This was the first article: “I’m 99% Mother and 1% Wife–And it has to be that way” in which the author, a tired mother, states why she will always put her kids above her husband (to the detriment of her marriage).
This response hit the web a few days later: “I’m 49% Mother and 51% Wife–And it has to be that way.” This article was from a Christian woman who argued that in order for a family to be happy and healthy, a wife must make her husband a priority over her children, if only by 2%.
Here’s my two cents:
If we are going to pursue happy, healthy, and godly relationships in our families, we need to be 100% mom and 100% wife.
Because…they are two different roles.
Being a good wife doesn’t mean that I ignore my children for the sake of my husband.
Nor does being a good mom mean that I forget that I am married to a man I respect and love.
|Photo by S. Carter Studios|
They are two different roles, each requiring different time commitments and energy focuses.
Aaron and I talked about this issue in the car yesterday as we drove for 2.5 blissful hours–blissful because all 4 boys were strapped in their car seats and no one was crying or screaming for food (thank you, DVD player).
My husband is a math guy (it’s true: he as two math degrees) and he “did the math” on the mother/wife debate.
Aaron: Let’s say you get 8 hours of sleep at night–
Aaron: I was being hypothetical. But let’s just say…Then you have about 10 hours of “mothering” before I get home from work at 5. We have about 2-3 hours of co-parenting before the kids go to bed and maybe 2 hours before we both conk out for the night.
Yeah…you’re pretty much 100% mom.
Me: Do you feel neglected as a husband?
Aaron: Not at all.
Of course, adding up the numbers to determine value and worth of my family roles is pretty silly. Plus, by that criteria, the kids win and I am a sucky wife. But just because I spend more time and energy with the kids doesn’t mean I don’t “put my husband first.”
|Photo by S. Carter Studios|
My relationship with Aaron is a huge priority to me, which is how I am interpreting “putting my husband first” (Otherwise, I really don’t know what this phase means).
The 99/1 and the 51/49 relationship arguments pit motherhood and wifehood against each other, as if being a “good mother” means I can only toss 1% to my husband, or being a “good wife” means that I must somehow carve out 51% of….something to my husband.
I believe this creates needless anxiety for many women: Oh no...am I prioritizing the kids before my husband? Am I more “mom” than “wife”?
It doesn’t have to be either/or, 99/1, or even 49/51.
The roles of “wife” and “mother” don’t need to be at war with each other.
We can be 100% mothers and 100% wives.
Or maybe, instead of focusing on percentages and numbers, we should just focus on being the best moms and wives we can possibly be in our unique family situations.
A few more thoughts:
~Other than the false 51/49 bifurcation, I agree with pretty much everything Ashleigh said in her article. Cultivating a strong marriage relationship is foundational for a strong family.
~I think the 99/1 mentality often results from a woman feeling like her husband is an overgrown “child” who is a burden to take care of. A healthy marriage is a partnership of equals, with mutual respect between spouses.
~Consider how silly this discussion sounds when the gender roles are reversed:
I’m 99% father and 1% husband–And it has to be that way (???)
I’m 51% husband and 49% father–And it has to be that way (???)
|100% dad and 100% husband–And it has to be that way|