Friday, May 18, 2012

Flashback Friday: From One Young Mother to Another

Did another week pass already?

Well, I hope to be back to some regularly scheduled blogging next week, but for today, two reminders that continue to serve me well as I navigate my marriage during these little years.

My husband works from home now, and perhaps even more so, these things are so important in keeping our marriage alive and healthy and thriving.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Originally published August 5, 2009.

I often think that I, as a young wife and mother, should have little to offer when it comes to sharing mothering/marriage/life advice. I haven't lived long enough, done enough, mothered enough, been married long enough to really have any profound or life-changing advice to share with anyone.

And, I think there's something to be said for that. Exercise prudence. Embody humility. Don't pretend to be a know-it-all when you're really just a "newbie".

"Newbies" eat bowls and plates full of their words. I've eaten bellies full of them myself.

But, you know, when I read blogs or magazine articles or other writings of other young mothers who are in the trenches with me, I often find that their wisdom, their advice, their view of life affects me in tangible ways that I can apply now. Immediately. And, somehow, knowing that I'm not alone - that someone who is walking in my same style of shoe understands me - provides deep encouragement to my soul.

So, in that spirit, the spirit of sharing with fellow young mothers who, like me, currently sport comfy sneakers instead of stilettos, there are two pieces of marriage advice that I received many years ago that affect my daily life as a young wife and mother. And, though I'm a "newbie" wife and mother in comparison to many, these two life lessons have produced wonderful fruit in my marriage.

1. Give him 20 minutes.

When I was in college, I was a live-in nanny for three little girls. They were 3, 2, and 2 weeks old when I began living with and caring for them. Their Mom, Julie, was a stay-at-home Mom who didn't have any family in town and needed help since her husband was an obstetrician and worked crazy hours.

One day, as I remarked about how her husband always seemed so happy to see her at the end of the day, she responded, "I always give him 20 minutes."

"20 minutes?", I responded.

She continued. "When he walks in the door, I don't bombard him with the problems of my day, the struggles I've had with the girls, the things I want and NEED him to do. I give him time to hug the girls, change his clothes, grab a beer Coke, glance at the newspaper. I don't hand him the baby the minute he walks through the door because I'm just done and need a break. I give him 20 minutes before I indulge in unloading any of the problems of my day on him. And, he appreciates it."

I've never forgotten this conversation with Julie. And, for the last 5 years that I've been a mother, I have taken this advice to heart and I give my husband 20 minutes when he gets home before I ask anything of him. And, just like Julie's husband, Jason appreciates it so much. He thanks me regularly for it. And, he is relaxed and settled in, after having a few moments at home to transition his mind from work life to home life, to really be with us.

Give him 20 minutes. It isn't always easy. I have been standing at the stove, covered in spaghetti sauce with a baby strapped to me while two bare-bottomed toddlers pull tissues out of a tissue box when my husband has walked in the door. My mind is telling me, "Give him the baby, run like the wind, and go hide in the nearest closet." But, allowing my husband a few minutes to get his bearings before dumping my day on him - well, it's loving him. And, that's what I want to do.

It's what we all really want, isn't it?

2. Have sex with him.

Speaking of loving him, there's no simpler way to put it. Have sex with him.

This piece of marriage advice came from our pastor and pre-marital counselor and I remember him looking directly at me when he said it. He didn't say to my husband, "Have sex with her." He surely knew my soon-to-be husband didn't need it. His loving advice and counsel was intended for me. It made me snicker at the time. Because I had waited 5 years to marry this man that I loved so much, and I didn't foresee a lack of sex ever being an issue. Not in our marriage. No way.

And, then I became a mother. And, sleep deprivation, my clothes covered in baby carrots, greasy, unwashed, hair, and Cheerio crumbs down my bra became the norm. And, sex was the last thing on my mind.

(Except - and, I think it's important to note - when I wanted to procreate. Amazing how that drive will make a woman forget what she looks and feels like.)

But, I can tell you - it has never been the last thing on my husband's mind. And, I am amazed that year after year, this man, this husband of mine, loves me and wants to be intimate with a sleep deprived, baby carrot-painted, greasy-haired, Cheerio crumb-coated me. But, he does. And, he appreciates it so much when I make sex a priority in our marriage.

Just like giving him 20 minutes when he walks through the door, having sex at the end of a long day of mothering isn't always what I want to do. I'd be lying to you if I told you this one was easy for me all the time. But, when I take this advice to heart and lay aside myself for the good of my marriage and for the love of my husband, the rewards it reaps in my relationship with my husband, the closeness and open communication that it subsequently provides - well, it is unspeakably wonderful. And, so very worth the undertaking.

There they are - two bits of marriage wisdom from me - a young Momma who's trying to love God, love my husband, and love my children the best that I can.


  1. Couldn't agree more Sarah (and that's after 45 years!) Good advice.............

  2. I love how you're just you. Authentic and real. And right on. :) It's funny how these things seem so easy and trivial before you're married with kids. Then life changes and reality sets in. That's when these choices mean the most...when you're 'choosing' to love your spouse, even if it costs you something.

    Thanks for the reminders. :)

  3. thanks for the reminders. needed this. love your blog.

  4. This. Was an amazing blessing to me. While both my husband and I work, I forget to do this. I'm tired and cranky.. :)