Dear Black Women: Just Sit This One Out

Disclaimer: We’re fortunate to have a wide variety of readers following this blog, but this entry is heavily geared toward black women because I am the black woman co-author of this blog and I am speaking from my own perspective. All are welcome to enjoy.

To my melanin rich sisters: let’s not mince words. America did a number on us on Election Day.

Deep down, we knew. Didn’t we? We sucked it up when Hillary was nominated and said OK, I guess I’m with her. Sure, she was qualified for the position, but the Clintons, and Democrats in general, clearly take advantage of our vote. It’s getting old. We know what’s up.

The campaign was fun for a while. We got to drink in Michelle Obama’s heartfelt campaign speeches and imagine a world where not just our sons could imagine being seated in that highest office, but our daughters, too.

In the end, 94% of black women voted for Hillary. 94%!!! That number alone is awe-inspiring. What single voting block pulled together in such a unified manner to vote in their own best interest and the interest of their families? None other. Probably ever again in history. Think of it: generations of black women, old, young, rich, poor, mothers, wives, college students, seniors, gay, straight, shy, outspoken. You name it, we showed up.

But there’s a reason why our numbers were so solid. We weren’t voting for policy. Or for jobs. Or for taxes. We were voting for our lives. Because a world that chooses “law and order” over “protect and serve” is one where our sons and husbands become targets. It's one where families are broken apart. The world calls our boys and men thugs, regardless of social standing or innocence. They call us welfare queens, even as we work multiple jobs. They assume we only have our corporate positions because of affirmative action, not because we are the most educated and overqualified people group in America.

Most cannot relate to our predicament as black women, nor should they. It is a lonely one. We carry the world in our wombs and nurture it with our breasts. Our mothers cooked and cleaned, reared children, and maintained the homes of the middle and upper classes without complaint for centuries. Even from girlhood, we practice a forced smile that appears genuine because the world interprets our pain as anger. The media portrays us as wholly undesirable and only good for subservient roles even as we hold the poetry of Maya Angelou and the lyrics of Beyoncé ahead of us like a weapon to prove our femininity and humanity.

It was OK. It was all OK. Because we had hope. We embraced the "strong black woman" mantle and used it to our advantage. We raised our children to want more. We learned the lessons of the past. We refused to go backwards. We got tired of the mask.

That god forsaken mask y’all. The poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar, We Wear the Mask, gave me so much life for over 30 years. Whenever I had a bad day, I put on my mask in honor of those who came before me and did not have my opportunities.

These past few weeks, I put my mask back on for a bit. Funny thing though, it doesn’t fit anymore. The truth is, I don't have anything to hide.

It’s time to take off these masks. I know, I know. You’ve practically chewed a hole in your tongue to avoid speaking your opinion about this election so you can keep your job. Ducking people who sound like broken records saying stuff like, “Oh I didn’t vote for him because he’s [insert loathsome personality trait here], I voted for him because SupremeCourtJusticesGunsAbortionVeteransTaxesMyPastorToldMeToProtestVote…” or whatever other weak reason helps them sleep at night.

Now that I’ve had a few weeks to think about it, I can define why this election felt so personal. It wasn’t so much that Hillary lost. Let’s face it, she was a long shot. She had decades of political history to criticize with the benefit of hindsight. And even though a lot of her criticisms were overblown (for example, if you cared so much about Benghazi are you also aware of the hundreds of American deaths caused by previous secretaries of state?), that’s the name of the game in politics.

No, it wasn’t Hillary’s loss. It was more personal. It forced me out my daydreams.

I was happy in my dream state. I dreamed of an equal America. A fair America. An America where my Ghanaian born naturalized husband and my dual nationality children could be looked at as complete equals. An America that finally reflected what the Constitution described. An America where justice was the same regardless of gender or melanin allotment. That's honestly where I thought I lived. 

I got caught up. I was foolish. Go ahead. Judge me. 

The election helped me finally accept that the Constitution serves only those for whom it was written. Our justice system serves only those for whom it was written. Even our welfare system serves mostly those for whom it was written. And it wasn’t written by anyone who looks or acts remotely like me.

