Children are wonderful little creatures. They are cute, playful, and full of wonder. They do the strangest things at the most bizarre times and often seem to lack rhyme or reason. About 60% of the time this trait is endearing, the other 40% of the time it just adds stress to a day that is already stacked with strange things happening at bizarre times for no reason. And let’s not forget that 90% of the time the behavior that you find stressful your spouse finds endearing. Anyway, this leads to my first piece of advice to young parents – aka myself.
Advice #1 – Stop Being Vain, This Song is Not About You
Here is the scene. You walk in the door from completing some task for your spouse that made Frodo and Sam look lazy. As you enter you expect a celebration of your accomplishments rivaling the Ewok party that celebrated the Death Star being turned into a planetary fireworks show. Instead you feel more like you are talking to a disappointed drill sergeant than your loving spouse. The second this happens the devil starts whispering and you start listening because this thought consumes your mind, “Hey, what did I do wrong? I didn’t do anything!!!” Confident in this you have two options –
- Forget that your spouse is a reasonable human being who loves you, respects you, and cares about you. Instead, convince yourself that he/she has secretly been pretending all these years to infiltrate your defenses for this one perfectly timed strike at your now vulnerable ego.
- Realize that you have just turned into the proverbial pillow that your spouse needed to scream into (and no your spouse isn’t calling you squishy and fat, but rather finds you comfortable and safe)
Number 2 is hardly an excuse for being treated that way, but should make it easier for you to step outside yourself and forgive your spouse, before you respond in kind and have to ask for forgiveness too. Life can be stressful, especially when it involves a non-verbal little person with no sense of grossness, rapid mobility, poor balance, and fingers that fit into electrical outlets. So yeah, sometimes your spouse will project their frustration from your kid at you, and it sucks, and is unfair, and yadda yadda.
But seriously, how often do we take out our frustration with another person’s poor choices on God? Don’t be a doormat, but since you haven’t been turned into a scorch mark for blaming God, give your spouse some slack.