“What do you really do?” 10 things you shouldn’t say to a stay-at-home mom.

I’ve made the mistake. So have other husbands. Even friends, parents, in-laws, and random relatives have dropped these verbal bombs. For me, it’s as if as the words are leaving my tongue and I began to reach out to try to retrieve them.  For others, the phrases roll off the tongue with little regard for what they might do. And like most thoughtless comments, the damage is done before anyone can have the chance realize what has been said or to apologize for what’s been done.

After dealing with the issue of “rest” here at Kfirst, it is more than apparent that so many people are dealing with not being able to embrace the healthy habit of resting.  Perhaps, the most “unrested” group being our stay-at-home moms.  For years, ridiculous comments get thrown out to so many moms that put more pressure upon them as well as make them feel like less of a human being because they do not do what YOU think they should do.  

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Years ago, we (Anne and I) felt this was the direction we wanted to go for our family and made the sacrifices we needed to make it happen.  We don’t regret it nor do we guilt moms who have decided to work outside of the home either by choice or circumstance.  A mom, working in the home and/or working outside of the home are heroes to our families.  I honor and bless them.  But if a mom decides to be a homemaker…

…then there are 10 statements I’m going to ask you NOT to say to them. 

1. “Did you do ANYTHING today?” Never mind things were cleaned up AND destroyed three times over.  But thanks for noticing. 

2. “What do you do with all of your free time?” Free time? 

3. “Since you have so much time on your hands, you can do ___________.” There’s always the assumption that a stay-at-home mom has endless time, ability, and strength and she can add everything you want her to do for the school, church, neighborhood, and friends. 

4. “That’s all you did today?” It doesn’t matter if it’s from a friend or from her husband, It is a very close cousin to #1 but a bit more demeaning.  

5. “This place is a mad house…when is dinner?” By the time you say that, she may be picturing you in the oven instead of the roast. 

6. “What’s the big deal?  Take a nap when the kids do.” Of course if she does, #1 or #4 will be used. 

7. “Fine, I’ll babysit the kids for a while.” (***clears throat) You don’t “babysit the kids”…YOU’RE THEIR DAD!!!!

8. “I don’t see what the big deal is…the kids act fine for me.”  From the grandparents to “friendly” neighbors, any scrap of feeling like a competent parent has just been squashed.

9. “Being home all day would drive me nuts. I must have something to do outside of the home.”  It seems like well-meaning friend is saying, “you obviously don’t have the drive I have so I’m letting you know how motivated I am.”

10. “Oh you had time to run/workout/read/relax?  Must be nice.” In other words: breaks, meals, and just plain rest applies to everyone but the stay-at-home mom. 

To every dad (and I’d include grandparents): I admonish you to help foster a culture of rest for our moms.  There needs to be moments of quality time with you but they require quality moments of solitude.  Rise to the occasion without being asked. Be their hero and show your children what a Godly dad does for his kids and his wife. 

To every mom, whether you work in or outside the home, I speak a scripture into your life. 

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” – Isaiah 41:13

Every time you feel tired and weary, remember you are not abandoned by God.  He will hold you up.  He will strengthen you. Lean upon him and he will be your help.  

After months of trying to form this blog, I leave you the very first line I wrote when this blog was conceived:

I thank the Lord for our moms. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Marriage Series: Catchphrases – “Don’t worry about it!”

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My sole goal of this week’s marriage blog is simple:  I want you to stop saying “Don’t worry about it!”

Two weeks ago we began a new series entitled “Marital Catchphrases” in which we look at the random phrases we toss out almost flippantly to our spouses while potentially losing the meaning behind the words. The scripture for this series is: Proverbs 13:3 “Careful words make for a careful life; careless talk may ruin everything.” (The Message) In our last two blogs, we attacked the simple, yet overused catchphrases “Yes Dear” and “I’m Sorry.”  Today we hit another one.

Title Marriage Catchphrases

Don’t worry about it!

