“Do what is best for your family, not what others will approve of.”
One of the most challenging tasks as a wife and a mother has been to do what is best for my family, not what I was conditioned to do growing up. Many of the women in my family frown when they realize I don’t iron my husband’s clothes or fix his plate or even better, I don’t hide the bags from my shopping sprees. They look at me with a side eye when they recognize I don’t know all of my son’s friends but I still allow him to visit and hang out. Heaven forbid the idea of sharing my thoughts and ideas with my therapist because what happens in your house should stay in your house.
Very early in my marriage my husband mistakenly thought I would do the things he saw my mother and his grandmother doing such as fixing their husbands’ plates or ironing their clothes for work. For years I refused with no explanation. Then one day I shared with him why I was opposed to these things. His grandmother did not work and when she did, she worked minimal hours. Therefore, she was not coming home exhausted everyday. His grandparents also had defined roles, His grandfather was the sole provider for the family and his grandmother was the caregiver and responsible for maintaining the household. We were not in that space so that didn’t work for us. In my household, my mother would fix my father’s plate unless she was mad at him, and on those days we, the kids, were made to fix it. I didn’t sign up for that task and would begrudgingly do it. Therefore, I grew up with a negative connotation of fixing plates. Because the concept never had a positive association, it was a “no” for me.
When I became a wife and I wanted to shop, I absolutely refused to hide the bags. I felt like I had gone to work and was worthy of rewarding myself. How dare I hide the shopping bags and suggest I didn’t find myself worthy enough of treating myself? I’m at a point now where I encourage women to show their husbands their shopping habits, as long as their spending is within their means. Show him how to treat you and honor you so when he wants to surprise you with a nice gift, he’ll know exactly what you like.
As kids, how many of us lied and said we were spending time with one friend when actually we were somewhere with a friend our parents didn’t know existed? Because of my own past, I don’t find it necessary to know everything about my son’s friends. However, he feels safe enough to tell me exactly where he’s going. Based on some of the things I did in the past, I could have come of missing because I lied about going with one friend that my parents knew and adored when actuality I was with a group of rugrats.
What are some things you saw growing up that you didn’t agree with so you had to adapt? Why do people still think certain things are customary and must be done in families? Do you always make your kids go to family functions with you? Does every member of the family have to eat dinner at the same time? Are their gender defined roles in your home? Share your thoughts below.