Are you constantly trying to find that perfect balance between being a happy wife, happy mother, successful homemaker, amazing chef, workout champ, great friend/daughter/Jew/person, patient person, loving person, respectful person, growing person, humble person, and self-actualized person?
When I first got married, I wanted to be all of this and more for my husband. I wanted to show him that he chose well and blow him away with how I was able to seamlessly manage it all, while greeting him at the door, poised in freshly applied makeup.
As a beginner cook, I spent every Sunday trying to perfect my challah recipe, attempting to be like the model I had in my mind of the perfect Jewish wife. I’m a baal teshuvah, and I wanted to strive for the top.
I found recipes on highly-rated websites, with 5 stars and fantastic reviews, and would sweat in the kitchen, trying to please yet again.
I over-burdened myself by trying to manage my own life and my husband’s, incessantly telling him how to fix his resume and find the best jobs, as my pregnant belly grew.
I had stopped dancing to be proper, and stopped resting so I wouldn’t appear to be lazy to my busy bee husband.
I was stretching myself way too thin to prove that I was worth my husband’s love and that he had chosen well, and to keep him amazed and engaged.
I thought the only way to keep him looking at me like he did under the chuppah was to appear as perfect as I did on our wedding day.
It wasn’t real life.
I was cracking and snapping left and right. My unsustainable perfect persona was quickly coming to a halt. I would get irritable if my husband did something wrong in my eyes. I was always short-tempered around dinner time when my real, human, physical self was just worn out from trying to be a super woman and super wife.
The disconnect between what I was trying to be and my real self was creating such inner tension, and I was taking it out on my husband.
I needed a break. I needed to chill out on the couch and read. I needed to dance again. I couldn’t do all that I was doing on a daily basis and also be happy as a person and as a wife.
I thought that feeling successful and accomplished—achieving it all—would be my route to happiness as a wife and the way to be adored by my husband.
I was wrong.
Laura Doyle’s Intimacy Skills have transformed my entire life and showed me a different way.
I stopped doing so much. I stopped trying to be someone who I am not. I stopped pushing so hard and equating accomplishment with being worthy of love.
I started saying, “I can’t.” I began to say, “I can’t make challah this week; I’m too wiped out.” I stopped cooking more things than I could handle.
I started finding simpler recipes.
I started allowing myself time to just stop and chill out on my couch.
I started expressing my pure desires for help; “I would love help in the kitchen.”
I received help from my husband—which he now more readily offers, the more peace there is between us.
We hired a cleaning lady.
I started dancing again, doing yoga again, and allowing myself the pleasure of relaxing with friends and laughing again.
I have learned that shalom bayis isn’t about fitting into some unrealistic mold of what a home and Shabbos table and Tuesday night meal should look like. When I was striving past my limits, yes, our meals were elaborate and I had on the finest attire I owned, but I was uncomfortable in my rigid clothes and absolutely exhausted.
I was taking out my empty bucket on my husband, irritated that he wasn’t filling me up with happiness inside, when in fact I was the one who had let myself get too depleted.
These days, I contribute to our shalom bayis by looking within and determining how I feel and what I want.
Often, I’m feeling very tired, running on no sleep with two babies, and want to make a lighter Shabbos meal.
When I go easy on myself, and honor my need for rest, dance, yoga, and friends—oh and iced coffee, our home atmosphere on Shabbos and all week long is truly peaceful.
Our Shabbos isn’t ruined anymore by my mood because I’ve just done too much.
Our Shabbos feels light and peaceful and happy. Just this week, I was reveling in the laughter and singing in our home, knowing that my own happiness and honoring my limits has largely contributed to the vibe.
I’m so grateful to be here now.
Where are you over-giving?
Where are you trying to please everyone but yourself?
What would happen if you did less and honored your real limits?
What is possible for your home when you show up as a happy wife, mother, and woman?
It is so hard in today’s society of go, go, go, a million miles a minute, watching everyone around us seem to have it all together in such a seamless way, to admit our real limitations and to do the self-care that we need to be happy women and wives.
My sweet, wonderful husband can’t get enough of me when I’m rested, refreshed and happy. When I have honored my limits and taken really good care of myself, that’s when I feel loved. That’s when our connection is the strongest. That’s when he wants to be around me and enjoy tea on the couch and go on dates.
I have learned that my vulnerable, real, raw, authentic self is what he really adores.
And, on top of being adored by my husband by just being me, I now feel great too—being true to myself and knowing where I end and the rest of the world continues.
I try every day to be my best self, and now, this includes knowing when I need that break.
It’s done wonders for our marriage and the atmosphere in our home.
I will never go back to over-doing it again.
I am enough. And so are you.
I believe this is possible for you too.
You are not alone in the struggle to balance it all.
Where can you go easier on yourself?
What if the very thing that would make it all finally work, that would give you the marriage you so yearn for, is actually not finding ways to fit more in, but instead finding the courage to do less?
I’m happy you are here, holy woman.