My husband, my Stuart dearest, asked me the other day why women (ie: me) need to be reassured. Constantly.
“Do I look okay?”
“Are you sure?”
I guess so.
-15 minutes later-
“Honey, are you sure these pants look okay?”
No. They make you look huge. Go change.
Originally, the conversation began by me asking Stuart if he cared who put away his clothes. You see, we used to do it together – sort of like a team bonding experience. We would shout “Go team Elliott!” Then, we'd race up the stairs, give each other a high five, and begin the bonding experience of sorting laundry. But since I've had extra time at home lately, and Stu has been extra busy at school, I've began to put away his laundry for him. It was no big deal, really. I already washed it and folded it…so the only thing left to do was to separate “His” from “Hers” from “Georgia's” and tuck it away in the dresser. And after a few weeks of this extra care I'd shown his clothing, he hadn't said anything about it…
…and because I am an emotional brain-fart, I asked him.
Honey, do you even care who puts away your clothes? Does it help you if I do it? Or would you even care if I just left it on the bed for you to do?
He laughed. Of course he appreciated it. Of course he was grateful to have a wife who makes sure that his underwear are clean, folded into the shape of a swan, and displayed on the dresser in true fabric-origami fashion. I mean, hello! Who wouldn't?
But he asked me, “Why do women need to be so reassured all the time? Guys don't need that.”
To which I replied:
Because some days, we spend the whole day at home just feeding and cleaning our children.
Because we scrub out dirty diaper pails after shaking turds out into the toilet. And then we forget to bring it back to the laundry room. Hence, the lone, dirty diaper.
Because we plan out menus to maximize efficiency and make sure there is healthy food in the fridge.
Because sometimes we forget to shave our legs because we've been busy gardening.
Because we cook dinner at night – happy to have a warm meal to serve you.
Because we scrub poop stains out of the carpet.
Because we do dishes. A lot of dishes.
Because we sweep up dog hair 53 times per day.
Because we make sure the home is clean and fresh for fellowship & guests.
Because I've picked up this tupperware 14 times today already and she just keeps pulling it out. (Quit judging my cupboard. I mean it.)
Because we do things a man wouldn't think of…like washing out our stinky garbage can.
Because we make sure bills are paid on time.
Because we'll spend the whole day cleaning the house, only to go to bed with the room looking like this.
Because we run errands, perfectly timed between naps and feedings.
And because on a daily basis we are covered in urine, fecal matter, drool, vomit, and Lord only knows what else.
And I'll be danged if sometimes it just doesn't seem like the most under appreciated job in the world.
It's not glamorous. It's not, by ‘worldly standards' of great importance. Who cares that you have a healthy meal on the table when you can go to Pizza Hut? Who cares that money is properly managed when there are credit cards? Who cares how our children our raised? Aren't we all just trying to “survive” this thing called parenthood?
I've been thinking about this a lot lately, because I do believe that to serve God, a Godly husband, and to raise Godly children is a calling. God has entrusted me to care for this home, to serve and honor my husband, and to raise up children who love the Lord. And that is…well….that's a lot of work. I'm not just trying to survive a half-hearted marriage. I'm not trying to just raise children who are acceptable just by social standards. I'm not trying to cut corners or do things the easy way – I'm trying to do my best at the task that has been granted to me.
This calling is a blessing. It is a an absolute gift to be able to put my husbands clothes away. And change my daughter's diapers. And tirelessly clean my floors. It will be a gift to teach my children about the Lord and how redemption is found in Christ.
And so I explained to my dear husband, it's always nice to know that the work you do on a daily basis – be it ever so small by worldly standards – is appreciated. And it's important to remember that tasks that may seem mundane, tireless, or under appreciated are still an opportunity for us to glorify God.
Be it training your child.
Or scrubbing the sink.
Or, dangit, putting clothes away for your husband.