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Wifey Wednesday: Carrying the Family

I'm not sure how much advice I'm going to offer today, because I'm feeling quite busy and overwhelmed right now.

So I think I'll just raise something for discussion, give a few of my own thoughts, and then see what the rest of you have to say!

I think one of the hardest parts of being a wife and a mother is all the things you carry around in your head: grocery lists, doctors' appointments, soccer games, your children's confidences, your husband's problems at work. Sure, he loves the kids, but he doesn't carry all these things around the way we do.

And it can really get exhausting! I'm on a five day road trip right now speaking, and before I left, rather than being focused on what I had to do on the road, I was concentrating on the kids. Rebecca needs cleats for soccer. The girls are going to a wedding on Saturday without me, and I need to find my grandmother's necklace for Rebecca to wear. Do they have proper tights, in case they get cold? What about shawls to go over their dresses?

And what is everybody going to eat while I'm gone? Is the fridge stocked? Will Keith remember their piano lesson? And on it goes.

His mom has been a little sick lately, too, so I've been calling to check on her, and to make sure she doesn't need anything.

I think that's just the lot in women's lives: being outward focused. We genuinely care about all these other people. It is not that our husbands don't care; it's just that they're not as used to carrying everything the way we do. And if they had to, they'd probably let things go. Keith wouldn't care about the shawls for the wedding or the tights, though he'd likely remember the piano if left to his own devices.

But we are perfectionists. We want everything in our families to run smoothly, and we want the best for everyone. So no matter what we are doing, or how important, we're always focused towards home. That's the way we were made, and I think it's the way it was meant to be.

At the same time, it can get exhausting. It's one of the reasons I really advocate strong discipline and getting kids to do chores: we can't carry this all by ourselves. We really can't. We need other people involved.

But what do you do when you just get really tired and almost burned out? How do you get that constant refrain in your head, trying to look after everybody else, to quieten down? I sometimes wish my brain had an off switch, and I could just relax the way I see other people relaxing. But I don't. I remember what the girls were talking to me about last night, about some of the problems that they're having with some of their friends. And I remember stuff my husband's worrying about at work.

You can take these to God--and I do--but I guess what I mean is that at some poit you really have to hope that others are carrying you around, too. That the whole world does not indeed rest on your shoulders, because it gets tiring sometimes.

So we have to find a way to communicate with our husbands what's really going on in our heads. And that can be difficult, because most men's first reactions is to try to fix the problem. "Well, honey, if you're so worried about that, don't be. The kids can look after it themselves." Or, "Why don't you let the girls remember their own orthodontist appointments?" (We all know how well that worked out).

My love language is words of affirmation and encouragement. Sometimes I just need people to come to me and say, "I love you, I'm praying for you, you're doing an awesome job". And I do get that, I really do. But probably some of you don't, and it can be really tiring carrying everyone, without feeling anyone carry you.

I remember a version of the Footprints poem I read once. I don't have it anymore, and if anyone else does, if you could leave it in the comments, it would be great!

But it was Footprints for Women, and the last line was: "For when you were carrying everyone else, I was carrying you." I think that is a beautiful picture of how we're not really alone, even when we don't always feel the encouragement from those we love.

I know many of you are burdened down today. I know I'm really tired, too! But we are not alone. God is there to carry us, and we should never feel like our families completely rest on our shoulders. They don't. They're in His hands. We're the ones who are meant to care for them, but God is the One who carries them.

So don't be afraid to give Him the burden. And if you're really weary today, ask Him to send you some encouragement. He can do it, and will do it, because He loves you.

Do you have any advice about marriage? We'd love to hear it! Simply go to your own blog and write a Wifey Wednesday post, and then come back here and leave the URL of your post in the Mr. Linky! And link back here in your post, too!

Thanks for participating!

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At 9:27 AM , Blogger Dena @ Green Acres said…

I didn't realize how much I needed to "hear" what you wrote today, but obviously I did because the tears started to flow the more I read on. I loved the line you wrote from the poem: "For when you were carrying everyone else, I was carrying you." That really gave me a smile. You're right that we don't have to try to carry this burden all alone, and even if we know that, in all the craziness of the day to day grind, it can be easy to forget that. Thank you for reminding me.


At 4:47 PM , Blogger Megan said…

As usual, you're spot on. My husband asked me this morning if I had slept alright -- he couldn't understand why I was feeling (and apparently looking) tired after a full 8 hours of sleep. Well, I've been running at full pace to keep up with work and family and I haven't had anything even resembling a break for months. There's only so much refreshment that even sleep can bring you when you're "carrying the family".

Of course, I'm coming to realize that I can't ask my husband to refresh my spirit -- but that's exactly what I've been wanting from him for a while. He can't do it. God can. Thanks for the reminder.


At 12:12 PM , Blogger Katy said…

I understand what you mean...although...I am a totally planner/list maker..hehehe. I write it all down...otherwise I do get stressed with all that info in my head! I pray about things constantly and my husband and I talk alot...especially about things that stress me....LOL. Poor guy probably gets his ears talked off...haha!

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Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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