. You can’t do all things well. We have a saying in the Giovannetti household: “It’s good enough.” Sometimes you gotta settle for “good enough.”

I also encourage you to support the women around you. You don’t know their capacity right now. Show them that you too aren’t perfect and don’t always have things together. Be vulnerable. I personally have yet to meet even one woman, when I dig a little, who is actually totally put together. I have met plenty of women who want me to think they have it all together.

For the men reading this I say, value what your wife does. I’ve had some pretty demanding jobs in my life. Honestly, being a wife and mom is the hardest job, yes job, I’ve ever had. It is relentless, it is all consuming and there are no vacations.

“God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.” Rom12:6 (NLT) Can we do it all? No. If you are honest with yourself you know it is impossible. Do those certain things that God has set before you in this stage of your life well. Will you sometimes feel inadequate, under-appreciated, insecure, and incapable. Yep. But, “when you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor” (Jas 4:10).

Even if it seems that no one understands or appreciates what you do, God does. Even when it seems that your days are endlessly thankless and that you have nothing left to give, God knows and understands. Ultimately, our honor and reward come from the Lord. Your work is not in vain. Just keep going, at your capacity, and know that when those around you don’t support you, God does.

cindarella.jpeg

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “MM2

  1. Hey Margi,
    Great blog. At the risk of being permanently barred from the Cosmic Husband and Father Club, I’ll let you in on a secret…Not one of us would trade places with you. Ever. And we talk about it, too. The conversation ALWAYS ends up with us all agreeing that our jobs are way better than yours. No kidding. Oh yeah, we also agree that, if men had to have babies, the human race would have become extinct eons ago.

    So, hang in there. We love you, and respect you, and appreciate the work you do. God bless you (and btw…the non-leg-shaving info…tmi)

    Bob

  2. Your kids are still little, and I’m sure you’re doing a great job! They were so cute on Easter! If you ever find room on your plate and would like to have tea with the girls, I’m game. As I’m a bit further down the road than you are, I could at least encourage you that “this too shall pass” and I won’t mention if the next stage is worse. : )

    One of the memories that most often comes to mind when I think of the hardness of parenting is when our first two were small and had the barfs. They were so little that they didn’t know what to do when they were going to vomit, so they just did so where they sat. Our solution was we each took a kid in our lap with a bucket of some sort and pushed their heads over it whenever their little tummies started heaving, then comforted them when they screamed afterwards. (I was running out of clean linen). This lasted practically all night. We’ve had more serious things to deal with since then, but for some reason this memory sticks with me as the poster memory of the hardness part of parenting young children/babies.

    Being a Mom is such a hard job sometimes that (more often than I like) I couldn’t even do just that one well. So do you want the story about when my four year old told me “I’m NOT HAPPY!” and I answered in my sweetest most motherly concerned way “It’s NOT my job to make you HAPPY, I just have to make sure you’re alive at the end of the day!” Or how about the one about the fender bender when it was raining on the way to school and neither Mom would get out of the car because they were both still in their jammies. They had to send their kids with the exchange of info and the reason they weren’t getting out of the car. This happened to a friend and it scared me enough to at least start throwing on sweats and a ball cap when I took them to school.

    I have to admit though that it was very sweet when I left a baby in diapers, a four year old and a six year old at home with their Dad for the weekend so I could visit my very sick Grandmother. When I called to let my wonderful husband who travels alot and is very appreciative of me know that I’d arrived safely he begged me to turn around and come home RIGHT NOW PLEASE. Baby had the runs on the carpet while the six year old had kicked the soccer ball through the dining room plate glass window (the first of many window incidents with this child whose first word after Dada was ball) and rain was pouring in as we spoke. All of the window repair places in town closed at three o’clock on Saturday and oh, could I please hang up so that he could call and BEG somebody to come fix the window as it was now three and after I hung up could I just get on the plane and come home? He even promised me a raise! : )

Comments welcome <200 words.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s