By Juli Slattery
My diverse roles in family life often complement each other, but every now and then I feel like I have to choose between being a good wife and a good mother. I experience this internal warring whenever Mike wants us to go away without the kids. A romantic getaway enriches my marriage, but it also means leaving the boys with relatives, missing soccer games and getting behind on monitoring their homework. So I ask myself, What's more important ... investing in my kids or in my marriage?
Almost every married mom can relate to the dilemma of whether to spend time with the kids or time with her husband. There's an angst that stirs internally when we feel like we have to choose between those we love.
I don't have all the answers, but here are two points I keep in mind when I'm in the middle of a wife-mom dilemma.
- Don't forget to nourish one of the most primary needs in your children: the security of a mom and dad who love each other. Invest in the strength of your marriage and the support of your husband, even if it feels like it's at some expense to your kids.
- Realize that you are likely more in tune with your kids' needs than your husband is. Because of this, you may want to highlight a child's need that your husband hasn't quite recognized. For example, tonight may not be a good time to go out because your daughter’s best friend just immigrated.
When you face the competing needs of your husband and children, it's beneficial to talk to friends or mentors who can help discern if you are leaning too far one way or the other. A good friend will remind you that no one gets it right 100 percent of the time. And you won't either. None of us are perfect moms or wives, and expecting that of yourself isn't healthy for you or anyone.
Keep in mind that your internal wife-mom conflicts may never fully disappear. One grandmother I know would love to turn the spare room into a playroom for her grandkids, but her husband has designs for an office. No matter what stage of family life you're in, staying flexible and communicating openly with your husband will help keep your relationships in balance. Prayerfully seek God's wisdom and guidance, and remember that His grace is always bigger than our angst.
From the Focus on the Family website at focusonthefamily.com. © 2010 Focus on the Family. Used by permission.