When the babies were little and kept coming every other year, it was sometimes a challenge to keep them dry, fed, and happy, the house organized, and myself reasonably rested and motivated. Some days it was 11 a.m. and I was still in sweats with breakfast dishes piled in the sink., running with the toddler for the third time into the bathroom for a ‘dry run’ and juggling the baby on my hip. I gave great effort, prioritized the best I could, but I put “people before things” so the house wasn’t exactly House Beautiful or Good Housekeeping material. Back then, my prayer life consisted mostly of “please God let them nap at the same time” or a deep sighed “thank you” at the end of a busy day, and when I made it with them out to Mass on Friday mornings, it was a BIG DEAL. Work got done, but slowly and interrupted. My husband and I took shifts to get everything done. We kept to the essentials. It was all we could do.
Now that my babies are older (youngest just turned seven) the physical strain isn’t so much, I am a bit more organized and can do some things that I have wanted to do for a long time. In the morning, I exercise and can say a good solid “quality praying” rosary on the sofa alone before I really start my day. I also have been making breakfast for my husband and lunch for him to take to work each morning.
We’re all at different stages in our lives, sometimes more able to do this or that and sometimes less so. I preface this because I don’t want anyone feeling guilty for not doing the extra things if the time in her life is not right for that, if it is the very busy season of babies every (other) year, breastfeeding, mothering little ones or whatever keeps your feet tapping in responsibility and love. There is a season for everything and sometimes it’s the season of tag-teaming with your husband. If that is your season, do not feel bad. Move forward and maybe consider this for the future. But if the time is ripe and you feel you can swing it, maybe you’ll want to start doing this one little thing for your beloved:
Make his lunch.
Here is why I make my husband lunch every morning for him to take to work:
- It’s not because I think I’m better than wives who don’t.
- It’s not because I think he can’t buy his own lunch himself.
- It’s not because I’m trying to get on his good side or “butter him up”.
- It’s not because I have nothing else to do in the morning.
- It’s not because he ‘makes me’.
- It’s not because I’m insecure and am desperate for approval.
- It’s not because my mother gave me a false sense of wifely duty or that I am a dependent, clingy, old-fashioned woman.
- It’s not because I do it better than he can.
- It’s not because I’m trying to be a martyr.
- It’s not because I think I’m so awesome.
I try to make my husband’s lunch every morning for many other reasons.
- I make his lunch because he is busy and appreciates the thought and effort.
- I make his lunch because we grow to love those most for whom we sacrifice and I like ‘growing my love’ for him.
- I make his lunch because his homemade lunch is generally healthier than the fast food or dine out options.
- I make his lunch because it is cheaper than the alternative.
- I make his lunch because it is something tangible I can do to show my love and appreciation for his daily hard work for our family.
- I make his lunch because it gives me pleasure to do something for him.
- By making his lunch I know that he will stop and think of me at his mealtime and I like that.
- I make his lunch because the bible says “..Let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4: 7) and “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45)
- I make his lunch because he likes a certain kind of salad made a certain way with a certain dressing and I know how to make it, certainly.
- I make his lunch because he loves me and I love him.
It is that simple.
Mother Teresa (and others) challenged us to “do small things with great love”. Making my husband’s lunch is just one example of how I can do that.
Theresa Thomas is the co-author Stories for the Homeschool Heart (Bezalel Books, 2010 & winner of About.com Best Catholic Book of 2010), family columnist at Today’s Catholic News and a contributing writer for the Integrated Catholic Life™.
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