Long before I got married, I had a vision of what my marriage would look like. Despite my aversion to the idea of being a stay-at-home mom, I always wanted a career that would permit me to have a flexible enough schedule where I would be able to spend time with my kids. But more than anything, I didn’t see myself being the one trying to keep up with the traditional wifely duties of cooking every day, keeping the house clean 24/7 and being everything for everybody. Needless to say, my views slightly changed once I got married.
As soon as we jumped the broom, I was hit with a barrage of questions and unwanted advice.
“You’re not cooking Thanksgiving dinner?”
“You’re leaving him home alone?”
“Make sure you make time for your husband now that you have kids.”
As annoying as all of that was, they made me second-guess my role as a wife and even question if my husband’s expectations were being met.
Did he have a certain level of expectation? To be honest, I wasn’t sure. Although we attended premarital counseling and discussed a wide array of topics, we failed to accurately detail what our roles would entail after we actually said “I do.” Thus, questions and comments from other people coupled with comparing myself to other wives I knew made me hone in on my responsibilities and how they might affect my husband.
Here lies the guilt.
Now, I’ve mentioned a few things to my husband and even asked him outright about specifics, such as, the amount of cooking and cleaning I do every day, and he always says the same thing: “I don’t care.” I know he doesn’t care, as he didn’t marry me to cook for him or to be the top house cleaner this side of the Mississippi or to even be Supermom with our daughters. Unfortunately, guilt still plagues me, unnecessarily.
And having kids does change the game up quite a bit. They require a lot of attention and energy, oftentimes leaving me mentally and physically exhausted. I also feel like I worry about the kids before I worry about my husband because I have to. I’m quick to ensure that the kids are okay and put their needs first, so my husband often comes second. Therefore, I find a way to assume that I’m not giving him the attention he needs.
So when my husband talks about how he needs to change his diet to accomplish his weight goals, I quickly think about how I can help him achieve that. One of my friends posted a picture of the breakfast that she prepares weekly for her husband, on social media. I reached out to her to find out the logistics as I planned to do weekly for both my husband and I, mainly for my husband so that he won’t have an excuse not to eat breakfast. She told me her secret and that she does it every Sunday. Although, it would be an efficient way of cooking and a great way to save money, I still haven’t found the time to complete that task.
Comparing myself to others wives is never a smart thing, but being on social media makes it damn near impossible not to compare. I can’t blame the Internet entirely, but watching other wives doing their job, and doing it in ways that seem better than me, doesn’t help to quell my feelings of guilt.
Wife guilt is real and can put unnecessary stress on women, especially if your husband says he’s happy (and most importantly, seems to be). If you’re experiencing wife guilt, talk to your husband to see where his thoughts and opinions lie. If he’s good, then you should be, too. But if you’re still not, congratulations, you’re human.
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