Here's another one from Cara, one of our fellow Mops mommas. She also blogs over at The Crunchy Conservative
My husband and I are driving to Oregon to see his family for Thanksgiving. We journey for the turkey this way every year and every year goes about the same. I pack for me, the kid and the dogs. I cook beforehand so we don't show up empty-handed and I buy early Christmas presents for all the nieces and nephews. I make sure the laundry is done and the house is clean before we leave so we come home to calm at the end of the week. I gas up the car and remember to grab extra little luxuries like our own pillows from home and just enough DVDs to entertain the baby along the way. I even make food for the drive so we don't have to eat at McDonalds three times. I am always exhausted before we even hit the road. As we all know exhausted mothers don't make for very nice travel companions!
Thankfully the talk this week at MOPS was very timely! I was struck how personal the topic was to me. I was convicted by her story of her friend who was this lioness married to a golden retriever. That reflects my husband and me so clearly! When we were first married I was working regularly as an actress and bringing in a descent income. I felt so much of my worth was tied to my career and my confidence sometimes came out as arrogance. I was bossy to my sweet husband and pouty when I didn't get my way. I picked fights over silly things because they weren't done the way I would do them. It wore on him and I know it broke little pieces of his heart every time. Eventually, as the jobs stopped coming in and then when I quit working altogether to stay home with our daughter, I felt God was pruning this ugly piece of my personality by taking the thing that fed my haughtiness. I struggled with finding my new place and worth in this marriage. We had new arguments because I was grasping for a little bit of the accomplished person I felt I was before. Slowly, though, I started to understand that my worth was not tied to a career choice. It was tied to my Heavenly Father and being the beautiful person He called me to be. And that person was a wonderful wife and mother. As I stopped focusing on what I didn't have in the way of a paid job, I started to see the positive turn-around in my marriage.
First, I made a point to pick up the house everyday before my husband got home from work. And he said THANK YOU! What affirmation! Then, we decided to eat dinner every night together at the dinner table instead of in front of the tv. This encouraged me to cook. Which prompted more thank you's! He complimented me more and I showed him more affection. Now we hold hands and kiss more than ever and have promised each other that we will continue this at least long enough to thoroughly embarrass our daughter when she is a teenager! It has been really amazing to see big improvements spring from small changes. Ignored irritations and intentional acts of kindness toward my sweetheart and life-mate have helped each of us to be less irritated and more kind!
We are 6 hours into this 14 hour road trip and so far we have only had one almost potty accident. The turkey wraps I made are already gone and we have finished all the coffee. The kid and the dogs are all napping peacefully in the back and my sweetheart is holding my hand as he drives. What a change this is from years past where the stresses of travel would have me in tears by this point. The difference now is that I get it. We are on the same team, him and me. So, even if I like the car packed a certain way and he does it differently or I hint that I don't like a song on the radio and he doesn't change it because he can't READ MY MIND, it isn't really important. What's important is that I am by his side and I like it like that.