Taking Out The Trash

takingtrash1How many times as kids did we hear, “You wait until I tell your father!” or, “Just wait until your daddy gets home!”? If you were raised in a family with 2+ kids, had a mom who always had a baby on her hip, and enjoyed getting in your fair share of mischief, chances are you heard it quite a bit. Fast forward a couple of decades and we’re in your kitchen, with your children and a baby on your hip and you find yourself saying those exact same words. Normal? Perhaps. Expected? Sure. Healthy? Not so much.

When my husband and I got married we laid down a few ground rules:

Divorce was not an option, and we would never threaten each other with the possibility – we don’t even use the word.

Our families were for loving support, wisdom and advice – not for running to in the middle of a disagreement, turning against the other, or using to manipulate each other.

As we matured in our relationship we expanded the list to include always discussing financial decisions, never using or withholding sex as a means of manipulation, and always resolving a disagreement before going to bed, among others.

And then we had kids… and with them came the need for a whole new set of rules. If at times I felt as a new mom that my daughter should have left the hospital with a user’s manual, I had no idea what to do when she started talking! A negotiator at heart, our Little Miss could persuade warring countries into peace treaties. She could also reason her way in and out of just about any circumstance, including a consequence. Thankfully, I’m not a bad negotiator myself but I have to work hard to keep up with her as she is in her prime and I’m a bit, well, rusty.

{Side Note: As parents we strive to mold and shape our kids natural gifts (like reasoning and debate) into the magnificent skill-sets God intended them to be, while instilling the utmost importance of self-discipline, respect and submission to authority. It sounds glorious. It is grueling, but so worth it.}

All this to say, whether it’s her little well-crafted debates or just plain naughty behavior, there are days I find myself exhausted with the confrontation and severely tempted to throw the problem at Daddy as he walks through the door.

taketrash2

A few months ago I started noticing how my husband, after walking in at the end of a long day, would look at the trash can (almost always heaping after a day’s worth of hard abuse) with a glare resembling defeat. I never asked, and he always would stop what he was doing and empty it. But knowing that he has been working all day, to see him come home to a pile of garbage saddened my heart. Not that it was a big deal – he never said a word, and to this day we have never discussed it, but I found myself wanting to take this one little thing off his plate.

So every day about 15 minutes before he gets home, I check the trash. No, I’m not really that good, I don’t remember on my own. But I did set an alarm so my phone will ding reminding me to take it out. Some days it’s completely impossible to get to it while carrying around the two grumpy kiddos that have attached themselves to my person, but as a rule I have tried very hard to make it a habit. Has he noticed? I have no idea, but at least for the most part that’s something he hasn’t had to face at the end of his day.

When we began making ‘rules’ in our marriage, most of them were born from trial and error, either from seeing our own mistakes or someone else’s. The same has been true with raising our kids and building a godly family.

One thing I have discovered is that by intentionally dealing with my daughter throughout the day (being calm, loving and firm when she tests or disobeys) I am creating an atmosphere of obedience and respect. By threatening her with consequences that may or may not ever develop, or throwing the problem to Dad to deal with, I’m not taking the God-given responsibility that is mine as her mother. Not only will it erode the respect she has for me, but it will cultivate an unhealthy relationship with her Daddy.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are some crimes that need to be recognized and addressed by both parents due to the severity. But to pass off a day’s worth of minor offenses to a parent that wasn’t even present for them sounds a lot like dumping my job into his lap.

trash3I know as moms we have a WORLD of responsibility and the things that need attention throughout the day don’t stop screaming at us just because we have a misbehaving kid. But at the end of the day, what is more important? That the laundry is finished, dinner is ready and the house is picked up, or that we have invested a full day into our child’s upbringing, instilling consistency and the much-needed boundaries to make them feel safe and loved? The laundry will never be finished, but someday all-to-soon our babies will be leaving for college and we’ll have lost our chance to mold and shape a person of greatness.

As a wife and mama, I know I’ve been paying a lot more attention lately to how my relationship with my kiddos is positively (or negatively) affecting my relationship with my husband, and this is one way I’ve found to greatly improve them both.

Whether it’s running a bag of trash out to the garage 5 minutes before he pulls in, or taking the time to address the discord throughout the day, we have been enjoying better family time in the evenings (and better relationships over all) because we’ve been intentional about setting ourselves up for success.

Take out the trash – literally and figuratively – before Daddy get’s home, and see if you notice any improvements in your family environment. I bet you’ll like what you find!

❤ Jasmine

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2 thoughts on “Taking Out The Trash

  1. Another great post! I so wish my daughter came with a user’s manual too! 🙂 I agree about being intentional; sometimes it is easier to just let the day “happen” instead of thinking ahead and truly being the parent (but then that always backfires.) Thank you!

    Like

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