I can’t count on my fingers and toes how many times my husband has said, “but does that really matter,” or something similar. That man is like a calm shelter in my crashing storm of anxiety, and so many times I wish I could be more like that. But the fact remains, I am not.
My female brain is a tasking one, and when I sit still there’s often times a little voice that shouts out from the recesses of my mind, what are you doing?!
What about the laundry? Nobody will have clean underwear!
Look at that dust! No one will keep this house clean but you.
You should spend time reading to your kindergartener. Her growing vocabulary is your responsibly, you know.
You need to make time for a date night with your spouse. Keeping the flame alive is your job as the wife.
Have you texted encouraging scripture to your girlfriend today? You know she’s going through a tough time.
You missed Bible Study last week. Don’t miss it this week. They need you there.
And on, and on, and on.
I imagine when my husband sits down on the couch there is only one thing on his mind.
This feels nice, Ben. You deserve this after a long, hard week at work.
And while I’d agree with his relaxed mindset in that he does deserve the break, I wonder why I don’t give myself the same consideration. Why do I expect more of myself than anyone else. After all, the kids don’t care about matching socks and making certain the sofa cushions aren’t askew (which is my constant, fruitless battle).
I recently commented after my husband came home, “I’m sorry I haven’t gotten the girls’ summer clothes put away yet,” as I sheepishly eyed the precarious pile in our living room chair.
And he replied, “why are sorry? Who cares? Not me. It’s not a big deal, you know.”
I realized it wasn’t to him, and maybe even if it was important to me, did I give it excess merit because I felt I owed more to those around me? My husband didn’t mind piles of clothes marring our den, and the children probably didn’t even notice. What was it about a woman that did?!
It seems that women are doers, and we hold ourselves to a higher standard than anyone else. We want a respectable job, a clean home, well-dressed, good-mannered children, and a body that doesn’t look like we birthed babies from it. We want everything just so, with i’s dotted and t’s crossed. We like our boxes checked and our to-do’s crossed out. And when one of the above gets off kilter we get a little twitchy. I personally get a little witchy, or even another descriptive that rhymes.
I worry about time and schedules, and getting things done. I become anxious over what is in essence not a big deal at all. It builds into frustration and typically falls into anger, which leads to regret and the awful but expected, “I’m a bad mom rap.” I fall asleep praying I can do better in the morning, not remembering the fact that I did pretty good.
I assume I accomplish nothing when in fact I complete so much, and in my efforts to do more than is even reasonable I neglect the truth about what I achieve on a daily basis. And the only person who suffers from this is me. Cause at the end of the day the children are playing, my husband’s relaxing, and I’m still trying to tie up loose ends.
Today as I swept toast crumbs covered in peanut butter off my kitchen table into my hand, and for a moment my mind started to see red over the mess, I was jolted quickly into a calm. Instead of the typical anxiety over if I’d have enough time to finish our homeschool lesson, pick up the babysitter for an evening away from home, and change out three children’s seasonal wardrobes, I just let it all go. I let it all go for a second as a voice inside my head whispered, you got a pretty good life you know.”
And I did. That was the thing. My life was amazing. It was abundant and full, and how I chose to decipher that fullness was completely up to me. I could consider it as stress, or I could count it all as a gift. A goodness gracious gift of an abundant life. What’s so stressful about that, really?
So I don’t weigh what I did before I had the baby.
Who cares? I have an amazing baby!
So my house is a cluttered, chaotic monster puking up doll parts and mix-matched socks.
Does it really matter? It’s busting at the seams with love!
I cannot complete a single thing. Ever!
One day I will look around my pristine, dust-free house and be totally bored.
As a woman I can often times become anxious over things that do not matter in the grand scheme. That’s not to say men don’t become anxious also, as my husband holds his own concerns and worries running a business and providing for his family, but as constant movers and multitaskers women can become overly anxious about issues beyond our control. As sensitive, emotional creatures we can worry too much about what others think. As caretakers and nurturers we can give too much of ourselves towards people pleasing. And we are consumed by anxiety, worry, and stress.
The only solution I have found for this is the kind of blasé faire attitude that usually annoys me about men. Just being honest. But if I can take that indifferent attitude and make it more carefree I’m getting somewhere. If I can remind myself to ask at every turn, is this really important? To ask myself honestly, is this really worth me getting upset about? I mean, my life is pretty awesome.
Then perhaps I won’t let anxiety win. Perhaps I’ll even go sit on the couch, ignore the pile of laundry, and say, This feels nice, Brie . You deserve this after a long, hard week at work.