Friday, 9 January 2015

Balancing Needs With A Baby In The Mix

A few nights ago night Chris and I were both fairly exhausted. Myself because Elliott hasn't been sleeping well this week, and for Chris because he is back in school after a month off. We're both feeling this adjustment period - he has 8 am classes everyday of the week which is hard on both of us. No more nudging him awake at 7 am after a hard night of multiple wakings so I can sleep in (It was a good run while it lasted!) He also has more classes than he did last semester which means staying on top of homework is a nightly task.

We had some company over for a short while after dinner, and then after Chris did bath time and I put Elliott to bed we both collapsed on the couch for a few brief minutes before he started writing a short assignment. Once he finished around 10 pm I was having trouble keeping my eyes open and announced I needed to go to bed early.

I decided to first prepare a lunch for Chris, which was interrupted by Elliott waking up. Groan. Into his room I go, and pat his back for a few minutes until he falls back asleep. This doesn't bode well for the rest of the night.

Now it's 10:30 and I am actually going to bed. It isn't uncommon these days for me to head to bed before Chris, but he always tucks me in and we pray together. I tell him I'm heading to the bedroom and ask for the usual 5 minute buffer for me to brush my teeth and get changed before he comes in to pray.

"Do you mind if we don't pray together tonight?" He asks

What?? My mind races. Well. Umm. Yes I do mind. I instantly feel upset, but I'm not sure why.

"It's just that if I come in in 5 minutes and we take 10 minutes to pray together, I really don't have any time to myself before bed" (we typically stick pretty close to an 11 pm bedtime for ourselves)

It's true. It was now 10:35. By the time we would be done praying it would be almost 11. I feel upset though - I just spent the last half hour doing some very unselfish things. Soothing our son back to sleep and making a lunch for Chris (cute notes attached and all!) All I want out of him is 10 minutes or less to pray with me.

"But, I love when we pray together. I don't want to get out of that habit." I say, not really wanting to reveal my selfish thoughts.

"I love it too, but it's just one night. I could just use a little time to rest and unwind before bed."

"If I stay up until 11 with you, can we go to bed together and pray?" I ask


And then approximately 1.5 minutes later after sitting there feeling frustrated, I announce once again that I am tired, and now my stomach seems to hurt so I am heading to bed. And off I go. No kiss goodnight, no embrace to reassure him I am not upset.

Because really, I am still upset.

As I am brushing my teeth I start to think more about how selfish he was being. After I made him lunch! Doesn't he realize that I need time to rest and unwind too? I spend my entire day with Elliott, and he doesn't understand that there is no "time off" when you're a Mom. My eyes are always on that little man. Even when he's sleeping my ears are tuned in to hear if he stirs (Which lately, is a lot) I sure wish I could have some quiet time where I didn't have to think of anyone but myself.

Me me me me me me me me ME.

Oh boy. The Lord (thankfully) convicted me pretty quickly on this one. Because here's the thing friends:

My need for rest does not negate his need for rest.  Let's take this a step further. My needs do not negate his needs, even if I selfishly view my needs as greater. The only reason I was accusing him of being selfish was because I was feeling incredibly selfish in that moment. The fact that I am tired does not disallow him from feeling tired. My need for rest does not minimize his need rest.

In marriage there can be a constant tension of his needs vs her needs, and adding a baby intensifies those needs, and on top of that creates brand new needs. We're still figuring it all out. I have a feeling we'll be figuring it all out for a while. In the meantime we are thankful to the Lord for the ministry of his Holy Spirit who leads us in the right direction - towards a sacrificial relationship that mirrors Jesus and the church.

Chris came to bed only a few minutes later and apologized. I also apologized for how I reacted and for how I manipulated him, because if I'm really honest I went to bed with the hopes that he would feel guilty and follow me.

Conviction. Sanctification. This can be a tough gig sometimes.

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