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marriage

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Mommy Martyr

January 26, 2016

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Yesterday was not a particularly shining day for me. I woke up feeling flat-out sorry for myself for a handful of reasons that now seem too petty and foolish to list. Most of the time Mondays as work days for me, but I had rescheduled our childcare for the week so we could take Ainsley to a doctor’s appointment in a city about an hour and a half away. My mom was planning on coming along so we could make a full girl’s day of it – shopping, Costco, Starbucks, but when the weather turned nasty that direction we decided to stay put and reschedule our appointment.

I was bummed. What was going to be a fun day out of our routine turned into a day at home with Ainsley in the middle of our construction zone with a bunch of mundane tasks on my to-do list. At breakfast Joe told me it would be a good idea to reschedule appliance delivery until another issue in the house was resolved. I snapped at him and told him how I had to have all the hard conversations and he got to “boss me around” (yes, I really said that!) Before he left for work, I told him to go to the gym after work, secretly thinking what a nice wife I was because I was encouraging one of his favorite activities. Meanwhile, I spent my day running errands, grocery shopping, trying to track down a specific brand of wine for a blog project I’m working on, and having conversations about our renovation.

When Ainsley when down for her (short!) afternoon nap, I did the “mommy hustle” and ran downstairs to put on workout clothes, get my 30 minute workout in, shower and be ready for inevitable wake-up 50 minutes after she went down. I felt rushed, per usual, and when she insisted on being held the last 2 hours of the day, more than a little frazzled.

Before Ainsley was born I dreamed about this type of schedule. Where I worked part-time in a creative job I enjoyed and got to invest time and energy into blogging part-time as well. When Ainsley came along it was so hard to be away from her 40+ hours a week and I longed to spend more time with her, something a part-time schedule allowed. But yesterday? Well, it got the best of me.

By the time Joe got home, I was in full-blown mommy martyr mode.

I had to spend the whole day with Ainsley, meeting her needs and cleaning up endless dirty diapers and preventing her from eating construction material. Poor me!

My workout was rushed. It didn’t consist of getting away to the actual gym but instead involved a workout video, free weights and a yoga mat in my messy basement. Poor me!

I had to have tough and/or uncomfortable conversations surrounding our house remodel. Confrontation is not my style. Poor me! 

The last two hours of the day Ainsley needed to be held, meaning I got dinner on the table while holding a fussy baby. My arm feels like it is about to fall off and there is a pile of dirty dishes in the utility sink waiting to be washed. Poor me! 

The list goes on and on. I was stuck in a pity party rut that ended with me blowing up at Joe for not being helpful enough. And then this morning, while doing my devotional and drinking a hot cup of coffee before everyone else woke up, I flipped the conversation and thought about things through Joe’s eyes:

He worked all day and spent precious time away from me and Ainsley while we spent time together. He works a full-time corporate job because he loves the structure, yes, but also because it allows for me to work my flexible job. When I couldn’t find the right wine at our local grocery stores he willingly ran after work to pick them up for me near his work. I got to workout during the middle of the day while Joe had to spend more time away from us to get his workout in later. After his workout, he ran to my mom’s house to pick up a few items for me for our home decor. He woke up early to let our dog out and let her out last thing in the evening, too.

When I flipped the conversation a bit, I realized that the story I was telling myself was SO one-sided. I was playing the mommy martyr game really, really well while Joe was quietly going about doing task after task without complaint. Have you ever had a day(s) that turned out like that? It was a light-bulb moment for me. Not to say that I’ll never act this way again, but taking just a few minutes to think about the other side of the equation put my own thoughts into proper perspective. Now that I’ve had some time for reflection, devotion and quiet time, it’s amazing how my heart becomes softened toward my husband and less focused on me, me, me!

For me, I’m realizing more and more that the key to a good day starts with getting up before the rest of the house. Mornings have always been my favorite time of day, and having a solid hour to sit, drink my coffee and eat breakfast, get in God’s word and then attack a few pressing tasks sets my day on a completely different trajectory than if I wake up when Joe gets up, just 30 minutes before Ainsley’s 7 am wake up time.

Today, I’m starting my day thankful. Thankful for forgiveness and fresh starts and the blessings that abound in my little corner of the world. And when you start your day thankful rather than in pity? Well, it changes your whole day.

Madison

Family

Marriage Matters

October 21, 2015

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We had family photos taken a week ago by a dear friend of mine who is raising money for their family’s adoption. Family photos are my favorite, at least once they are over and done with! Once I have the photos in my hands I’m so thankful we captured this moment in time, when our daughter is tiny and our family is healthy and our lives feel so full. What a sweet season this is for us, after a season that felt as dry as a desert.

As women we spend a lot of time talking and talking about motherhood, don’t we? Blogs and articles and books are dedicated to the subject, and with good reason. Being a mom is important work! But where is the love and attention for our marriages?

I used to be very smug when people told me marriage was hard. Even as a newly married person, I still couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. Marriage? Hard? Hardly! If you’re in that camp, I don’t hold it against you. If you haven’t yet hit that point where marriage is truly, deeply hard, it will come eventually. I can guarantee it.