That’s morbid, yes. I do believe we have the power to change these systems, but we can’t do it while we’re sleeping. I honestly think we as black women were lulled into fear and complacency after the martyrdom of key figures in the 1960s. We took the Civil Rights Act to mean equality (not a chance) and Affirmative Action to mean opportunity (also nope).

We stopped shopping at “our” stores in “our” neighborhoods and sending kids to “our” schools because we thought we had gained access to the Promised Land. Equal access to shopping malls and schools and banks and water fountains. Well. Welcome to the Promised Land. We gained those things, and lost ourselves. It happened so slowly we barely noticed.

It's too easy to blame ourselves though. Take a deep breath. A long, deep breath of fresh American air. We didn’t create this problem. We didn’t teach anyone to hate us or treat us unfairly. And we most certainly didn’t choose the most inexperienced presidential candidate in our lifetimes. We didn’t force him to run on a platform of [insert loathsome personality trait here]. Not collectively anyway.

So I say, black women, just sit this one out. Yes. Sit it out. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? We work so hard for our families and communities every day, and here I am saying kick your feet up.

This one isn’t our fault. No one can point a finger at us. We showed up when it counted. We must live through it. Survive it. Choose our battles, sure. But it’s not ours to fix. Let the Trump voters revel in their choice and support him through his presidency. That’s their responsibility. Our job is to be. Just be. Live.

While you’re observing though, be vigilant. Stay woke. How? Here are a few tips:

1.       Don’t be afraid. Be prepared. "Be prepared" is the Girl Scout motto, and one of my favorites. A Trump presidency is unpredictable but there are things you can do to come out on top no matter what. You don’t have to build a bomb shelter (ha!) or build a weapons cache but you may have to make a few lifestyle adjustments as a precaution. The last time Republicans held the House, the Senate and the Presidency was 1928, and the very next year the stock market tanked and the Great Depression occurred. This is why checks and balances are so important - and right now there are none. So be vigilant on your finances and your investments.

2.       Keep your options open. At some point in the next 4-8 years, especially as a person of color, you may need to make some quick decisions. Are you or your children of age to register for the selective service? Ask them their thoughts on a possible draft versus a college education. Do you have active passports for everyone in your family? GET THEM. Do you have debt? Gain full and complete control over your finances as quickly as possible. Regardless of what decisions voters make now and in the future, you are debt free and at best you have the proper documentation to take your whole family on safari or to see the pyramids.

3.       Choose media sources with standards. There’s a reason why when you first hear of a celebrity death on social media you wait for CNN or another reputable source to announce it. It’s because some institutions still have journalistic integrity. This means they pick up the phone and call sources directly. If an actor dies, they call the morgue or the hospital or the agent. They verify news before posting it. There are fact checkers and multiple layers of editors who are at work. They don’t always get it right, but they DO have standards. Reuters, the Associated Press and PBS Newshour are a good start. I personally get the majority of my news from NPR, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. My guilty pleasures are The Root and Very Smart Brothas.

4.       Remember your community. Vote as often as you can regardless of where you live. Join movements like Black Lives Matter and the Injustice Boycott. We can’t do much about the emperor with no clothes but we’ve never had the luxury of resting on our laurels regardless.

5.       Enjoy the show. We’re going to see some hilarious shenanigans for the next four years. Dave Chappelle delivered my favorite monologue about this election where he talked about riots in Portland. The tweets from the president-elect are so salty that some are just downright funny. He has already reneged on half of his campaign promises and he isn’t even inaugurated yet. Just don’t get so caught up that you miss when or if the narrative becomes alarming.

So that’s what it comes down to for me. I’m taking a knee. I’m the Colin Kaepernick of my tiny little world.

In the meantime, sisters, keep making that black girl magic that is continuing to grow. Keep stealing that spotlight with your confidence, security, beauty and resolve. Keep raising your children to be resilient and fulfilled. There’s not an individual in the world that can interrupt this momentous transformation that is happening in the hearts of black women across the nation – and perhaps across the world.

We’re in the midst of something special and unique, unseen by any other people group. It’s even spilling over into the mainstream. Instead of movies like The Help, we’re getting Hidden Figures. Instead of making a beeline to the “ethnic” shelf at Target we now have rows upon rows of beauty products especially for our hair and skin. Instead of debt slavery and career limitations we’re choosing entrepreneurship, running, traveling, golfing, coding, creating and so much more. We are stepping into our purpose. Get it while the getting is good ladies. You earned it.

