We are delighted to bring you a guest post today from a friend of mine (Laurel). Jess and I met earlier this year at an incredible and intense personal development seminar. Sometimes you have old friends with whom your friendships have seasoned nicely over the years of changes, joys, and trails. Other times you meet a new friend, who happens to have a LOT in common with you and a similar vision for life. That’s Jess. We’ve enjoyed so much sharing about our lives as stay-at-home moms and as moms of two toddler boys each. Additionally, I’ve really appreciated the heart Jess has shown through our personal correspondence (aka- Facebook Messenger) as she has supported her husband through a busy phase of life, so much so that I’ve asked (and she has so willingly agreed) to write as a guest on Canvas and Table. I’m certain you will appreciate the words she has to share!
We’re in a season, our little family, a season of changes and challenges. A season of long days and short nights. A season we weren’t quite expecting, but are fully embracing. Three years ago I left my full-time teaching career to be home with my children. I never in a million years thought that I’d be a “stay-at-home” mama, but here I am spending my days nurturing and fostering two tiny humans. This is the work I was called to do, to mother these sweet boys while my husband works hard to provide for our family.
This past year has been a rough one for my husband as he has taken on some new endeavors and had to navigate a new role within his company. He works long, often unpredictable hours, and spends his time at home pursing another venture we’re super excited about. Most days he’s maxed out before even coming home, having given himself fully to his career and passion. Though it’s hard to be on the receiving end of that some days, God has really challenged me this year to find ways to fully support my husband in this stress-filled season we’re in.
I want to share with you 5 ways I’ve been working to support my husband more fully during this season.
1. Do things for him joyfully. Get up early and make him breakfast – I’m so not a morning person; most days my children are my wake-up call. But there are many times when my husband has to head into work well before the kids wake up and instead of just laying in bed and catching some extra sleep, I’ll get up and cook him a warm breakfast while he’s showering. What a blessing it is to enjoy breakfast together, just the two of us! I also love to cook his favorite dinner, even if he won’t be home to eat it…he’ll surely enjoy the leftovers just as much when he does get home! My boys and I like to bake his favorite treat together, then drop it off at the office to surprise him. Even if we don’t see him when we drop it off, he’s so surprised and reminded of us when he does stumble upon the treat at his desk! Showing your love and appreciation for your husband in tangible ways, while maintaining a joyful heart will fill you both up!
2. Listen and stay positive. After a long day with toddlers, all I want to do is dump my frustrations on him and engage in an adult conversation without interruption! But, sometimes it’s best to be a listening ear and allow him to unload from his stressful day before dumping the days frustrations on him. Not every day is great, but there is good in every day! When you do share about your day, focus on that. Life with toddlers can be messy and unpredictable, filled with loads of challenges, but amidst the chaos, there is so much joy! Share that joy with your husband; I guarantee he wishes he could experience those moments with you each and every day!
3. Encourage him to care for himself. When you see your husband struggling, encourage him. As mamas we’re often reminded that “you can’t pour from an empty cup” and the same is true for your husband. Find ways to help him fill his cup. Encourage him to pursue a hobby or interest. Encourage him to go to the gym, get outside, or just read a book. There is a very noticeable change in my husband’s attitude and demeanor when he gets home from the gym. I do my best to encourage him to go as often as he needs, because I know it’s not only good for him physically, but mentally as well. Just like us, our husbands often put their self-care needs on the back burner as they struggle to balance working to provide for their family and being present to care for their family.
4. Don’t nag or compare. My husband and I have never been big fans of traditional gender roles. We’ve always approached our home with a team effort…if a task needs to be done, we just do it! However, over the past few years as I’ve been home full-time, many of the traditional gender roles have emerged in our home. I do the majority of the cooking, cleaning, and child-rearing, and he cares for our property, maintains our cars, and addresses household repairs. We still function as a team, but with much more defined roles. There are days, however, when I want to throw my hands up and ask him, “When was the the last time you washed dishes or did a load of laundry?”. I want to point out all the things I’m doing, yet totally ignore the unseen ways he’s contributing to our family. Friends, nagging and comparison are never productive. Keeping score only causes resentment and frustration. If you need help around the house, just ask! It’s so much more productive and respectful to admit that you can’t do it all than to nag your husband about how he hasn’t helped!
5. Have fun. Something I’ve struggled with during this season is whether or not to fill up our weekends. My husband rarely gets a typical weekend, so I try not to plan things on the weekends so that he can be home, catch up on household chores, and just relax. I’m very conscious of giving him that time, as I know it’s a rarity. However, over the past few months, I’ve made a point to go ahead and plan that special family outing or insist on a spontaneous family trip to the zoo when he is home. I sometimes forget that just because my husband doesn’t initiate or suggest these types of activities, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t value them!
Friends, this season we’re in is HARD. Raising children is HARD. But it’s also such an incredible blessing. I count it an honor to be able to support him in his work and make it my mission to never take for granted the sacrifices he makes so that I can be home full-time. I pray that if you, too, are in a stressful season, that you can find comfort in knowing that you’re not alone in this marriage and parenthood journey.
Hi there! I’m Jess. I live in Northern Indiana with my amazing husband, Dan, and our two sweet boys, Caleb and Abel. We live a simple life. Enjoy getting our hands dirty. Creating things. Spending as much time as possible as a family. Dreaming big. Being outdoors. Cooking with vegetables grown in our very own garden. www.getoiling.com/jessankney
Leave a comment below and share which suggestion that Jess shared to be most helpful or some way that you have found to support your own husband when he is in a stressful season.