M Trifecta: Messy Married Mom

Written by Stacey Micklevitz
Messy Marriage Team Member

I bear the burden of being a Messy Married Mom. You know the type. My marriage isn’t always perfect, and my kids aren’t always perfect. Maintaining a fulfilling married relationship with my husband, Bryan is difficult enough on its own.  Add two tots to the mix, and the perfection meter always seems to read “not quite …”

My daily routine is so boring that it doesn’t even rate high enough to put on paper. Yet, it’s what makes me happy. I am blessed by an adoring husband who busts his tail to support our family, and I have been given the gift of two beautiful boys who beat the odds to come into this world.

So, why do I feel so … inadequate?

Knot.jpgI am constantly feeling the pressures of “not enough” and “too much.”

I don’t spend enough time with my kids, OR they watch too much TV.

My meals are not healthy enough, OR I feed them too much junk food.

My house is not clean enough, OR I’m too strict to expect them to clean up after themselves.

The worst: I am more attentive to my boys than my husband, or vice-versa.

The Married Mother bar has been set high. But, where do these expectations come from??

I am torn between being the perfect wife and the perfect mother and knowing that the reality isI cannot be BOTH, and (*gasp!*) I cannot be either!!

Resources like Pinterest and Facebook can be helpful in providing information on how to maintain a tidy house and healthy relationships, but addictions to such resources (who says I’m addicted??) can lead to feelings of inadequacy.

Disregard the abhorrent slogan: “Stop the glorification of busy!” Thanks for the extra dose of guilt.

I don’t glorify busyI LOATHE it, but life is busy.

I’ve set boundaries, and I work to maintain some downtime for my family. But, society has its agenda, and we married moms are WAY too hard on ourselves for not reaching some sort of abstract benchmark of adequacy for our families.

One thing I’ve noticed that exacerbates this problem: placing the needs/relationships of our children above those of our spouse.

Aside from the near certain resentment resulting from a neglected spouse, such shifts in priorities create an imbalance in family dynamics. Kids will see that their needs are met before those of mom or dad, and they will demand this routine continues despite the damage it causes. Parents who pour their entire beings into raising their childrenlargely ignoring each otherwill find themselves living with a stranger when the nest is empty.

It comes down to BALANCE: I must work to balanceto the best of my abilitythe amount of time and attention I give to areas of my life.

It comes down to LIMITS: I must limit the areas of my life that I will allow to absorb my valuable time and attention.

It comes down to SURRENDER: I must rememberabove all elsethis life, my husband, and my children are a gift from God, given only for the amount of time that He has predetermined.

When I realize that I am not in control of this life, perfection seems less important.

These principles are measured on personal needs determined by every family.

What works for your family?

photo by Phineas H

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Linking up with – NOBH, Monday’s Musings, Marriage Moment, Matrimonial Monday, and Playdates with God

  • GreatPeaceAcademy

    Hi Beth.
    I struggle with these same realizations. I know I’m not perfect and can’t do anything perfectly, yet I struggle with wanting things to go perfectly. Aaaagh… I just give it to HIM. He knows what I need and I’m being made perfect in His son. 🙂

  • Such good words, Stacey–and ones I believe we all have felt so often. Different seasons make different demands, don’t they? But the season of surrender to God is a constant.

    Beth, I know what you mean in your comment at The Wellspring about letting reading go. This is another example of balance, isn’t it? There is that scripture in Ecclesiastes about much study wearying the body. I think anything can become an idol if we let it. I’m always, always reevaluating, recommitting, readjusting where I put my heart. And surrendering it to God.

  • Hi Laura! Thanks so much for the encouragement. I especially like how you describe seasons. Helps me to realize that this, too, shall pass. 🙂

  • Thanks so much for coming by, Renee. Actually this was written by my MM team member, Stacey, but I think we can ALL relate to this challenge and struggle to find balance and acceptance. It’s so tough being a parent, but as Stacey and you both said, it’s about surrendering it all to Him!

  • Yes, I suppose you’re right, Laura. It is another area of life that is so hard to balance. I really appreciate you coming by here to encourage Stacey and friending me on FB too! 🙂 You’re so sweet and I look forward to seeing what you’re up to, not just from your blog, but from FB now as well! Hugs to you!

  • I almost forgot to let you know how much I appreciated this perspective, Stacey. You have outlined some great points–probably learned by hard experience! I’m praying they encourage those who feel overwhelmed where marriage and motherhood intersect. Great job!

  • rboerner

    Balance, Limit and SURRENDER! These are all words that I am working to put in practice. I love your insight and reminder that the most important is SURRENDERING because when we surrender, God is faithful to help us balance and limit.

  • Thanks, Beth! I appreciate your words. I live with the daily struggle of “not enough,” but I try as often as possible to lay my concerns at the foot of His throne. Not easy for this control freak!

  • Heather C.

    Nice post, Stacey! A motto in our house is too much of anything is bad. Balance is best.

  • Kimberly

    There are some days I feel like I just can’t win. I often have great intentions to make Pintrest’s latest ” healthy meal they’ll love” but then my evening is spent on YouTube trying to figure out how to help my teenager with their math homework….. so Papa John’s does the cooking. Then having world war three with the eleven year old that its time to get off the computer. I get into bed with my husband and he starts giving me those ” signals” and like “For real, Dude? I’ve been studying the quadratic formula for three and a half hours. NOT IN THE MOOD”.God has really been trying to get me to be disciplined forever, and only now as I have been back to working have I begun to listen. Planning is NOT my strength, but has been the key to navigating this Messy Life

  • Well said! I see so many parents who make the children the center of the universe. Not only does that leave the parents as strangers when they become empty nesters, but it also gives the children an unrealistic view of their place/importance.

    We strived for balance when our girls were little. We would often find we’d fall too far one way or the other, and have to recalibrate, but that is life!

  • Thank you for your comment! I wish I could remember to surrender constantly. The peace that comes with knowing that God is in control far outweighs the feelings of inadequacy! 🙂

  • Thanks, Heather! That is definitely a good motto! 🙂

  • Kimberly, you are spot on! (the quadratic formula can kill ANY mood – lol!) Seems like the days just take themselves over sometimes. I am so grateful that God grants us new days! 🙂 ps – I like seeing your smile in the mornings!

  • Kim – you have a point about having to recalibrate. But, I believe that the fact that you have a goal or boundary set is what is truly important. You see the need to protect your relationship with your spouse (which ultimately also benefits your children) and doing so tells me your marriage is important. It breaks my heart when friends say that their kids are “their life”, etc, etc. Yes, my kids certainly absorb more of my time as a stay at home mom, but I strive to regularly demonstrate that they must respect the time I need to spend, talk to, or just hug and kiss their daddy. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  • True, true, Stacey! I neglected to say that we are sort of empty nesters, and love the freedom we have. When we were a couple of years from having both girls in college, younger friends approached us with much concern: What will you do without the kids in the house? Aren’t you afraid of how bored you’ll be? We were always shocked by their point of view, and did all we could to encourage them to put their spouse back into a place of importance in their life.