Before I close, I’d like to address some of the other readers. I know I’ve indulged a bit so thanks for hanging in there.

I know for some of you, Trump is a victory. To you I say, congratulations. For others, it’s devastating and you lick your wounds by watching the Daily Show or reading Pantsuit Nation. To you I say, I’m sorry. What we wouldn't give for a Mitt Romney or a Marco Rubio right about now, huh?

But then there’s a subset of people who say the president-elect is the Christian choice. That’s a stretch. If your religion is tied up in your politics to that extent, you may have some serious soul searching to do. Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Independents and Green Partiers alike all support issues that are AND are not supported by the Bible. If you vote for any party because they’re more Christian, you are probably confusing your patriotism with your God. Ideological topics like abortion, marriage and the death penalty are used as tools of manipulation by all parties - laws very rarely change significantly in these areas, but entire elections are won on them. Why do we allow it?

I had to do some soul searching on this myself. “What would Jesus do?” I asked myself over and over again. The only conclusion I could come up with is that Jesus would never even vote in the first place. Why should He? Regardless of who is king, who is president, who is dictator, who is ruler, God is still God. This idea that Jesus wouldn’t vote hurts my soul. I scold people who don’t vote. I don’t respect them. They are irresponsible. But… Jesus probably wouldn’t bother. He always swatted away political questions like annoying little gnats. “Jesus should we pay taxes?” “Meh. Give to Caesar what is Caesars.”

OK so maybe He didn’t say it exactly like that, but He was certainly final about it. He wasn’t tolerating political shenanigans on His watch. When it comes to politics, the Bible gives us no reason to believe Jesus would side completely with one political viewpoint over another. Jesus sides with God. The question we should be asking ourselves isn’t whether Jesus is on our side, but whether we’re on His.

You can be a Republican and side with Jesus. You can be a Democrat and side with Jesus. You can be a Libertarian and side with Jesus. You can be virtually any political affiliation and side with Jesus.

But siding with Jesus means loving your neighbor. Jesus said it himself. If you had to boil our whole existence down to two simple truths, it would be this: love God, and love your neighbor.

As a black woman who is also a wife, a mother, an entrepreneur, a product of the Deep South, a college graduate … I am pretty informed. This election showed me that I took for granted that the people in my social circles value the same things I value, in particular my white counterparts. Accepting this knowledge drives a wedge into my previous belief system about what truly drives America forward. It was painful for a bit, but as with most things, you get used to it.

This election reminds me of my 8 year old son’s recent baseball championship. These 8-10 year old boys worked so hard all season, and it came down to the final championship game. My son’s team lost, and they received 2nd place pendants. Lots of my son’s teammates cried. They wanted it so bad. They worked so hard. They wanted that championship more than anything. We parents couldn’t console them despite our best efforts.

Two things stand out about that championship game. 1) My son didn’t cry. In fact, he was overjoyed. Why? Because last season he was on a team that won zero games. Not one. It was his first season in baseball and it was pretty discouraging. When I asked him about coming in second place he said, “I’m not sad, I’m happy. I know what it’s like to walk away with nothing.” How peculiar that his previous losses made him the happiest boy on the team. And 2) the other team didn’t taunt the 2nd place finishers. They took photos together, and the other team went off to celebrate their victory. They brought rocket launchers to celebrate the win. They ran the bases. They enjoyed their success. They deserved it. They didn’t taunt the losers, or call them crybabies. Or tell them to get over it or suck it up. They were too happy about their own achievement.

So if you’re a Trump voter, enjoy your success. Don’t taunt the losers. Let them cry and pout and protest, because how does that hurt you? Shouldn’t you be supporting your newly elected president and holding his feet to the fire on his numerous, lofty campaign promises? Why are you worried about the losers when you could be running the bases? And for goodness sake Hillary is a moot point - there's no need to argue against her. Have some fun already. Go cheer for your team.

I can’t close on that note, so here, enjoy some Obama/Biden memes.

Some of you will be happy to learn that since I'm taking my own advice and sitting this one out, future topics for the next four years will be largely unrelated to politics.

