Honor

I am a verbal processor. Ask any of our friends, and they will tell you that as I read or think about life, I need to talk out my ideas. Especially if I’m on the verge of shifting my thinking about something, I need to work through it with others. Frank, who is more of an internal processor, deals with the brunt of my questions, rants, and opinions and has – for the most part – learned that this is how I best learn.

One of the hardest things for me about being a mom is feeling heard. Bea is absolutely adorable but I need to feel important, too. It’s been tough – that balance of quality time before bedtime and learning to honor each of our needs and personalities.

Honoring the need for quality time with a zoo-selfie
Honoring the need for quality time with a zoo-selfie

When Frank comes in, he swings Bea up in the air and asks her about the adventures of the day. Usually, he’s home between 5:30 and 6:00 and with bedtime at 7:30, he needs to pack in the playtime, the snuggles and reading, and the memories he’s missed while at work. Bea adores this time together, showing off, laughing, luring him with just one more book… At our best, I have dinner ready and put aside dishes and cleaning up and we enjoy this time as a family.

Last week, in a not-best moment, I had just finished Lean In and was excitedly telling Frank what I had learned, questions I had, and the feeling of empowerment the book had given me. He was engaged at first, but I saw a familiar glaze in his eye as Bea ran across the yard, gardening tools in hand, stealing her dad’s attention. Later that evening, we talked about days with a two-year-old and how I’ve been reading more nonfiction the past couple years, trying to keep learning, to take advantage of this time at home. We talked about how, after discussing the nuances of Madeline and Daniel Tiger all day, I needed to talk with an adult, to have someone respond.

From the three book clubs I’m actively part of to my dreams of a next career to listening as I recount every amazing part of my most recent book, Frank honors my need for learning and connectivity. In order for me to feel excited, to feel like I’ve truly learned something, I need to share it.

I’m learning to honor his time as a working dad, too. I recognize the fact that he would much rather be home playing with us than on endless calls to the IRS, fixing other people’s problems. I also totally understand those precious minutes between walking in the front door and bedtime – minutes needed to establish trust and memories. Minutes he uses to honor his daughter’s need for attention from her dad.

As we shift and continue to figure out life as a family of three, I see how much adaptability is needed as we balance and honor each person’s needs. The core needs of being heard, of feeling loved, of squeezing in time together are important to all of us. As we recognize and acknowledge those core values, it seems easier to balance that time of play and listening and processing so that, more often than not, they weave together rather than stand alone.

How do you feel heard? What are some ways your family balances connecting with each personality type?

Linked with SheLoves Magazine’s monthly theme: Honour.

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19 thoughts on “Honor

  1. Boy, I can relate. I’m that verbal processor married to a not one. 🙂 He “endures” me. No littles at home anymore and he’s told me how he misses that time of walking in the door to have two little ones running to grab his legs while calling out “daddy”. Relationship is about honoring each of those things, isn’t it? Good words, Annie.

  2. Processing being heard as a mom is a life-long process. You are fortunate to have someone who is willing to participate.

  3. I remember this shift as our family grew, but you describe it so beautifully. It’s easy to let your passions and your marriage get squeezed out by your kids…as winderful as they are. Be intentional about scheduling some time for both. Thanks for sharing this great post!

  4. I so remember this shift as our family grew, but you described it so perfectly. It’s so easy for your passions and marriage to get squeezed out by your children. Be intentional about nurturing both. Thanks for sharing this great post!

  5. When the children were little I could be ok with this. I engaged with other moms at toddler group etc and the hours after bedtime were ours. Now as the girls are teenagers I feel like I have no one on one time. I also want to discuss and explore my thoughts with my husband but keep finding myself Interupped by the need off one teen or anothe and with one 18 this week is not as if I can send them to bed. It’s hard and I have no answers.

    1. Thanks for that perspective, Sara. I often romanticize moms of teens, thinking how wonderful that independence must be. But, you lose the after bedtime hours and I’m sure the attention gets more complex. Thanks for the reminder that each phase is a learning experience!

  6. What priceless lessons you’re learning, Annie. My husband and I learned some of the lessons the hard way. 🙂 Our boys are 17 months apart, and in the toddler stage, I had days where I couldn’t wait to have a little time for myself. On my hubby’s day off, I’d go run a bunch of errands and come home five hours later. He’d be fried and frustrated by then. We learned that one way we honor each other is to give each other the gift of time.

    We’re still figuring out what that looks like as our boys grow. With two pre-teens in the house, the days keep reminding me they will only be here for a little longer. I want to cherish each moment with them. One boy is a cuddled. He needs cuddle time with me to process through emotions and thoughts. One boy is an adventurer. He loves pushing himself. He is not familiar with fear. Finding a balance for their needs is tricky and comes with compromise on one part or the other. My husband and I do what we can to keep our relationship strong as well. We talk a lot, and we date when we can.

    Being a family takes a delicate balance of honoring each other’s needs and constantly learning as our boys grow and change. Sorry this turned into a novella. You just got me thinking. 🙂

    1. Such a balance! And, when I take time alone, I feel like I’m missing out… Frank offered to let me have a night to myself while he and Bea roast s’mores and backyard camp. While a quiet dinner sounds amazing, I’d miss the sticky mess of those first s’mores. Love what you said: It’s a delicate balance….

  7. I hear your heart, Annie, and I know exactly what you are feeling. I’m home with my littles all day every day now and it’s such a transition from having most of my day with grown-ups just nine months ago…for the past nine years. I was just trying to have an adult conversation with my husband while he came in for a quick lunch and my three year-old was pulling on me wanting me to go with her. It’s hard, this motherhood and wifehood. Finding balance has been the hardest part for me recently. We do the best we can. I’m intentionally seeking His wisdom…out loud and often…because I just don’t have it in me to do this alone. Thankfully we don’t have to. Bless you and your family! Thank you for sharing and linking-up today…and thankful for the Grace we have in the glorious ordinary we share as mothers. 😉

    1. Thanks, Meredith! You’re right – I’m so glad we’re not doing this alone. Thank you for creating space to remember this balance of motherhood.

  8. I can definitely relate! I’ve seen that all to familiar eye glaze too. I know it’s hard for my husband after spending so many hours at work and I start verbally dumping on him as soon as he walks in…so I’ve learned to give him some time to wind down first. Thanks for sharing a little glimpse into your world. I feel heard with my new blogging friends I’ve made over the past few months, women at church, and often my husband…when I give him time. 😉

    1. Ha! The glaze… Yes, I’m trying to just let the craziness of coming home and snuggling in happen before I start in on my thoughts. Some days are easier than others! 😉

  9. Hi Annie, this post reveals so much of your heart’s beauty — your willingness to fight to have your story heard in the midst of all the “noise” of life with toddler. It’s clear that you have that same desire for others as well. Thanks for sharing your voice.

  10. Another wonderful post, Annie and this one is spot on every line. We completely live this one. I’m also a verbal processor – you had me smiling from the first line! And my engineer husband is so used up from managing people and projects by the end of the day. He does get glazed! 🙂 We were everything to one another when first married, and I think this may be a way God gently pulls us out into greater community, but tough when you’ve got a little person trotting along to ‘help’ !
    Thanks for this window into your days. Blessings.

    1. Thanks so much, Anne-Marie! I like the idea of God using this season to teach us about community…. Thanks, as always, for stopping by with encouragement.

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