We had one of those years. The years that test and stretch and strengthen you as long as they don’t kill you. And trust me when I say that sometimes you think it may actually kill you before you see the other side. I look at that photo above and my amazing, wonderful and loving husband and I thank my lucky stars for him every day. I think about our first kiss at 17 and the memories we’ve collected together. He’s my person, yet sometimes I don’t give him nearly the time or attention he deserves.

There are days when I give my best to my baby, my work, my friends and a bunch of people on the fringes of my life, leaving very little time or energy for my husband. I’ve been working on it, little by little. Investing into my marriage the way I invest in my child. Can you relate?

Despite all the parenting books I have read, I don’t think I’ve read a single one on marriage. In the past I’ve naively assumed that marriage is just supposed to happen intuitively without time or investment of resources.

I want to continue to strive after my marriage, to give my husband the best I have to offer. I want to take time to get away just the two of us, for date nights and vacations sans-baby and dates at home after Ainsley is in bed. To put down my phone and quit scrolling through Instagram when we’re together and really look him in the eyes.

It’s worth it. I’m convinced there are very few things more worthy of our time and attention.

Madison

Family

My Little Sister’s Wedding

July 1, 2015

photo (95)We traveled to Idaho last week to celebrate my baby sister’s wedding to Alex! They got married in the most beautiful location in the mountains and we constantly found ourselves in awe of the beauty around us as we celebrated their marriage and new life together.

I haven’t attended many smaller weddings, but after this one I’m pretty sure that keeping the guest list down to just close friends and family is where it’s at. It was SO much fun to have the setting nice and intimate and much less stress, too!

We rented a house on the venue property for the weekend so the whole family could stay together and hired a babysitter for Ainsley on the day/evening of the wedding so we could enjoy the wedding and fully put our attention on the bride and groom. Ainsley dropped by for a little while and then headed back to the house to go to bed on time.

The happy couple is celebrating by honeymooning in Denmark and then settling into life in North Carolina. I couldn’t be more excited for them as they start their life together! Here are a few photos from the day…

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The Marital Compromises We Make

June 20, 2014

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Next month Joe and I will celebrate three years of marriage. I’m tempted to say that I can’t believe it, but that’s only partly true. It’s so strange how these past three years feel long and short all at once. I feel like it was just yesterday that we got married on that beautiful summer morning in July, but it also feels like we’ve been married for a lifetime. We’ve experienced so much life in the past three years that sometimes I get tired just thinking about it; I can’t imagine what the next three years will bring.

The past two weeks Joe and I have been traveling a lot for work, and we’ve been on opposite schedules because of that travel. While sleeping in a king-sized bed all to myself the other night (!!!), I got to thinking about the little compromises that we make, like every other married couple, that keeps our relationship going strong.*

1. Where We Live
If it were up to me, I think I could be happy living in a town home with just a little piece of grass for the rest of my life. Either that or a very small house with a very small yard. Joe, on the other hand, needs space and a yard and lots of house projects to work on. It keeps him happy, sane and stress-free. So our compromise is to live in a modest-sized house with a reasonably sized yard.

2. My Last Name
Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while remember that I struggled with what to do with my last name. Take Joe’s last name? Or keep mine? Joe didn’t pressure me in one way or another. And I settled on taking both last names! I’m Mayberry at work at Hofmeyer at home with our friends and family. And, in case you’re wondering, our kiddos will be just plain Hofmeyer.

3. Our Pets
Joe would have preferred having big dogs. I never thought I wanted dogs, until I found a breed I love. And that, my friends, is how we ended up with two Cavaliers. Joe would agree now that they are the best dogs around.

4. How We Eat
Slowly over the past few years, Joe has become more of a healthy eater than he was when we dated or first got married. I love that he’s eating healthier, but I don’t expect him to eat mostly vegetarian like me. Instead, I prepare meat for his meals regularly as long as he is willing to eat vegetarian a few nights a week. Additionally, I prefer to shop at Whole Foods for a certain amount of our groceries, which Joe used to hate, but now he understands how much it means to me and has come around.

5. Splitting Household Responsibilities
When we first got married, I was really worried that I would be getting a second “job” with all the wifely duties I would take on. Thankfully Joe understood my fears and has made every effort to help out around the house. I do what I’m best at, such as grocery shopping, cooking the meals, packing lunches, washing the sheets and making the beds, and Joe does what he’s best at, including taking out the trash, letting out the dogs and feeding them, giving the dogs baths, doing the yard work and cleaning the bathrooms. It’s nice to have someone to split the responsibilities with and makes our marriage feel more like a partnership.

What marital compromises do you married folk make that keep your marriage running smoothly? 

*I think it goes without saying, but this list is on the lighter side. There are, of course, many other compromises we make that are not mentioned.

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Celebrating 2 Years

July 9, 2013

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Today marks our two-year wedding anniversary! I can’t believe that we have been married for two years, yet at the same time it feels like we’ve been together forever.

I still don’t know much about marriage but I can tell you that who you choose as a partner is the most important decision of your life. And I’m pretty darn blessed with who I ended up with. Here are a few of the candid photos from our wedding. I’m hoping to share a few every year.

And, in case you missed it:
Our Wedding Ceremony
Our Wedding Reception

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Madison

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