Happy New Year!

Never Enough

Mom guilt-the act of feeling guilty about all aspects of motherhood. 

Sure you feed your kids everyday, but do you feed them organic, non-gmo, gluten-free foods? Sure you are involved in your child's education, but do you home-school or volunteer at the school like it's a full-time job? Sure you limit screen time for your children, but do you monitor every game, every website, every YouTube video and Instagram post? Sure you provide valentines for your child's class, but do you craft some elaborate Pinterest concoctions to give out during the party?

See what I mean? The world of motherhood is riddled with guilt.  We never feel smart enough, pretty enough, thoughtful enough, creative enough, healthy enough.  Never enough.  

How do we break those chains of never enough?

1. It begins with what we say to ourselves on a daily basis.  Are you kind to yourself as a woman? a mom? a wife? a friend?  Our internal dialogue is critical to our sense of self. Have you said things like, "Why don't I find the time to make gluten-free meals for my kids?" Every time you speak inadequacies over your life, you are solidifying the guilt that you carry around like chains around your soul. Instead of speaking negatives over your motherhood, practice saying the great things you do for your children.  

2. Stop comparing yourself to other moms. I have caught myself saying things like, "I wish I could make crafts like (so and so's) mom" or "I should get up at 4 am to make real breakfast before school instead of serving cereal." Giving into this mindset means I'm never taking time to appreciate the relationship I have cultivated with my kids because I'm always trying to keep up with Mom Jones. My kids love me. They love me with my faults and successes.  

3. Take care of yourself.  This is so hypocritical of me to say.  I am the world's worst at this.  I am the last one to get a haircut, new clothes, make-up, shoes, etc.  The last one. I struggle with buying myself anything if someone else in my family wants or needs something.  This is something that I desperately need to fix in my life.  I wore two bras with exposed underwire for 2 months because I didn't want to spend money on myself when our budget was so tight.  In the long-run, it made me miserable. That made me cranky. And I was not a very nice mother during that time.  See how that works? When we neglect ourselves, we resent it and become the kind of mothers we fear: joyless. Being a joyful mother starts with taking care of yourself.  If that means treating yourself to some Starbucks, do it.  If that means visiting a hair salon every six weeks, do it.  Find your currency and pay yourself well. 

4. Don't internalize other people's insecurities.  What does this mean? You know THAT mom who always points out your shortcomings in a passive-aggressive way. For example, "I wish I could eat dessert without feeling guilty" or "My kids beg to do school even on our days off. I wish my kids would have a veg-out day." Really? Your kids beg for school? Oh, that's great.  I guess that means that every other thing you do is so boring that school is an improvement? Ok, maybe don't respond so snarkily, but you get my point.  Why do we let other insecure mothers try to make us feel guilty about how we raise our children?  Stop letting those people have space in your head or in your life.  You can weed these people out of your life by sharing a great thing that happens to you.  Instead of celebrating with you, their response will be a one-up or pointing out the negatives of that great thing.  You don't have time for those people. Move. On. 

There is a quote that I love: "Whatever is Good for your Soul: Do That." I love this.  It embodies every aspect of my life.  My relationship with God, my husband, my children and myself.  Those relationships are certainly tied to my soul. I resolve to take these steps one at a time in the coming new year.  Mom guilt is going to be a thing of my past.  I'm 40 now and don't have time to waste on feeling bad about things out of my control or to absorb other moms' insecurities. There is a new leaf turning over. I'm going to take care of my soul.  

 

Sorry Not Sorry: The Culture of Apologizing for our Children

Mamas, please stop apologizing for your kids.  I see it every day.  I live it every day.  Your kid makes a mistake, you apologize.  Your kid acts like a kid, you apologize.  The truth is this: If your child legitimately screws up, let HIM apologize.  If your child is acting like a child, don’t apologize.  There is a difference between childish and foolish behavior.  Understanding that difference will change the way you parent and how your child sees himself in this world.

Trust me.  I understand completely.  I have three kids.  They all are typically developing, although I have one child who has some quirky tendencies.  There is no mold that can contain his creativity.  He learns by doing, asking, exploring, and he is 8.  He acts like an 8 year- old, and yet, I have apologized for his inquiries, his truth-telling and his exploration on many occasions.  Why have I done this?  I don’t want him to be an imposition. 

