A not so magical thing happened here earlier this week...
One of Ella's full, dirty, needs to be changed, stinky diapers, somehow turned itself into one big ole fight between Scott and I for the whole gosh darned day.
Pretty mature, huh?!
It got me thinking though...I bet we're not the only couple ever to fight over a diaper full of poop and whose responsibility it is to change it.
And, for those who don't have kids, or who are past diapers, the very same fight can often erupt over dishes left in a sink, trash left in a can, toilet paper unchanged or beds unmade.
It's all about the distribution of responsibilities around a house...a tension that has likely been going on as long as humans have walked this earth...but probably even more so in modern society. It's a a distribution battle that tends to make each person feel like they are in the right, like they deserve to be heard, like they have perhaps pulled the "shorter stick" (so to speak) or have the tougher job. It's an issue that seems to rear it's ugly head even more when things are crazy and stressful in each others lives.
It's no wonder that quick online search yielded these two very interesting and aptly appropriate facts:
1. Housework is one of the top 5 things couples argue about (along with work, sex, children and money.)
2. Housework is bad for your sex life (according to THIS article anyway! I don't know about you, but I believe it! I read the article with relief thinking "So THAT"S the problem!").
So how did said dirty diaper turn into spousal uproar? The dirty details looked like this...
Scott and I had both gotten up around 7:30...we both spent time reading our bibles (good start, right?!), and drinking some coffee. Around 8 I spun into major mom mode- getting juice cups, prepping breakfast and turning t.v. on for the girls. I heard Scott playing his guitar in the basement for a couple of minutes. A totally fine thing for him to be doing UNTIL...
...he wandered up the stairs, passed the kitchen, without so much as a "hello", shouted "Ella has a poopy diaper" from the upstairs and the proceeded to head into the shower.
"That's not cool," I thought. Grouchy wife wanted him to know just how uncool it was.
I marched up the stairs into the bathroom and came out with "both guns blazing" as Scott likes to say.
"If Ella has a poopy diaper don't you think you could have at least changed it before you went upstairs?!"
There were sighs and defensive gruffs and a "Lis, I have a job to get started on."
(Ha. You know the mommy soapbox is coming....I'm not exactly sure what I said, but it sounded something like this....)
"I KNOW YOU HAVE A JOB TO DO. I HAVE A JOB TO DO TOO!!! ONE THAT NEVER ENDS!!! ONE THAT I DO 24/7. ONE THAT WAS CREATED BY NOT ME ALONE, BUT BY YOU AS WELL. IT'S CALLED BEING A PARENT AND IT NEVER...EVER...EVER... ENDS!!! AND IF YOU HAVE TIME TO PLAY YOUR GUITAR YOU HAVE TIME TO CHANGE A DIAPER."
(I told you it was really mature...a shining moment for me, really.)
Alright, in retrospect, I KNOW Scott has a job to do (he does a lot of his work from home so the boundaries can become especially blurry sometimes), and I KNOW a less selfish person, wife, mother, would have just changed the diaper and went on with her day, but the diaper became WAY bigger than the diaper.
The diaper epitomized the struggle that Scott and I deal with on a daily basis, and which seemed to be rearing it's ugly head even more so this particular week (or perhaps month with the end of Thanksgiving and the beginning of the craziness of December... and being stuck inside with a lot of snow and shorter days!)
The diaper become symbolic of the struggle to manage life as parents...to manage our time...the house...the all consuming work it takes to take care of a house (when you cannot afford nannies and cleaning ladies and people to cut your grass or plow your lawn)...the struggle that I feel to selfishly fight for "my" space, "my" time...the tedium that builds up, particularly for stay at home moms of very young children, but also for single moms, and military moms and all others who spend the lions share of time taking care of their children.
I'm not saying Scott is not helpful. He is an INCREDIBLY caring, attentive and helpful father...particularly compared to other men out there who I've heard stories about...who sit and veg in front of the television, or work around the clock, or hunt all the time, or golf all the time...you name it...
That said, it doesn't mean we don't struggle. Just like a lot of you probably have incredibly wonderful husbands with whom you find yourselves fighting...and think, "Man, how did we get HERE?!"
So how, after being curt and snippy with each other all day, did we finally resolve the fight?
The true answer is WE didn't...
All I can say is that as incredibly mind blowingly busy as life with children can be, and as incredibly hard as it is to be on the same page as your spouse all the time, as incredibly crazy as it feels to fend for your own time, interests and needs...as a Christian couple Scott and I have an INCREDIBLY large advantage over couples who are not...we have the knowledge, and if we choose, the intercession, of an INCREDIBLY large God who teaches us to submit to one another, to seek others needs before our own, who teaches us about grace and forgiveness and not going to sleep without resolution.
And boy oh boy do we need it on MANY days.
It is God, who at the end of the day when Scott (being the better Christian at this point) stepped into say, "Let's pray," changes all bets, all values and all hearts. And for that I am INCREDIBLY thankful.
Last night I was hanging out with a couple of good friends...just chatting about life. They mentioned that some friends of theirs, our age, seem to be on the brink of divorce. And while I didn't say it, I was thinking, "Man, they need Jesus. I don't know how ANYONE stays married without Jesus."
Left to our own devices we are SO human; selfish, prideful, argumentative, angry. Several weeks ago at a MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) meeting at our church a dad was speaking and said, "Naturally, we were not created to last in marriage... It is why so many marriages fail...we are flawed humans. BUT, when our relationships are grounded in God, we have the SUPERNATURAL to help us along the way."
Amen to that.
In closing, I seem to be thinking about all of my life through the lens of the soon to be upon us Christmas holiday...But this situation inparticular, a poopy diaper, reminded me about how much I need Christ and how thankful I truly am, on a super practical level, that he was born into this world, as Immanuel, or "God WITH us." How grateful that I am, that as many times as Scott and I are not on the same page about the issues of life...the we are on one major same page together; the importance of our faith in the midst of life and how much of a priority it needs to be to survive.
What an incredible gift THAT is. How lucky I am to be pondering such a savior this month...Merry Christmas.