Dear sons with your honey-colored, summer hair and those mischievous grins,
I picture you twenty years from now, launching into a world full of adventure and choice, creating stories written in your own script and choosing partners to pen them with. By that age, your Dad and I will (most likely) find you (slightly) intolerable. Because, if you're anything like we were, you'll believe you know more than parents do about all the things. I'll pray about that in advance...
Rest assured, it won't last. As the years pass, it will slowly occur to you how much you don't understand about life - or women. You'll have to trust us for insight at some point. As you begin to pay your own bills and take your own chances, it'll dawn on you that nobody in their right mind should trust you to own nice things or to walk out of a hospital holding a baby. We've all had those thoughts. Hold onto them, sons. It'll keep you humble.
Be amazed at the responsibility you're being allowed to manage. Rely on God for guidance, instead of your 20-something-year-old instincts. There will be less stitches that way.
You've informed us, at ages 4 and 6, that you want wives and kids. You've also let us know that you're planning to live here in our house so that you can keep using the pool. That's not happening, by the way. And by the time you read this, you'll think we have too many rules here anyway. Get a loan.
Imagine now, that future you has chosen a wife. Say you decide together that she'll stay at home with the babies to raise them. That special girl of yours, she's going to need care that you won't understand. Knowing you boys, you'll choose energetic, intelligent women to join our family. I can't wait!
But know that the world is going to suggest to her that raising your babies won't be enough and that her education will be go to waste. Understand that they'll ask her questions like "When are you going back to real work?" and "What do you do all day?" Believe that they'll judge her by how clean the house is and how "put together" your life looks on the outside. Be prepared when some shrug and ask, "How hard could it be to clean and spend the day with the kids?"
Be ready to stand up for her should the rest of your family or friends not understand your life choices. Don't be afraid to create the family you envision. Make priorities and set boundaries.
As a leader in your home and a support to your wife, it'll be up to you two to determine the new standard by which your life will be measured. Measures. By what will her time at home be measured? Six years ago, it would have looked a bit different to me. After being home with the two of you, I'll share that success has begun to look a lot more like this:
1. Walking through life peacefully with the two of you and providing the security of consistent teaching. Teaching you to pray and instilling confidence in you that we're loved by a God who cares.
2. Connecting emotionally. Maintaining a healthy balance of hard work and rest, instead of constantly being overcommitted and distracted.
3. Nurturing a willingness to talk about tough things in an atmosphere of openness, because we've spent so much time together.
4. Maintaining healthy boundaries while chasing dreams. More importantly, cheering one another along as we accomplish them.
5. Cultivating an attitude of wonder, "never-give-up", and lifelong learning. God is constantly speaking and we'll discover new joys our entire lives if only we're open to them.
Truly guys, your kids won't remember whether you did laundry daily or once a week, only that you cared enough to do it. They won't remember if their play space was pristinely organized, only that they had fun. They won't care if dinner was gourmet or a simple baked chicken, only that you ate it together.
They will remember if you were physically present, but distracted.
They'll remember being bathed in love.
They'll recall the feeling of trust and acceptance when you gave them access to your heart and focus.
They'll especially remember whether or not there was any patience left for them at the end of a long day.
So yes, if your wife makes the decision to be a stay-at-home Mom, her job will seem menial to some. Laundry. Toilets. Changing diapers. Those tasks, in and of themselves, aren't difficult. The invisible pressure she'll put on herself every day won't be noticed by anybody but her. She's signed up to be fall girl, so if your kids are rotten, there'll be nobody else to blame.
She'll also carry the burden of shaping, teaching, and encouraging your children to be who God intended them to be. To learn and to grow. To become responsible. To take pride in jobs well done. To make a beautiful, vital difference in the world.
And she'll take it more seriously than anybody else you could ever hope to hire for the job.
Please love her for it, and show her grace when she feels overwhelmed and not enough. Build her up, guys, and remember, "A wife of noble character, who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.*"
Tell her that she's been given everything she needs to fulfill the exceptional job of motherhood she's been called to--whether she works inside the home or outside of it.
Oh, and should you ever forget to remind her that she's amazing, and those nights with the newborn roll into months of her functioning sleepless and passed out on the couch, I simply suggest you sleep with one eye open. Because I'm coming to get you...
I love you so and pray for for all the "Wise Guys" out there,
1. What would you tell your children, husband, or best friends about balancing responsibilities? About your values, work, parenting, or relationships?
2. Write a letter.
"Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching." Proverbs 1:8
"In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself." Ephesians 5:28
M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Earns Crossfit participation trophies. Disaster cook. Enthusiastic wife. #Boymom. Clutches her faith, not her pearls.