Where did I get this mindset? 

Picture it. Tennessee. 1976.  My mother was an amazing mother.  She was always selfless and taught me how to put others above myself.  She taught me manners from an early age: Speak when spoken to.  Don’t interrupt. Leave adults alone when they are talking. Don’t be loud. Don’t be obnoxious. The list goes on and on.  Thus, I didn’t speak to strangers until I was in 2nd grade.  I had internalized this overwhelming feeling of being an imposition to everyone.  Every time I heard my mother say, “please excuse Angie” or “I’m sorry she’s talking your ear off” or “I hope she’s not bugging you” it felt like an attack on my personality. Did my mother see me as an imposition? Of course not!  Did she communicate that I was one? Of course.  I still struggle today with feeling like a burden.  I find myself having one-way friendships all the time because I’m scared to overwhelm people with my struggles. One of the first speak-into-my-life moments that I had with my husband was when he asked me, “why do you always say you are sorry when you haven’t done anything to apologize for?” It hit me like a ton of bricks. I fear becoming an imposition; therefore, I apologize for breathing sometimes.

Fast forward to now that I am a mother.  I find myself having to pull back constantly when in public.  I don’t ever want my children to feel like impositions because I’m embarrassed by childish behavior. Childish behavior is ok.  It’s developmentally appropriate for children to act like children.  I screw this up all the time.  My youngest will talk to you about paint drying if you let him. He is very smart and likes to get to know people. There is nothing wrong with that, so I try not to apologize for his personality. Instead, I try to use those times as a social skills lesson.  Rather than shaming his inquisitive personality, I try to redirect him to another activity and thank the person for being so friendly. That wasn’t always the case, though.  Before I realized what I was doing, I used to grab his hand and whisper, “I’m sorry” to the person who he had been talking to.  There was nothing to apologize for and unfortunately, I was communicating to my son that being himself was something to be sorry about.

Are there times when apologies are necessary? YES!

Sometimes, our children need to apologize when they’ve done something foolish or wrong. When we were out celebrating with friends at an ice cream place, my youngest accidentally put a chair on a friend’s bare toe, and she screamed in pain.  That requires an apology…by him.  So often, we stand in that gap and apologize for our children when they should be apologizing. To teach self-regulation and responsibility for actions, we should teach them when it is appropriate to apologize.  Sometimes our kids act like jerks and need to be held accountable.  Don’t apologize for them.  Teach them to apologize and why they are apologizing.  We apologize because of actions that cause physical or emotional harm either intentionally or by accident, not because someone doesn’t like us. 

Take time to embrace this phase of raising your children and encourage them to be who they were created to be. It will change your life.  You will begin to celebrate the quirks, the unique behavior, the little pieces of God’s handiwork that make your child who he is.  Trust me. It’s only taken me 12 years as a mom to learn this lesson, and I still sometimes screw it up.  Embrace. Cherish. Love. Interact. Encourage. Free yourself from the burden of having perfect children and just enjoy them. 

Sam was crying over the spilled milk on his face. Ethan (in back) thought it was funny, clearly.

Sam was crying over the spilled milk on his face. Ethan (in back) thought it was funny, clearly.

Sweet Mama: Don't Give Up

To the mama who cannot take one more day:

 

I get it.  I’m there, too.

 

Every. Single. Day.

 

It’s the same ole story.  Get up, clean, cook, laundry, work, school, sports, dinner, clean, bed.

 

Every. Single. Day.

 

There is no mention of how wonderful you are or how much you are appreciated.  There’s no acknowledgement that you could be a CEO in some company by now if you had chosen the career path only, but you chose to have children and work/not work. And no one seems to care. You are disrespected, mistreated and disobeyed every day of your life by the little people you carried in your womb and brought into this world, but you keep going.  Even when you feel like giving up.  You keep moving forward.  Motherhood can be the most unimportant feeling, and yet, it is the most important thing you will ever do with your life. 

 

What is significant about raising a child in this world we live in?

