I had an interesting conversation with a family friend last week after she pointed out that I “made” my son carry my supplies to my car for an organizing party. She told me that he was mad at me and that I should be able to do it myself. What I saw and heard was my son sitting in my basement all day watching TV and playing video games while I had worked for 8 hours and was running short on time and it was one of those days where I didn’t even have time to shower but I took the time to make dinner only to find out that nobody was going to be home for dinner.
So was I little mad…..yes! I took a deep breath and said we are a family and we help each other out and do things for each other when we see the person busy. I reminded both of them that I will do my son’s laundry for him when I know he is particularly busy. She told me to stop doing that over my son’s objections. Then she threw the ultimate card at me and told me that I have my husband do things for me all the time and I should be able to do things on my own.
I simultaneously wanted to scream and laugh at her logic. Instead I told her that she gave me really interesting material for a blog post all about what are the rolls of members of a family.
Kids these days! I want to be that mom that raises boys who are able to sew on a button, cook a meal and anticipate the need to help someone. I want my sons to realize when I need help (and others as well) and step up and carry boxes to a car without me having to say something. We are a family and we help each other. That is what families do.
My husband’s love language is acts of service. There are five love languages famously written about by Gary Chapman. I have been studying his book for years and it has helped in our marriage. I know that my husband receives love from me when I do projects around the house. These projects go unnoticed by everyone but him, the intended recipient. I don’t shout “hey I swept out the garage today” for everyone to notice. Or “hey I spent my day moving the sprinkler” in order for us to have a beautiful lawn. These are just signs of love that I send to my husband.
Nothing makes my husband more excited than if I leave him a list of things that I need done as this is his way of showing me acts of service when the list is complete. For him it is easy to do and he feels like he has shown me love by getting all the things done on my list. He will even come to me and ask me what is next on his list. This is a special bonus for me is that I don’t have to use my Jedi mind tricks by having him try to read my mind! It is the main reason that we have such an organized house; I create the system and implement them and he maintains them. It works great!
However, my love language is not acts of service but rather quality time. The best thing he can do for me is to spend quality time with me. And he is really good at it and is a good sport about it. I know he would rather be home watching TV, but I push him past his introverted ways. Just like I would rather be having coffee with a friend and not sweeping out the garage. Relationships are a give and take. The better balance you can have the better.
I quickly realized the reason that this was a hot button topic for me as it took me back to 1987 when I was doing laundry in my dorm and I passed a room with girls talking about how my then boyfriend does everything for me. I was mad, but I kept walking. You see, I found a really nice man. I think there are lots out there but I know I hit the jackpot. Others know it too and felt the need to talk about it behind my back. So when this family friend brought up me having my son carry supplies to my car for me, she suddenly was one of those girls in the dorm room talking about me.
What I want to remind all of us out there judging; relationships are between two people and just because you see one person doing all the heavy lifting, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t being reciprocated in other ways. So carry on my wayward son……for there’ll be peace when you are done!
To Joyful, Organized Living