Child-training. Meal planning. Grocery shopping. Cleaning the home. All things a woman manages throughout her day. So, how on earth does a mom switch gears from calling the shots all day long to handing her husband the reins when he comes home? How do we not continue to control all things when we manage our kids and the home, all day, every day? How do we stop ourselves from barking out orders to our husbands when they walk through the door? (And if you're working outside of the home you probably deal with this problem, too!)
These were all thoughts that ran through my head when I was a new mom. Yes, I read the scripture about the husband being the head of the home but what exactly did that look like since my husband was gone from the home the majority of the day?
I planned the nap schedule. The feeding schedule. The menu schedule. The social schedule. I planned the babysitter and even planned our dates. Goodness, I was clearly in charge!
And being my husband's helper didn't make sense to me because when he came home I was the one telling him what I needed in order to execute my plans.
What was I missing? I definitely wanted to be obedient to the scriptures but I wasn't quite sure what I needed to change. How do I go from mom to wife? How do I switch gears so my man could lead the home?
I was intentional about figuring this out because I didn't want to lose site of my marital relationship.
How to switch gears from mom to wife
1. Ask Him Questions
One of the simplest and easiest things I did was to ask my husband questions about our marriage and family life. Since he was the 'head' of the home, then I needed to hear how I could help him lead us and our family. How did he want things to play out? What was his vision for us and our child and future children? How did he want the home to run? What did he expect of me? So I asked him these questions and took in what he said and implemented many of his desires.
2. Determine Your Priorities as a Couple
Soon I realized that many of his (and my) expectations and standards were too high so we continued to make changes and adjustments. In making our plans, a few things were always of utmost importance for he and I, specifically, our relationships.
3) Training up our children in the ways of the Lord.
By focusing on these three things, this exercise determined our choices and priorities and kept the important things first!
3. Focus on and Implement Your Priorities
Since my marriage is a priority, I'm OK if I don't cook meals completely from scratch. It's also not a concern of mine to be all things to all people. I have learned to say 'no' to others and I do so quite often. Once you know what the priorities are for you and your husband, then pursue them. Create a schedule that will cause your priorities to flourish rather than fall by the wayside.
Fifteen years have past since I was that new mom and today I two teenaged sons. What my boys require of me now is not what they required of me when they were babes. Our seasons and routines may have changed, but our priorities haven't.
Tips to implement into your routine
Create a calm atmosphere
Make plans to teach your children to pick up their toys before dad gets home. Having a tidy, but not perfect, home will allow you and your husband to relax and enjoy each other's company without stepping all over legos!
Freshen yourself up
If you didn't have time to shower in the morning, then jump in while the kiddos are napping or spend five minutes styling your hair and wiping off yesterday's mascara from under your eyes. Freshening yourself up will always make you feel better. I know when I look frumpy, I feel frumpy and when I look and feel frumpy there's no part of me that wants to act like a wife!
Give your husband a few minutes to himself when he gets home
Perhaps he needs to shower to get out of greasy work clothes? Or maybe he needs to change out of his uncomfortable business suit? Give him a few moments so he can switch gears from the working man to your husband and then to dad.
Focus your attention on him
Train your kids to wait to interact with daddy until you and your husband have connected. We were very intentional in training our kids to give us 20 minutes of 'Daddy and Mommy' time. Once we were done, then they could have dad all to themselves.
Use this time to ask him about his day
Be interested in what he's dealing with at work and then share with him about your day. This can be a time when you ask him about how he wants things handled when issues have come up in your day. Over time, as the two of you grow together as a couple and as parents, you'll know without asking him how he wants you to handle things when problems arise.
I think the best bit of advice that I can pass on to a wife is to not let your mothering consume your marriage. Seek ways to act like a wife when your husband gets home. I freshen up my appearance, put on lipstick, and sometimes greet him with a kiss. This perspective did wonders for our marriage when we were in the early years of raising our kiddos and building our family.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Jolene Engle's blog, Christian Wife University. It has been republished here with permission.
Jolene was once an atheist who is now sold-out for Jesus Christ. Her heart beats fast for discipling women and you'll find her doing just that at JoleneEngle.com. She is also the founder of Christian Wife University where she helps wives connect the dots from their reality to the Christ-centered marriage they long for, and the one God intended.