I worked at Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging (ENOA) as a Data Entry Clerk for 30 hours a week since April 2010. My last day was this past Tuesday. Every morning I woke up at 6 a.m. in order to be ready to leave by 7:20a.m. I didn’t mind getting up this early at all. Matter of fact, if I timed everything just right I got to listen to Focus on the Family on the radio. (I also had my favorite radio programs for the trip home! Yes, I love talk radio!) I put in my six hours a day and headed back home to my house full of boys.
Sometimes when I got home, the house would be in order: dishes were done, laundry was washed, the kids were doing their school work. I sooooo enjoyed coming home from a long day at work to a clean house, happy kids and a happy husband. At other times, usually when I was preparing the end-of-month reports for the state, I would come home exhausted. Coincidentally, it was during those times that I would come home and the house was not clean: the dishes were still piled up, the laundry did not make it to the laundry room and the boys were bored and wondering what they should do. I so wanted to ask Giff, “What have you been doing all day? Why haven’t you done this? Why haven’t you done that?”
CAVEAT: During those six months, I occasionally suffered from a short-term memory lapse that caused me to say things I really didn’t want to say. For all you stay-at-home moms out there, please don’t hate me, but I actually did ask him that once. And he rattled off the reasons why things were in the shape they were: Logan was cranky, Andrew wasn’t behaving and was in one of his episodes, he was on multiple business calls, etc. (By the way, Giff did a great job. He had a lot on his plate with running a business, homeschooling our boys, keeping house, making dinner, etc!)
After our tempers had cooled down a little, we were able to talk about it. I was trying to get him to understand and appreciate me and Giff was trying to get me to understand and appreciate him. It dawned on me that while my working part time supplemented our income for a while. It also allowed us to see things from a different perspective.
In these switched roles, I could now understand how Giff felt when he came home and the baby was colicky, the house was a mess and I had no idea what I was going to make for dinner. But let me just say this: When Giff was working full time, he NEVER looked at the shape of the house and asked what I did all day! Conversely, Giff was able to understand and appreciate what all went into being a stay-at-home mom. We each had somewhat of an understanding of what each of us did, but it was only a sketchy outline, It wasn’t until I started working and Giff was home full time did we start to full understand and appreciate it. The sketchy outline became a full color snapshot. It has been good for our marrriage to switch roles for a little while. I am reminded of the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be…understood as to understand…!
This is something that I am sure neither one of us will forget anytime soon. Becoming one in your marriage is a lifelong process, and I am thankful to God for the opportunity to do this for a lifetime with the man I love!!!