This blog title! I started laughing aloud just thinking about it! Balancing marriage and motherhood—is that even possible?
When I think of balance, I have a vision of the statue of Lady Justice holding scales that are perfectly weighted and equal. But, in reality, it only takes a small movement of weight to tip the scale in favor of one side or the other. In families, someone is always wanting the scale to tip more in their favor. They want more of mom’s time and attention.
Balancing marriage and motherhood seems to be more of a give-and-take in my experience. I could give time and attention to my husband but then would need to shift gears to the kids at other times. I would be focused on the kids but then would need to make sure they knew their dad was a priority in my life as well. Each time I took his side they understood he and I were not going to fall for any tricks they tried in an attempt to divide us to get their way. As parents, we may have been outnumbered by the kids, but we were sticking together and using our roles as the adults to fulfill what God entrusted us to do as parents.
I’m not sure that balance and keeping everything equal is possible, but here are my tips for keeping marriage and motherhood at a healthy pace!
- Everyone does not get equal time and one-on-one attention every day. Moms don’t measure and count the hours they spend with their husbands or kids. I learned I had to explain to my kids they were all loved and everyone gets the best I can give to them every day. Sometimes certain ones needed more one-on-one attention, but that did not mean the others were loved any less. At some point, they would get their time. Also, the more opportunities you have to do things together as a family, the less anyone feels left out or overlooked. Everyone can do homework or chores together and help one another.
- Tell them they are your favorite. It may sound funny, but remind your husband and your kids that they are your favorite people. Lots of good things and people can take your time—work, church, volunteering, friendships—but it is important your family knows they are your favorite people. I remember telling my middle daughter, “You are my favorite middle daughter! You are the only one who can handle being a big sister and a little sister.” She laughed every time and also maybe felt a little bit of confidence in her role in the family. Words of affirmation and assurance help your family remember they are your people and your priority.
- Make sure everyone knows what the family values are. Relationships require effort. Be a family that works together to build trust and common values. Your marriage will be healthier if you both agree on what you value most for yourselves as individuals, as a couple, and for your children. Knowing what you value helps set the boundaries on where you will invest your time and money as a family. For example, if you value Jesus as the purpose and main relationship of your life, activities and time spent helping you foster your relationship with Jesus will take priority over other things. As a family when you are struggling with several good options, you would decide based on this value of keeping Jesus first. We had kind words as a family value. If someone was sassy or speaking harshly (or yelling) to another family member, someone else asked, “Would you speak to your friends or your teachers that way?” We would follow up with suggested ways to express the strong emotions or ask, “How might you say that differently to let her know you still love her as you share your honest feelings?”
- Teach your children to be themselves. I prayed aloud for my kids each night at bedtime. I always prayed, “Lord, please make _____ into the person you created her to be.” I still pray that prayer for them every single day. God created them, and He has plans for them beyond what I might ever dream, ask, or imagine. God entrusted them to us as parents, but the goal is that eventually they will become independent and be able to survive on their own. As their independence increased, there was more freedom, and with freedom came responsibility. Along the way they learned basic life skills like cooking, cleaning, and working to support themselves. At the same time, they were encouraged to pursue the talents and gifts God gave them. They weren’t required to enjoy all the same things. It was good to have unique interests that might be different from others in the family.
- Soul care for everyone. Life is hectic. Anxiety and stress levels, along with many other challenges, are at an all-time high. When you see all the information and news on social media, TV, podcasts, and so forth, it is overwhelming. Personally, I just don’t think we were designed to take in all the bad news and statistics we are exposed to each day. Families need a healthy, safe place where they can slow down and detox from the overload. Let’s make our homes that place. We want homes where we can rest, play, create, and communicate with those we love most in this world. Discover what helps restore the souls of those you love and makes your home a place of peace. Give kids of all ages space to play and not be on devices. As adults, make sure your time at home is not full of to-do lists and home maintenance but building in time to refresh as individuals and as a family.
Lady Justice stands tall and holds the scales in balance. She represents impartiality and an obligation to make a right ruling according to the law. In the same way, women can love their family members without favoritism. We can try to treat those we love most fairly and make sure all family members receive the care they need. Will each day feel equally balanced as we focus on marriage and motherhood? Probably not. After all, much of life feels out of balance! But we can keep holding the scale and lean as needed to honor God and our families by trying to balance marriage and motherhood in healthy ways.
Michelle Hicks is the managing editor for Journey devotional magazine with Lifeway Women. Michelle served as a freelance writer, campus minister, and corporate chaplain before coming to Lifeway. She is a graduate of the University of North Texas and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Michelle has a deep hunger for God’s Word and wants others to discover the abundant life they can have with Jesus as their Lord and Savior.