Yesterday, I felt sorry for myself. Almost all day, really. I moped and whined. I felt insignificant, unwanted, and without purpose. I felt as though I had become a mere fixture in our household to keep it running, to wipe noises, and to clean pizza off floors. I was tired, on the verge of a cold, and worn down. Hormones surged through my body as I adjusted to weaning. I was pathetic and self-indulgent and annoying. And maybe I deserved to be for once, as I try my damnedest to be a good, strong woman for the men of my house. But it wasn’t helpful, and it wasn’t healthy, and it wasn’t productive.
Today, I woke up at 6:30AM after a night of consoling sick babies. I was still tired, but I had a renewed sense of why I am where I am now.
I am here for a reason. My life is not mundane. It is not worthless or boring. I am more than a pair of jeans and a messy bun. It is time I viewed myself in the way my family views me. I am everything to them. And yet, I refuse to see it for myself. Why? Why am I so unkind to myself?
I am a fixture of steadiness.
A hand to hold while crossing the street.
A warm shoulder to snuggle after someone skins a knee.
A hot meal on the table after a day of work.
A calm voice in the middle of a sibling spat.
An ear to listen when life throws grenades.
A word of reason when anger brews over.
A calming presence for our neurotic excuse of a dog.
A lover. A mother. A wife.
I am the woman of this household.
I am the one who will teach our boys to dance. The one they will protect. The one who will teach them how a woman should be kind but strong. The one who will teach them what it means to be thoughtful. How to cook and put socks in the hamper. That dishes always should be rinsed and put in the dishwasher. I will teach them how to shop for gifts and remember to pick up flowers to make a house a home. That no matter where you live, your family becomes your place of refuge.
My husband will teach our babies many things: how to be a man. How to pick the right woman. How to love a wife and open doors and be respectful. How to work hard and come home hungry and happy. When to throw a punch and when to stand up to a bully. But also, when to back down and remember that pride isn’t always a good quality. How to be a father and present in the moment, even when the moment involves screaming babies and dirty diapers. Discipline with a strong but loving hand. He will teach them things I could never relay.
But I will always be their first love.
I will teach them compassion. I will teach them what it means to hurt someone’s feelings. I will teach them how to say “I’m sorry,” even when the words have to be choked out from the gut.
That no matter who they become, they will be loved here. Right here. In this home. Always.
I will teach them that a woman brings life into this world, nurtures it, forms it, and sets it free. But always keeps a piece of her babies with her.
They will learn from me that sometimes? It’s okay to cry. But sometimes? It is their job to man up and let someone else cry.
They will learn that love is always honest but never hurtful.
They will learn that they should never be ashamed to stand up for what they believe in, even when the world turns against them. That equality succeeds all in God’s eyes. That kindness should be a virtue we all seek to hold.
They will learn that food is always a perfect gift in the time of new baby or funeral. That presents should never go unacknowledged. Good friends are for always. But you have to work for a friendship or to be a good neighbor. Great things are never free.
I am raising men.
They will be little boys but for a small while. Someday, they will become a husband. A father. And I am responsible for the person they become. I have no degree to qualify me. I am paid no money. And yet, I am entrusted to these beautiful boys, and I have been put in charge. God thinks I can do this.
And so do I.
And for my husband?
I am the soft touch at the end of a long day of meetings and training and testosterone.
I am the woman of his dreams.
I am the payer of the bills and the maker of the meals and the cleaner of the castle, but those things do not define me.
My love for him defines me. The way I touch his cheek or laugh at his jokes. The way I melt in his arms.
I am the one who depends on him…and vice versa.
I am a woman who maintains her dreams, who writes words she can stand behind, who is passionate in all things I do.
I am his rock. He is mine.
I am the the reason this life is possible.
I may not be perfect. I may not be the person I want to be every day. I falter. I fail. I let myself down, and I let others down sometimes, too. But, from now on, I will remember one thing:
I am the woman of this household.
They need me. They love me as deeply as I love them. I owe it them, and to myself, to believe I am capable. I am worthy. I am strong enough for this beautiful purpose. What greater honor than to raise men?
Photo Credit: helloturkeytoe.
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