Dear Moms, I hear you

Having been married to a brilliantly strong and authentic woman for nearly 15 years, I’ve grown to think of myself as a budding feminist, of sorts. As most of us know, talk is cheap and our convictions are put to the test when we actually have to live out those convictions as a daily practice.

Let’s just say that over the course of the last two months, my commitment has been put to the test. My wife has been training to be a yoga instructor, a dream of hers that we have talked about pursuing for nearly 10 years. With the bulk of her trainings taking place during the evening and on weekends, I’ve had an eye opening opportunity to be a “working mom.”

First, a few details to clear up on the front end. I am not a woman, nor can I ever fully understand what that means in the context of a patriarchal society. Next, my wife, and countless other working mothers over the years, are absolutely magical human beings that most dudes (massively biased assumption, I know) tend to reduce down to a hot meal and a sex toy. I would argue that ignoring and failing to acknowledge the tireless, selfless toil of working (and stay at home) mothers has and continues to cause serious damage to the integrity of our social fabric. And how do I know this? Well, anecdotally, I’ve experienced things first hand. Not as a woman, of course, as that has an entirely different, yet puzzlingly related, set of challenges to overcome. I have merely been filling in for my wife and not really convinced I’m doing a good job at it.

Example:

Guys, you know that feeling when Friday afternoon rolls around and the thought rolls through your mind that, “ah, now I’ve got two days to do whatever the hell I want?” Reality check; working moms (even stay at home moms for that matter) don’t get two days to “do what they want.” They’re on all the time. And not just the, “mom, come wipe my booty” or “hey, have you made coffee yet?” kind of on. While the mentality of a large number of men is something along the lines of, “thanks for the great sex. I’m going golfing/mountain biking/fishing tomorrow for most of the day, what time’s dinner? I LOVE weekends,” moms are still at home, without two days off and no responsibilities, still wiping asses, scheduling the next doctors/dentists visit at the same time running on 3.5 hours of sleep because right after you pulled out, got cleaned up and fell immediately to sleep, two of the kids woke up, one with a pee soaked bed and the other with vomit every place but the toilet and now she’s cleaning up the half digested dinner she made while coordinating volunteers and babysitters for an all day event she’s got next weekend, for which dad can’t watch the kids because it’s his “day off.”

Sound familiar moms? Things at our house have certainly not been that crazy for me the past couple months, but if they had been… good lord!! How do you moms keep your shit together?!? I’ll say it to myself first, primarily because there’s not been any other options, TUNE IN! It’s not 1950 anymore fellas. If your wife works, help with the kids, as most likely it was a mutual decision to have them. Help out at home, pull some weight, not just the lawn mower. If your wife stays at home with the kids, figure out how to give her some time off to take care of herself. And maybe in general, explore the possibility that women are far more capable than society gives them credit for, especially since she’s been putting up with your shit for, how many years now?

Moms, both working and stay at home, y’all are amazing! I got just a taste of what it’s like and I feel like failed in the most fantastic ways. I spent way too much time with my eyes glued to a screen. I was short with the kids, for no good, or defensible reason. I’ve felt lonely, isolated, inadequate. I have the cooking creativity of a sea slug, but my wife never once complained. Each night she would happily eat each “new” iteration of tacos that I’d come up with. I’m all for an egalitarian household, but let me tell you, I’ve still got some work to do. That said, I am convinced that the amount of effort I put into authentically making my marriage better, tuning in to my family and my household and still doing real self care, things can only get better.

I’ve only got one chance at this life and I’d be a fool to throw it away.

Moms, I hear you. To my wife, I hear you and I’ll be attentive not only to your occasional calls for help, but to also build with you a place where we both know, deep in our being, what each needs such that we don’t regularly need to ask for help. I believe we exist to be better humans, making the world a better place for all of us. So, I’ll start small, in my home, and work out from there.

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The ebb and flow of life

It’s been nearly two weeks now since the last post. Not that I’m boiling over with things to say, but it certainly seems like I write more when I’m a bit agitated. Though today, I feel pretty good all the way around. I guess that’s what happens when you have a great date night with the wife and friends, sans kids. 

It is also interesting that recently my wife and I were talking about the different states we often find ourselves in, the ebb and flow, if you will. There was a time not very many weeks ago that we were devouring books left and right, plowing through all sorts of thoughts and musings on life, our goals, what kinds of people we hope to be. Yet now, we have slowed down significantly in many ways. We are much more contemplative, silent, perhaps even slow. 

And in this slowness, we have discovered something that we’ve been, in a sense, searching for, but haven’t had language or expereince to describe it. My wife and I have been in some surface-y conversations with my family about purchasing land together and pooling resources. For years this idea has been simmering on the back burner, but this past week things became pretty clear, and clear in ways I’m not sure we were expecting. 

We realized through a pretty difficult conversation that we aren’t in the same place as my family. In fact, we are in very different places spiritually, emotionally, politically, even the prominent drivers of our existence are in completely different places. Having put all the pieces together  for the first time, we are ready to head a different direction. We’ve spent a great deal of our lives orienting them around a family that is fundamentally on a different plane than ourselves and we have finally been able to admit that truth, and it’s been awfully freeing. 

There will likely be more difficult conversations ahead, but we are following the path that best suits our family and that seems right and good. 

Maybe I can start writing a little more out of a sense of peace and calm than anger and frustration. That would certainly be a flow I’m not used to. I’ll see how it goes. 

Calling

Since we wrapped up a chapter in our lives church planting nearly 10 years ago, my wife and I have yet to really find what we’re looking for in a spiritual community. 

Something I asked her last night had to do with calling, and what does that look like. I understand in my head that calling may look different from person to person, but I still can’t help but wonder if there is some sort of common thread, a similar moment when most people recognize their calling as, “yep, that’s it.”

Does being called to something mean that I recognize a need, a gap in the way things are and am willing to work to fill that gap? Is it making something work better, being good for more people?

I don’t know for sure, but there is certainly something in my gut that says that my wife and I could certainly be forced for good in the world if we were to actually do what we’ve been talking about. I just feel like I have too much baggage from the past that I’ve allowed to have too much sway over me. There are definitely things I’ve still got to work through: fear, confidence, forgiveness. 

So, what’s stopping us? Really? How can I choose presence and intention and follow that thing in me that’s not okay with the status quo?

I’m not sure yet, other than maybe just do it. Sometimes we need to learn to swim and the only way for it to happen is to be thrown in. I’ll see what happens. 

On purpose

I’m not sure I’ve ever sat down, with full intention, and written down the things that I truly want in life. 

It’s an odd exercise in that I feel like it’s overly selfish. However, so many Buddhist, some Christian and mystical teachers often suggest that in finding oneself, only then can we live into our full potential. When we are doing the things that makes us happy on a gut level, then we can be forces for good in the world. 

So, what do I want to do? As Rob Bell asked, what is it that gives my heart life? There are things I like to do, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to support a family. Having often said that, I wonder why I always use that excuse? Perhaps because I haven’t found what I would truly like to do, rather than something that I like to do. If that’s the case, I have a lot of work to do still to find that purpose. 

I think that may be my meditation for the next week at the very lest. What am I to do? What kind of person do I want to be in the world?

I realize this is kind of an echo of the previous few entries, but I’ve never spent time even asking these sorts of questions, so it all new. I guess I’ll be spinning my wheels a bit until I can get some traction and direction. Hopefully that comes soon, but I have a feeling I’m going to have to be intentional about focusing on the journey and not a destination.