Preserving My Personal Independence in Marriage and Motherhood
There comes a time in every woman’s marriage when she must decide.
She has to decide–for herself and herself only–what will make her happy. Because once upon a time, I thought that the key to my happiness lay in my husband’s ability to make me happy. I thought, erroneously, of course, that if I was having a bad day, he should pick up on it and make me feel better. Today, I know a little better.
Not only do we still not have granite countertops in our outdated kitchen, but our hair is a little lacking as well. More importantly, however, I have finally realized that the key to a happy marriage actually has nothing to do with marriage itself. Like today, for instance, when my husband wanted to mow the lawn and I had four articles due. I agreed to sit outside and try to “work” while watching our three young children in the kiddie pool while he mowed. I got about 0.4 seconds of work in, when my two-year-old son, who had stripped down to only his birthday suit and a hat, took off sprinting across the lawn towards the mower. “Why can’t it ever just be easy?” I complained. “Why do I always have to base my day and my work around you and the kids?!”
It might sound like a silly, selfish complaint and perhaps it was. That always, always, what we need to do, even for something as basic as the work that brings our bread and butter, falls last? For me, the solution to finding and keeping my independence hasn’t been easy. I struggle in the smallest of ways to keep my independence as a wife — resisting the urge to micromanage my husband’s schedule, handing the kids off without detailed instructions to him when I would like to exercise, trying to show my kids that life, in fact, does not revolve solely around them. After all, aren’t “good” mothers and wives completely selfless? Bottomless pits of endless home-cooked meals and everyone else’s needs put before theirs? A woman who once had no children. Or husband. Or home to call her own. A woman with her own wants and needs and dreams and goals. A woman who is simply just me. A woman who needs a little independence to feel whole. The freedom to hire a babysitter, even when guilt tells her it’s not practical. The ability to realize that there is no one path to motherhood or marriage. The independence of income and the knowledge of security. I love these people in my life, the ones borne from my body and the husband that raises them alongside of me, because let’s face it: they make me a better person than I could ever be on my own. Image via Chaunie Brusie/Instagram