 

Drive. Perseverance. Character.  Your children will be different.  They will know that mediocre is not good enough and taking short cuts is not the best way to achieve goals.  They will know that telling the truth even when it’s hard is the best policy, and people will learn to trust their word because they can. They will learn that sacrifice is always worth it, and kindness goes a long way.  They will remember the tears you shed in silence when you thought they couldn’t see you and never want to make their spouses or children feel that same way.  They will remember God pulling on their hearts to bring them to Himself because of your teaching, molding, caring and loving.  They will affect an entire generation because of the influence you had in their lives.  When they are grown, they will understand the exact sacrifice it takes to give up certain dreams and aspirations to care for the very life they created.  They will understand that their worth is not determined by the poop-stained shirt that is on their backs or the oatmeal that is stuck in their hair.  They will know because of you.  Because you chose to do better…be different…be a mother.

 

The strength of a mother knows no bounds.  It knows no give up.  It knows no walk away. 

 

May you feel the peace that you are right where you are supposed to be, sweet mama. If you don’t hear it from all the people that matter to you most, may you hear it from the One who loves you the most:

 

Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”

The Man Flu Epidemic: Hide Your Wives, Hide Your Children

Y'all. This week. This week there was an epidemic that hit our home. The Man Flu. "What's that," you may ask (if you are unmarried, that is). 

Manflu.info (yes, there is a website dedicated to this phenomenon) defines the man flu as: Man Flu is a crippling and debilitating disorder indiscriminately striking down male members of the human species without warning. The illness is often referred to pejoratively by female members of the species who are in fact immune from the illness as man flu is now known to exclusively attack the XY chromosome carrier. If Man Flu is kind enough not to kill the infected party it will definitely leave him weak, sick, hurting everywhere and in dire need of TLC.

My sweet, precious, amazing, manly husband, Jamie, became sick with a cold last week. Coughing, snotty, not sleeping, sore throat...regular cold stuff.  Because he was complaining about feeling so miserable, I tried my best to convince him to go to the doctor.  I even offered to call and make the appointment...18 million times. He just kept saying, "no, I'll be fine. I can't miss work." I tried to make the point that if he got this under control before it got worse he would minimize missing work, and he thought that was crazy: "there's no need to miss any work!" I kept wondering how that could be possible because at home he didn't feel like doing anything. ANYTHING. How could he possibly go to his job and get any work done when it's impossible to stand up after sitting down? How will he eat lunch? How will he get his own drink?  How will he find any of his own supplies? 

Man Flu fact #1: Going to the doctor is for sissies. 

Lo and behold, I contracted this cold because my husband is all about sharing. Sharing is caring, unless it's a cold. But what happens when a wife/mother gets a cold? NOTHING.  I had all of his symptoms. Same. And somehow, nothing in my world changed. I still home schooled, cleaned, cooked, chauffeured and made him more comfortable. Did I mention that we had the same symptoms?  

Man Flu fact #2: All colds are equal, but man colds are more debilitating than others.

So the weekend rolled around, and Jamie's symptoms were getting worse and so did the dramatics.  I finally insisted that if he wasn't going to the doctor, I didn't want to hear him complain anymore.  He went to work Sunday night, came home in a zombie-like state and FINALLY determined that he would skip work Tuesday and go to the doctor. And what was the diagnosis after ignoring (certainly not verbally but in the sense of not doing anything about it) his cold? Pneumonia.  And what was his response? "See I told you I was really sick."

Man Flu fact #3: Men will only acknowledge the seriousness of their final diagnosis without acknowledging that going to the doctor initially (as their wives suggested) would have prevented the said serious diagnosis. 

So then comes the guilt.  With my cold still in tact, I double-up on my servitude that's now on a full-time basis because he stayed home from work (because the doctor said so, not me...last week...when all this started). He alluded (in fun) many times that I should feel bad because I underestimated how horrible he really was feeling and made fun of his dramatics. There isn't a side-eye emoji big enough for how I feel about that sentiment. Yet somehow, I do feel guilty.  THIS WAS NOT MT FAULT. I had a cold, took care of everyone but myself, begged him to go to the doctor while giving him TLC, and I feel guilty. 

Man Flu fact #4: Women are to blame for the progression the cold even when they're the only ones who try to prevent that said progression.

