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Head games: a guest entry by Amazewife

It was a sunny fall day and Ruth and I were meandering around the back yard. The grass was growing long. The slender blades were poking above the beds of weeds in our vast lawn.

“I need to mow the lawn,” I remarked.

“Mom, do you even know HOW to mow the lawn?” Ruth answered.

She sounded more like a teenager than a 6-year-old.

“Yes, I can mow the lawn!” I said on the defensive.

Apparently, it had been a while.

We have had a lot of those moments over the last couple of months, although not always so vocal. Mostly, it’s just a voice in my head.

“Meredith, do you even know HOW to keep the house clean and get the laundry done and take care of the yard and do the budget and the shopping and cooking and violin class and girl scouts and PTA and get the kids to bed without Tony’s help?”

“Are you SURE you can keep yourself occupied at night without getting too lonely?”

“Can you ACTUALLY stay connected with your husband when you only see him for an hour or two most days?”

“Is this REALLY all worth it?”

“Are you CRAZY???”

The answer to the first four questions: Yes. The last question: Not yet, but I might be by the end of all this.

We have been learning to sacrifice more and more during the last year, each in our own way. Becoming Roe Intense means we can’t have things just because we want them - whether it be time or stuff or activities or money.

Tony obviously sacrifices a lot. He isn’t there for the kids’ small moments. He hears a lot about them through text messages, photos, and pictures they draw for him. He gets less sleep, has less down time. And he’s delivering pizza for goodness sake.

The girls miss spending time with their dad, of course. They understand that we can’t buy everything they want to buy. They often hear, “I’m sorry, it’s not in the budget,” when they ask for something. They’ve started saying, “Mom, when we get out of debt, can we…?” They know this is all temporary, but time frames don’t always register in their minds.

And, of course, I miss having my husband around the house to help with the kids and chores. His presence really brightens our home overall. If you know my husband well, you understand what a bright spot he is.

Most of all, I miss him being there in the evening so I can have a conversation with someone over the age of 6.

This experience has also taught me that through sacrifice, our family is gaining so much.

Through my sacrifices, I have learned that I can do a lot of things on my own. It’s difficult, and I’m not saying I would ever want to run the house without Tony, but I can do a lot of it. Tony wanted to hire someone to mow the lawn. Nope. We’re not wasting our money on that. I can do it. I don’t like to do it, but I can. That’s the case with a lot of this stuff. I don’t like taking on Tony’s chores or becoming even more of a default parent. But, “I can do hard things.”

We can do hard things.

I have realized how much my husband looks like an 18-year-old with his pizza gear on. Want to look years younger? Put on a pizza baseball cap, polo, black pants and non-slip restaurant shoes. It’ll take 10 years right off.

My girls miss their dad, but they are so proud of him. “My dad works for, like, 60 hours a day,” Ruth will say. “He delivers pizzas,” her chest puffed up. They know this is temporary, and that daddy is doing it because he loves his family. They have the best daddy in the world, I tell them. They can see what it means to love your family through work.

We value our limited family time and try to use it well. We sit down together. We talk about our day. We read some scriptures. We say a family prayer. We tell stories or funny jokes. We dream about what we will do when we get to buy back our time together.

I love and admire my husband for his willingness to go to work all day, then come home for an hour and go back to work. The nights he has “off” are nights I have work or church responsibilities, so he is home wrangling the children. Knowing how tired and stressed he gets puts a pit in my stomach. It also makes me use our resources more wisely. More and more I think about how many hours Tony would have to work to pay for such-and-such, and whether that is really worth it. We are learning to be better stewards of all of our resources - money and otherwise - which, for me, is what this is really all about.

Sometimes, I see Tony play head games with himself. Even after working a regular full-time job and then delivering pizzas late into the evening, my husband apologizes for not doing enough around the house, for not helping out with the kids more, or finding time to be romantic.

My husband is superman, people.

“You do enough,” I say.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”

I got this.



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