I felt like a good wife today. All it took was making Matthew lunch when we got home from church, when I was also hungry and exhausted. It was nothing fancy, just a grilled cheese and tomato soup with a dollop of greek yogurt in the middle. I felt so superior and selfless standing at the stove, flipping the sandwich over and over until it was a slightly darker brown than I would normally do– the guy likes things burned for some reason. It took almost nothing for me to feel like a good wife. Of course, it also takes almost nothing for me to feel the exact opposite. Dishes in the sink. Clothes on the floor. Everything out of place. And then there are the complaints flowing out of my mouth and the guilt settling deep in my heart.
You’re a bad, bad wife Elizabeth.
How do I fight this?
The answer can’t be to make my husband a sandwich every time I feel bad about myself. He’s not home enough, for one thing. And it seems a little anti-feminist or something. So how do I feel like a good wife? I guess it’s important to know how I define a good wife. In my mind, a good wife is everything my mom is. A caretaker, a leader, a motivator, a homemaker, a supporter, and a force to be reckoned with. So basically, a good wife is someone who does and is everything.
My dad’s a lucky guy. A lot of times I feel like my husband is not.
It’s hard for me to imagine that one day, Ella could see me the way I see my mom. That I could be that for someone. This was a scary thought throughout my pregnancy but in order to fight the bad-wife-guilt, I’m trying to turn it into motivation and into comfort. See, I never knew my mom as a first-time mom. I never knew her as a newly married twenty-something. I’ve only seen the (mostly) finished product, though no one’s ever really finished. I’m looking at a woman who’s been a wife and mother for almost 35 years and wondering why I’m not more like her.
So here is how I plan to fight: by reminding myself that I have time. I am not a finished product or resigned to dirty dishes and wrinkled clothes forever. I have time to get everything into place, to become the leader and the motivator and the supporter. I, too, can be a force for good. Even if, for now, the good is just a grilled cheese.