I was a wife once, a good wife. At least until it all started to fall apart. But it dawned on me the other day that, with three daughters, I am now raising future wives.
When I was an engaged wife, dinner was on the table, the babies- one after another - were taken care of, the house was clean and laundry was done. I managed the money, the household and anything else I needed to to make sure my ex - husband did not have any responsibility except bringing home the paycheck. My ex - husband wanted for nothing. And until I realized the real person he was and started to disconnect at warp speed, planning my departure as soon as I could, I had planned on being a good wife for life.
Now, as a single mom to three little girls, I struggle with the fight between raising them to be strong, independent women or more docile and conforming women.
I have learned, about me anyway, that I put on a great show of being strong and independent. But the truth is, in every relationship that I have ever been in, men have walked all over me. Men like my ex - husband, who are bullies and insecure in their own right, see my obvious weaknesses and take full advantage. So, before I can even contemplate a serious relationship with another man - which right now makes my skin crawl - I have to fix me.
However, in the process of fixing me, I am responsible for raising these little girls to be someone's wife one day. Sure, one or all may never marry, but seeing how much they love others, I find that a very remote chance. Truth be told, I want them to find what I couldn't: a reliable, kind, loving man who puts them and his family first.
I want my kids to be happy and choose the right man. Once they do, I want them to be strong enough to stand up to him but understanding enough to let him be himself. I want them to be secure enough to know what they want and how to be a part of a team. I want them to know that the rocky roads can lead to amazing, breathtaking peaks.
And I want them to understand that a marriage is not about the wedding, the kids or the outside world. Behind closed doors is the central nucleus of a marriage and if they can not be happy there, they can not be happy with marriage anywhere.
So, how do I do it? How do I raise good wives when, in the end, I was not one? How do I instill in them the strength and the values that I so willingly threw away until the truth came out? How do I make them understand that picking a mate to be married to, create a family with, and cherish for life is more than a day with a ring and a dress and more about their resolve in the trenches. Their partnership. Their friendship with their spouse?
I am blessed that my kids have the wonderful examples of healthy marriages and happy wives in my mother and sister. Both in lifetime marriages, their opinions and values are appreciated and validated by their husband's. But they do the same for them.
Maybe I should ship my girls off to them more often to watch how being a good wife is more than being a good person. Is is being a good teammate with the self- esteem and confidence to know who they are as an individual.
When raising your daughter's, do you think of them as wives? How would you raise them to be the same or different as you are as a wife?
And mom's raising sons... we will do the best we can!
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