Jealousy, Part 2
One of the reasons I was so excited for this beach trip was because it was the most time we got to spend consecutively together since Collins had been born. And a lot of that time, we spent together, and it was great. I knew Blake and my dad would play golf a couple of times together because they always do while we’re there. I also knew he would go fly fishing once because I had given the trip to him for his first father’s day. So I knew beforehand these outings would be taking place, and I was glad for him—I promise I was! But then he would go, and I would feel that blasted jealousy build. I didn’t want to feel it. I wanted to be happy he was out doing something he enjoyed. There’s a big part of me that fights for selfishness, though, and she either wanted to go out too or be more appreciated for staying home.
Honestly, it’s pretty ridiculous that I will feel this way because my husband wants to take care of our baby so I can go do things too. But I find myself hesitant. I hesitate because when Blake is home, I like for the three of us to be together. Leaving Collins for more than an hour makes me ache for her. And the biggest hesitation of them all is this:
For the first time in my life, I’m required to ask of someone else in order to have time for myself.
Before baby, it was much easier to carve time to do the things I wanted. I could stop at a coffee shop on my home from work or spend half my Saturday there if I deemed best. Now, although it takes a bit more finagling with schedules, I could still go do that—but I have to ask first. I don’t like doing that. Not only am I a jealous and selfish person, but it turns out I’m a prideful person. I want to be strong, to send Blake away whenever he wishes to do things he enjoys. (It’s not that he wants to be gone all the time—but a camping trip every once in a while wouldn’t exactly crush his weekend dreams.) The problem with trying to be this person is I quickly run dry. Finding time for myself, to spend with Jesus or a friend, should not be considered a luxury—it should be considered essential to the soul. It’s an awesome thing to want to give more than we take, but like the rest of mankind, moms not only desire but REQUIRE time to refuel, rest, and rejuvenate.
A couple of Saturdays ago, I felt tired and a little alone. Blake encouraged me to go to a coffee shop and you guys, I came home so refreshed. I don’t think I was gone for two hours—I ate, wrote letters, and read—but I think if I had been sprinkled with fairy dust, I would have begun to fly. That’s all it took to feel back on track. But the thing is, Blake had to initiate it—I don’t know that I would have. And I need to start. It makes me a better mama, and it’s definitely good for our marriage. While I never blame Blake for having the “fun role,” I sometimes wish I could join him. Through that desire, here is what I’m learning:
If I don’t take ownership for my needs, that’s not being selfless—that’s setting our marriage up for bitterness.
It certainly won’t make me the mom and role model I want to be for my daughter, either. There is no such thing as “the fun parent” unless we let it become that way. Moms and dads have different roles, and they are both so very needed for the benefit of their family and more importantly for the work of bringing God’s kingdom to this earth. We can’t do it alone. We can’t be prideful and pretend we don’t have needs. That’s a path straight to isolation and constant defeat.
I think moms, including myself, get the idea we have to be impossibly strong from a lot of sources, some of them being good—like Proverbs 31. So many good qualities of a wife and mother are mentioned in this brief chapter. But you know what? Verse 17 says,
“She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.”
How do you think she dresses herself with strength? What makes you personally feel strong? This woman fills her husband and children with the love of Jesus—Jesus is her strength. To fill others with Him, she must let herself be filled as well. It’s essential to the soul.
The second we feel jealousy creep into our minds, we must figure out the root of the jealousy and rip it out of the ground. For me, I get jealous of Blake because I’ve already established him as the fun parent. Whether he’s funnier than me or not (he is) is beside the point. God designed me to be Collins’ mom, and I need to run with that. To be looking at Blake’s role and feeling sorry for myself for having a different one means my focus is not where it should be. I want every day to matter, and to do that, my focus must be on Jesus and the role He has given me and no one else to fill.
The moment we feel pride shake its ugly head at us, we must remember we are human. We cannot do this life alone. We were designed to live life amongst others. We give and we take. To give more than we take is a beautiful and noble thing. Eventually though, we must take a little if we want to continue giving. And if what we’re “taking” isn’t satisfying our souls, maybe we need to reconsider what source we’re taking from.