“How much did you spend at the store?” “Don’t worry about it!
“What are you looking at on your computer?”  “Don’t worry about it!
“What did you say to your mother?”  “Don’t worry about it!
“When are you going to be home?” “Don’t worry about it!

(I can almost hear the temperature of tempers rising…you’ve heard this “catchphrase” before haven’t you?)

It was about 9 or so years ago and we were on vacation in Florida with my entire family.  My parents had rented a hug home for the entire family to stay in.  On our first night there, Anne had waken up to find me missing from the bed. She walked out to the living room area to find me sitting in the dark on my computer intently staring at the screen. All I heard was “What in the world are you doing at 4am?”  My reply?

Don’t worry about it. Go back to bed.”

With all the volume she could muster without waking up my parents and my sister’s family, I heard these words, “DON’T YOU DARE TELL ME THAT!!! I’M YOUR ACCOUNTABILITY AND YOU ARE GOING TO TELL ME RIGHT NOW WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING AT!”

I hung my head in shame.  I looked up at her and showed her my screen.  “Babe, Marty and I are against each other in our Fantasy Baseball Championship and I had to wake up and get my players before he gets up…I gotta beat him!”

The only reply she gave was, “This is stupid…I’m going back to bed.”

When you hear those words “Don’t worry about it“, what do you hear? (I’m not talking about the casual response to a silly situation:  “I ordered you a Coke instead of Pepsi…sorry.”  “It’s okay.  Don’t worry about it.”)

I’m talking about the way that you and I use this catchphrase to simply say “It’s none of your business” but without the harshness.  That’s what it means doesn’t it? We get an inquiry that we don’t want to have to explain so we drop the catchphrase.  Some people will utilize it to escape shame and embarrassment as to not get caught.  I don’t know how you use it, but that simple little catchphrase has been used to fracture so many marriages.

How? First, the words “Don’t worry about itfractures the sense of oneness of your marriage. Genesis 2:25 says, Adam and Eve were “naked and unashamed.” There was nothing hidden between them.  It’s a phenomenal pattern for any marriage.  To have emotional, spiritual, mental, and, yes, physical nakedness within your marriage fosters that cohesive oneness that guides a healthy marriage.  When you start masking your actions with “Don’t worry about it“, you are beginning to turn your marriage into two silos instead of the oneness that the Lord intended.

Secondly, the words “Don’t worry about it” fractures the trust of your marriage.  The second you begin to hide actions, thoughts, and feelings behind that catchphrase, you put mystery in the mind of your spouse regarding your “private” life. (NOTE: If you are keeping a private life hidden from your spouse, you’ve got some serious marital challenges coming your way…but that’s for another blog.) I don’t care if you don’t thing your husband/wife wouldn’t understand the business, finances, home, etc.  If they’re asking about something, tell them. Let him/her decide if they want to ask again.  Ignorance is not bliss! What your spouse needs to see is that your life is an open book to him/her. In 1 Corinthians 7, we read “The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.”  Even though the context is sex and intimacy, the principle of ownership and oneness is applicable.  You belong to each other and you cannot purposely keep things whether for convenience, concealment, or solitude.

Lastly, the words “Don’t worry about it” fractures the your heart toward your spouse. When you start giving yourself permission to use this catchphrase, you are taking one step way from your spouse and one step closer to fostering a heart of a “single” life.  When you were not married, you lived and operated for yourself. This can’t exist in marriage. But to keep using this catchphrase, you move one step back to that single life.  You begin to form a separate life outside of the life of your marriage. Our marriage is echoed out of our relationship with Christ. If we are fracturing our life into a life outside of our relationship with God, it leads to a life of instability.   James says “Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” Don’t invite instability into your marriage or your walk with Christ.  Live with the oneness in your heart.

As we stated in each blog, “Careful words make for a careful life; careless talk may ruin everything.” Guard yourself from this simple catchphrase fracturing your marriage.  Talk with your spouse. Ask if he/she has heard you used this one.  Ask what they hear when you use it.  If needed…ask for forgiveness.

Till next Friday…

Thanks for letting me ramble…