I'm not Mrs. Cleaver
When I read the post about giving up on good over at the Tiny Twig, I thought about all those things that I don't do. Or don't do well. Or hate doing. Or avoid doing. Almost all those things are things that I should do.
Like floss. Or wash dishes before I go to bed. Or wash our sheets weekly.
Before getting married almost four years ago, I thought I was going to be the perfect wife. I imagined having the perfect home, three lovely meals whipped up per day, and of course, be pleasant and sweet to my hubby at all times. I would also always put the laundry away, make the bed, sweep daily, sing happy songs in the shower, read my Bible everyday, tell funny stories, never talk too much, meet all my husband's needs, and of course, look cute in my yoga pants and shiny lip gloss.
And then I got married.
Within days, my dreams of being the perfect, sweet, spiritual, life-giving, and darling wife were smashed with the realization that I can be lazy, crabby, frumpy, and emotionally ugly. Plus, Josh doesn't like to kiss me when I'm wearing any sort of lip product!
The first months of our marriage were laced with arguments about dishes, housework, and the fact that I was trying to do it all. I wielded my I-must-be-the-best-wife-ever sword and tried to slay the realizations that I couldn't do it all. Eventually, I would be overcome by the unmet expectations and feel like a big, fat loser of a wife. Even when Josh assured me (and still assures me) that I'm doing a good job, I would give him the stink eye and not trust his words. I would (and well, sometime, do) stomp around and declare that I'm not the Proverbs 31 woman I feel pressured to be.
Often, I still strap on my I-should-do-it-all-and-if-I-don't-I-feel-ashamed burden and feel like a failure at the end of the day. I often feel annoyed or guilty when I go to bed with a kitchen littered with unwashed dishes and the laundry still in the dryer. I often feel lazy when I don't cook a nice meal and serve left-overs instead. Even though I realize that I am not perfect, the expectations for myself rear their ugly head and convince me that I'm a terrible wife. I cry. I pout. Josh pats my back and tells me it's not true. Yes, I will make mistakes. I will be selfish at times. I will get frustrated or lazy. But that does not translate into me winning the worst wife of the year award.
So, I want to give up the illusion that I should do it all. I want to say good-bye to the idea that a good, Christian wife is a wife who has the perfect home and perfect demeanor. For me, that illusion only brings disappointment and feelings of failure. Even though I will fail at things, I don't want my life fueled by the fear of failure.
Instead, I want to strap on grace. I want grace to teach me how love Josh more deeply or forgive myself when I'm selfish and cranky. Let grace be my language. Not guilt. If Christ extends grace to me each day but I am responding to Him or others in guilt, I am robbing myself of the joy of living in freedom.
I'm not giving up on taking care of my home or being a wife who loves and honors her husband. I'm not giving up on learning to use my time wisely or laying my own desires down for others.
I'm not giving up being a wife who wants to create a lovely home for her strapping hubby or create an environment of warmth and acceptance :)
I am, however, giving up on the expectation that I will be the perfect wife. Because, well, I won't. Just ask Josh. I've learned the hard way that those expectations choke me, not encourage me. I want to welcome grace, not guilt.
I'm not Mrs. Cleaver. And I'm okay with that.
I'm Mrs. Jennings. Part-time tutor. Putting-away-the-laundry hater. Work in progress. A student of learning to ask for help. Chatty patty. Paint clothes wearer. Dreamer. Coffee-a-holic. Once a week sweeper (if I'm lucky!). Messy clothes keeper. Unmade bed woman. A wife who desires to love her husband fiercely and authentically. Expectation slayer. And, most importantly, student of God's grace.
That's me. What about you? Is there some expectation that you want to give up on? Or do I just sound crazy and off my rocker?