My daughter said this: I don’t want to get married (ugh) or have children but IF I ever have children I hope I only have boys.
Her: Because girls are sooo annoying!
Surprisingly my son then agreed with her: Yes, he said, boys annoy their sisters all the time. Girls just annoy their parents.
Me: Oh, you girls aren’t that bad, are you/we? Besides, it’s a bit tricky when you can’t pre-order. You just gotta love what you get!
Funny though, I’ve been thinking that as we grow up, we don’t change a whole lot. Women seem to take delight in describing the ways they find men annoying, (stories under the heading of ‘A Fine Sprinkling of Dirty Underpants and Empty Beer Bottles’ spring to mind) and then find opportunities to call their mothers – or friends to complain.
My mother was wise, she let me understand that my marriage was my own business and loyalty to my husband is something I should always put first. And besides, it’s rather expensive for me to call South Africa from Ireland.
I have some wise friends too, we tend to laugh (rather than cry) about the things that bug us.
Listen, I know I’m not the perfect wife either, how happy am I really to pick up those dirty socks? (My inclination is rebellion, I’d far rather kick them under his side of the bed, with absolutely no clue of how they got there).
The worst part is, I lie awake at night getting more and more worked up over stuff my husband didn’t do for me, or the things he said. I’m losing sleep while my husband lies blissfully unaware next to me in the bed. How dare he look so peaceful? He clearly has no idea how hard I’m about to kick him for all the stuff he’s annoyed me about today, yesterday, last week and three years ago! I have a long list, just you wait til tomorrow.
That was my night last night actually – I confess (yawn- I’m so tired), but I didn’t get around to having a good old moan this morning. I decided to change tack a bit which helped me to finally fall asleep. I told myself to shut-up and listen because here, this is the truth. Here is a mental list of all the good stuff I love about my man, all the reasons why I fell in love with him and married him about a gazillion years ago in the first place, and all the areas where I am not always that lovely to him. (This is most helpful in getting off that high-and mighty place).
Reminder: to listen to myself less and to speak to myself more.
Besides, we also went to church this morning and by about the second line of the first worship song I was struck how there’s nothing like a reminder of Jesus’s loving sacrifice to make my own lack of grace stand out a bit. I became a bit more grateful then, a bit more forgiving. Maybe this is what is means to have my heart of stone replaced with a heart of flesh – spirit work.
Today is Mother’s Day not in Ireland or the UK (we had ours earlier in March) and today I am grateful for my mother too, for all the nonsense she put up with through her life and all the good things she taught me. Being a wife and mum, I am realising more and more is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, I’m learning lessons every step along the road. It’s so important to keep being reminded of the good things.
So all my mother or wife friends in the rest of the world, I hope you find some joy in your mothering and marriage today. Maybe scrunch up that list of annoying things you were going to bring up later and chuck it away. Here’s an idea, how about writing a new list of all the things you love about those closest to you instead. I’m off now to do just that!