I've mentioned that last month my husband and I went away for a pastors’ assessment. We were gone for two-and-a-half days. A few times in the last couple of years, we've gone away for a night. But we haven’t had two nights away, together, since having our second kid. I didn't know how significant that would be. It messed up the kids’ schedules, making them clingier when we came home.
And it affected me significantly. I relaxed—really relaxed—even though we were going through a pretty intense assessment process. My neck and shoulders didn't hurt, and they always hurt. I was rested. I felt smart again, as the constant fogginess in my brain cleared—sometimes a result of kids’ waking at night, sometimes a result of mentally managing a household’s schedules and needs. I was game for real conversation about things that matter—not just the (really funny and cute) things my kids say every day. I paid attention to my husband instead of just doing life alongside him.
At one point he looked at me, hesitated, and then said, “I hope this doesn't upset you, because I mean it as a compliment. You’re prettier now than you usually are.”
That didn't offend me at all; I trust that he was absolutely right. At one point I caught a glimpse of my reflection in a mirror at an ice cream parlor where we were hanging out with new friends. Even I was struck by how attractive the girl in the mirror was. She looked a little more mature than the girl I remember, and she looked full of life and joy.
Then, a couple weeks ago, I watched a movie, “Friends with Kids.” The movie was hilarious, because it was so true. It was one of those movies that made you laugh at your reality and realize that you’re not the only person who feels/acts/thinks the way you do. There were three couples in the movie, and they were friends before any of them had kids. Then two of the couples started families. All three families got together, complete with crying kids, nagging moms, and lazy dads. Afterwards, the kid-less couple looked at each other and said, “Who are those mean, angry people?”
If you watched me interact with my family for a day, then I’m afraid you’d come away saying, “Who is that mean, angry person?”
I don’t want to be that mean, angry person.
I want my husband to see the pretty wife.
I want my kids to see the pretty mom.