I’m pretty sure there was steam literally coming out of my ears. And all because my husband Joe causally asked what was for dinner.
He had just walked in the door and I was about to pass the torch, kiss him and the kids goodbye, and head out to my eye appointment.
The day had gone well with only minor annoyances, but it was as Joe casually asked about dinner that I pounced like a rabid tiger. I can’t even be sure exactly what I said, but I know it was accusatory and dripping with condescension and sarcasm.
My rant was peppered with sweet words of encouragement like, “So because I didn’t make dinner you’re going to be a jerk to me?” and beautiful words of affirmation like, “How many meals have you cooked for the kids this week?”
I’m sure at that moment Joe wanted to rise and call me blessed. (Okay, so not really.)
Unfortunately for Joe, I’m a really good arguer. I come from a long line of fighters who’ve had generations to hone our skills of interrupting, over-talking, kitchen-sinking, and word twisting. You could say I’m a black belt in dirty arguing.
When my head was done spinning and my eyes popped back into their sockets, I was able to graciously back-peddle a bit and offer a pitiful, shallow apology.
I kissed all of the kids goodbye and headed out to my appointment. By the time I pulled into the parking lot, the Holy Spirit had whispered in my ear and my head hung low. I couldn’t go a moment longer without picking up my phone and calling Joe.
I told him the truth: I had an off day and I picked a fight with him. I’m not proud of that. But what’s even worse is that the reason I had an “off” day is because I allowed my selfish, self-centered wants to take precedence over my family. For the past few days, I’d been nursing supposed wounds over losing my sense of identity, my freedom, and my will.
With every diaper changed, with every long day spent in the charge of six kids from morning to night, and with every hour used to prepare for a holiday of guests with no help, I was feeling bitter. I looked past the tiny detail that my husband was working on a big project at my request and wasn’t available to be as helpful as he typically is. Instead of dying to myself every day and recognizing my family as the blessing that they are, I started letting little thoughts seep in and take up residence in my heart. I allowed myself to feel like a victim and see my family as a burden.
I never get any alone time.
I can’t even go to the bathroom by myself.
I miss being able to come and go as I please.
I’m the only one who cleans the house.
I feel trapped in these four walls.
I didn’t consciously allow these thoughts to take root, but I did allow myself to ruminate on them enough that they became louder than what I know to be true: My family is my first ministry. My husband is my top priority on this earth. My children need me and will only be in my constant care for a short time.
Being a wife and a mother is hard work, to be sure, but I only make it harder by waging an inner battle between my selfish desires and the needs of my family. When I take care of my family — my top priority this side of Heaven — God will fill me up and give me the rest I need.
And even aside from that, I do make time for myself to refresh and recharge. In fact, if I looked very closely at my and my husband’s schedules, I would see that I take more time away for “me” than my husband does for himself. Looking back, I now realize the heated words exchanged with Joe were really because my perspective was horribly skewed.
So tomorrow when a little hand reaches under the bathroom door, I will smile because I’m important enough in that little guy’s life that he hates to be away from me for even a moment.
When my daughter seeks me out to share a 20–minute tale about a 5-minute video, I’ll thank God that she’s chosen me to share what is important to her. And when I pick up the same blocks, dolls, and cast-off costumes time and again, I’ll say a prayer of thanksgiving that my children have so many choices of what to play and that they have the freedom and security to lose themselves in make-believe.
The roles of wife and mom require a great deal from me, and it’s a delicate balance that allows me to not only survive but to thrive in these God-given roles. Keeping things in perspective maintains that balance and ensures that my priorities are placed where they should be: with seeing that serving my family is a blessing and not a burden.
And when I remember this, I realize that being asked what’s for dinner isn’t such a big deal after all.
Welcome to Ungrind!
Do you want to be inspired, motivated, and equipped to live the everyday story of your life well?
If so, you’re in the right place. Whether you need encouragement in your relationships or in your faith, I hope you’ll find the transparent voices of mentors and friends here at Ungrind.
So, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. We're so glad you're here!
Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
Get Our Free Ebook!
5 Ways to Live an Out-of-Control Life
How can you let go of control and instead trust your present and your future to God? Here are 5...
5 Creative Places to Find Prayer Accountability
Do you want to pray more, but are easily distracted? Here are some practical ways to stay focused.
How to Rescue a Day Gone Wrong in Your Marriage
Just because a day doesn't start well, doesn't mean you can't rescue it.
How To Change Your Life in 10 Minutes
Here's how you can change your life with a simple 10 minutes a day.
5 Ways to Teach Your Child to Hear God
Here are practical ways to help your child lean into the voice of God.
5 Strategies for Developing Lasting Love
These practical and biblical strategies can help you develop lasting love.
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions
The Psalms is a book that's rich with the reality of what life's like in this fallen world. Here are...
What Women Are Saying
-- Arlene Pellicane, co-author of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World and 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife
"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"
-- Gary Chapman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages
We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.
Faith4 years ago
When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds
Motherhood4 years ago
Surviving a Strong-Willed Child
Faith4 years ago
7 Ways to Create A Family Altar
Friendship5 years ago
Beyond the Registry: The Ultimate Gift Guide for Expectant Parents
Relationships4 weeks ago
5 Ways to Teach Your Child to Hear God
Marriage5 years ago
4 Reasons I’m Not Facebook Friends With My Husband
Everyday Faith4 years ago
6 Simple Ways to Give Thanks in the Thick of It
Articles5 years ago
10 Ways Life is Like a Box of Chocolates
Articles7 years ago
How to Lift Up the One You Love
Articles5 years ago
Relationships6 months ago
Facing Our Motherhood Fears
Articles8 years ago
June Cleaver Syndrome