In the beginning I am sure many of us were excited about having time with our families during quarantine. After all, most of us are busy and constantly on the go. We welcomed a period of slowing it down and having quality time with our family. As the days carried on and went into weeks and now months, all of the quality time may have begun to lose its luster and annoyance has begun to set in. The weight of working from home while homeschooling children is beginning to take its toll and relationships are struggling. Husbands are annoyed with their wives and vice versa. There is no “me” time to be found so self care is sporadic at best.
I get it.
I am now a stay at home mother and a wife but it is new to me. Until recently I was a single mother of two just trying to survive in this world. I was used to the constant go go go pace of a single mom working 12 hour days then running my kids to their activities while picking up fast food on the way home at 10:00 at night. All that came to an abrupt stop in December last year when I married my sweet husband. Together we decided I would stay home, care for the home and the family and in my free time I would expand my creative talents. I only had one short month to adjust to a new marriage, a new home, a blended family before I also had to adjust to quarantined living. I admit, I was beyond happy to have my new husband at home with me and I still am, but I see annoyances in his face that tell me he is becoming annoyed with my presence lately. I know I am not the only one facing this and I wonder is he seeking to be on the rooftop (Proverbs 21:9) than in the house with me, even though there is truly no discord at this time? Probably.
Yesterday, I went outside by the pool. My husband had to run into his office for a few hours so I took advantage of that time and went out away from my teens to meditate. It took less than 2 minutes for both of my girls to come outside. I love my girls. They are the sweetest and most well-behaved girls. They rarely give me any grief yet I still need alone time to refresh my thoughts and keep myself on track. I rarely get that anymore and in that moment I wanted to scream. My annoyance level was high and all I wanted was just a few moments to myself: anyone else with me? When the girls went inside and I had a short moment of clarity within my frustration I thought of my sweet husband and it hit me that his annoyances are very much the same as mine even though he loves me and I need to find ways to love him during quarantine that won’t drive him out to the rooftops!
Let’s face facts. Quarantine is here to stay and even when it lifts it won’t be permanent. This is a new normal for us and we have to figure out how to maintain an atmosphere of peace in our homes. It is important for our family as a whole and extremely important for us as wives to support our husbands during this time as they face the difficulties that come with working from home. How can we be supportive?
- Give him space. I love my husband with all my heart and I want nothing more than to spend time with him, especially since we are still newlyweds. I know he wants to give me the time I need but he also has responsibilities to his work that he now has to meet from home. It is not an easy adjustment and I do not make it easier by going in and trying to talk with him or take his attention away from what he is doing. By giving him space and not interrupting I am showing respect to him and his career. It has taken just a little time for me to realize the importance of this, but it will be of great help to your husband when you give him space and keep the distractions to a minimum while he works.
- Give him assistance. The job my husband has is one that I have no clue about. I cannot assist him with his job but I can assist him with his needs while he works. Periodically I check in to see if he needs anything. He knows he can tell me he needs a meal, a snack or a drink and I am happy to oblige. Doing so with a happy heart makes him happy and that alone is an enormous support for our husband while he navigates his time between working and home life all in the same atmosphere.
- Do not complain. Before quarantine, when our husbands were home they were available to take out the trash, engage in conversation and work on the honey do list. Now they are home but they have work related responsibilities they have to meet. It can be tempting to expect him to hit that honey do list hard since he is home every day and when he doesn’t its even more tempting to get frustrated or angry and complain. Before you do, stop and remember that for at least 8 hours a day he wasn’t home and you waited for him to come home to have the time to do what is needed. Expecting him to stop work to carry out the trash and then complaining when he doesn’t is setting yourself up for a husband who is going to seek that rooftop as often as he can to avoid the negativity. Give him time to work and then discuss the needs you have when he is done.
Each household is different but one thing is the same: everyone is trying to navigate work life and home life all at once. If we can give each other grace, make it a point to notice when our spouse needs a break and be open to meeting the needs of our spouses we can survive quarantine with our marriages intact and strong in love and respect…no rooftops needed!