Every now and then, I get the feeling that I’m not so great at this whole being a wife thing.
The other day, I decided to write something to articulate these thoughts and I realized that they usually arise from stress. We ladies have a tendency to get down on ourselves and feel as though we don’t do enough.
Originally, this is a piece I wrote just for my husband and I. As I reread it, I realized that it was something a lot of women I know could relate to. With that in mind, here’s my confession.
Today, you came home from work at 4 o’clock, like you always do. You told our daughter to get dressed and come outside with you, and asked me to join you. I rolled my eyes and told you I had things to do.
“Sorry, I just wanted to spend time with my family,” you said.
I sighed as guilt overtook me, then threw on my hoodie and followed you out.
As we sat around the fire pit, I watched you interact with our child and our dog, and I smiled. We wouldn’t have a wonderful backyard oasis if it wasn’t for your hard work and sacrifice. We wouldn’t have a family full of love. Our child wouldn’t have an amazing dad. I wouldn’t have the freedom to go after my dreams.
Cue more guilt.
The thing is, I don’t do affection well. I’ve always been a solitary individual, and letting others into my space is hard. While I try to make it a point to tell you I love you and show you I care, I often prefer to do my own thing.
I’m not good at flowery language, unless I’m putting the pen to paper. Hell, I can barely manage to give more than a requisite “that’s great!” or “that’s too bad!” most of the time.
Instead, I show my love for you through the things I do. The meals I cook, the hours of cleaning, the managing of the funds, are all ways I show I care. Every time I nag you to take your vitamin or schedule an appointment for you, I’m thinking of how much I you mean to me.
Still, I know I could do more. Say more. Show more.
At the end of the day, I’m exhausted. I know you are, too.
It’s not an excuse, but by the time you get home I’ve given so much of myself to so many people that I have nothing left for you.
I give myself to the friend who’s marriage is going through a rough patch. To the sister in law who’s in the throws of her first pregnancy and needs advice. To the other sister in law who needs an ear to bend. To the best friend who is at the end of her rope. To my mother, your mother, and whoever else sees fit to give me a call.
I give myself to our daughter, who is still so very small. I provide three meals, god-knows-how-many snacks, and more drinks than I can count. I help her with her clothes, her bath, and the occasional trip to the bathroom. I give out snuggles and kisses like they were going out of style. I assess boo-boos and read stories and do my best to keep her happy.
I give myself to my work, churning out pages upon pages of text in a day. I spend hours, answering emails, responding to messages, and promoting my work online. Even more time is spent brainstorming new ways to make this dream of mine a reality.
I spread myself thin. Too thin. In the midst of it all, I don’t even take the time to properly care for myself, let alone give you all you need.
I know I’m a wreck. I know I bombard you with to-do lists, fears, and a flood of complaints and less than crucial information the second you walk in the door.
I know it’s not fair. To either of us.
I just want you to know I see you. I see all you do. And I appreciate it all. I want you to know that I’m trying. That one day I’ll find that balance. As I work towards simplifying our life and our budget and our time, I’m also working to make you more of a priority. To make us a priority.
Until then, remember those piles of folded laundry, the food on the table, and hot coffee I bring you each morning are the best way I know to tell you how much you mean to me.
I love you.