So Friday is here, and I am about to collapse.  Ladies, give yourselves a pat on the back for standing by your men when they are sick. I understand the need for the whole "in sickness and health" part of the vows a couple takes in marriage.  It's a big deal to love someone through being sick.  It truly is a blessing to be able to take care of my husband when he is ill.  It means a lot to me that he trusts me when he is at his worst and most vulnerable.  I joke a lot about this, but I wouldn't have it any other way; however, I wouldn't be sad if something like the woman flu just happened to make an appearance at our house.  The only problem with that: nothing would get done in the house and after I felt better I would have to put everything back again. So. Not. Worth. It. It's better to just fight through the pain. 

Man Flu fact #5: Women are the glue that holds everything together; however, don't let them know that you know that.  

The Man with a (Midnight) Plan

It's that perfect time in the evening. The children are in bed. Prayers have been offered up. Contact lenses are out. Hair bonnet is securely on. My cell phone is charging. I’m about to scroll Facebook until I’m sleepy.

 

I go to the boys’ rooms to turn out their lamps and shut the doors. When I return, my bedroom has morphed into a construction site. There are paint supplies, tarps, ladders and lighting. My husband stands there with sandpaper in his hand and a smirk he offers with a mischievous side eye.


“Honey are you OK? Do you need help?”

 

“I’m good.”

 

Yes. It’s 11 p.m. on a Thursday night and my husband has started A Project.

 

We’ve been married for 11 years now so I already know the rules of A Project. Stay out of the way. Don’t ask too many questions. Observe but don’t supervise. Offer help. Bring water.

 

One of the personality traits I love about my husband is that once he sets his mind to something, he gets it done. There’s no stopping him. He’ll lose sleep over it until it’s finished. This means things don’t stay broken in my house for long. The garage stays clean. I can’t remember the last time I touched his laundry. And if he’s in a mood for fish and rice at midnight, then by golly the whole house will smell it.

 

This particular Project is to fill and sand the nail holes in our bedroom walls so he can paint. We moved in here less than six months ago so there are improvement opportunities galore. His hard work has transformed our home into a thing of beauty.

 

This works in my favor most of the time. That time I watched Hunger Games 1 & 2 via On Demand and I just absolutely needed to see 3 & 4 immediately, he went to Redbox late at night to snag them for me. When I was pregnant, if I needed something I never had to ask twice. For my sister’s wedding, my son’s dress pants were 6 inches too long and since I was off with the wedding party and he was charge of the kids, this man hemmed up this boy’s pants like a professional seamstress.

 

He knows how to do everything. Seriously. Everything.

 

But sometimes, that means sanding nail holes at 11:30 p.m. Or vacuuming when everyone is asleep. Or sleeping in the guest room like I did last night until he could put our bed back together. I’m guesstimating that happened around 3 a.m.

 

I’m not sure when this man sleeps is what I’m saying.

 

This is definitely a blackmail photo of me if I’ve ever seen one, but I just had to show you what my real life is like, because you wouldn’t believe me otherwise.

 

My mama always said “Find yourself a man who can do more than one thing.” I overachieved and found one who could do it all.

 

Do you have midnight stories to tell?

Ladies, He's Taken!

Picture it. My house. 6:30 pm (ish). I was snuggled up with my oldest son watching TV when I heard some loud, yet catchy, music coming from the screened-in porch. So naturally, I thought my daughter was outside on her phone, which she is grounded from. I went outside to investigate. Just as I was about to open up a can on her for not following our rules, this is what I found: 

 

Doesn't your husband grill in the dark with a flashlight while listening to Eminem? No? You are missing out, sister. Missing out! In a BIG way. This is a very typical night with my husband. Grill✅ Meat✅ Beer✅ Flashlight✅ Vols hat✅ Music✅.

He is the absolute smartest guy on the planet and is a classic, country boy with some amazing quirks. This man keeps me grounded and doesn't allow me to take life too seriously. I am so thankful to experience the balance that he brings to me. If it were me running the show alone, I'm positive that  I would have some robotic, Stepford-like children with no amount of ability to chill. Like ever.  

Not everyone will find my life glamorous or perfect by any means. My life is tailor-made for who God is shaping me to be: someone who loves, laughs and feels deeply. We might not be riding unicorns and burping rainbows, but somewhere in all the awkward shennagians lies my perfect peace.