I’m sitting next to my mum, sipping on cheap-yet-completely-perfect wine at a local wine bar on a late Sunday afternoon, the kids are happily playing and I am surrounded by lovely people, its a wonderful day. My husband Shaun croons on his guitar in the back ground; he’s a musician and his day job is to perform at all the local pubs and bars around our city. He’s good at what he does and his job also allows him to be a stay at home parent with me through out the week. He supports me through everything, he even cooks and cleans, even if he’s worked all weekend or studied for days on end. He allows me to do be who ever it is I need to be, or at least the person I want to be. He does as much as I do, he is as much of a parent to our children as I am.
I adore this guy to no end.
My mum turns to me, and says;
“You’re so lucky to have such a supportive and caring husband”.
Am I? I think to myself? Am I though?
Is it too much to expect a man is as capable of the things I am?
And I hear this a lot, mostly from stay at home mothers who are drowning in chaos, in mess, in mothering, in washing, in life, in crumbs.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that people admire the qualities that my husband has, but make no mistake, the guy didn’t show up on a horse with his hand reached out begging for me to ride with him into the sunset.
I helped build this man and not with a list of demands but with the way that I valued myself. I know my worth.
I smile, and look over at him, he’s handsome, he’s charming and has a voice that seduced me into marrying him in the first place, “It’s true, I am very lucky” I reply, but my reply doesn’t sit with me quite right.
Why the unease?
When I really thought about it, it is odd that people might consider me lucky.
I am not lucky to be treated well, I am not lucky to be supported, I am not lucky to be doted on and adored, because those things are exactly what I deserve. I deserve that and so does the next person.
Yeah I’m lucky that I met him but I am not lucky to be treated well because I should be treated well anyway.
It is my right, to feel as loved and as supported as any man in any kind of relationship.
I am lucky however, to have met a decent person that wants to be with another decent person and is willing to do the work required by any human being that wants to be in a functioning family.
A person who happens to love me and wants to share the other half of my life with me.
I receive what I deserve. I receive what we all deserve.
If we consider the way we are treated in our relationships as bad luck, and that we should just suck it up, it has much less to do with chance and more to do with the way we invite people to treat us.
Remember that saying ‘Treat others the way you want to be treated’, thats a real thing. (Obviously this does not always apply for situations where someone is harming us on purpose and sometimes it has nothing to do with boundaries or respect; then please seek help).
I have never allowed Shaun to treat me any other way than the way I deserve, the first boundary I set for myself was the one I set with him.
So if we find ourselves working for the person we are in a relationship with, before we blame them for the way they are, perhaps we should ask ourselves why we took the job in the first place.
I am not lucky to have others see my worth, and respect it.
I am not lucky to give and receive love, compassion, or comfort and conversation.
I am not lucky to be treated well.
I am not lucky because I get what I deserve.
Luck did not get me here. To claim thats luck would to down play the hard work I’ve done to get here.
Work on knowing your own worth, no one else can do that for you, it comes in no pill, it comes not from beauty, it comes not from the love of others (although it can sometimes help).
It comes from you.
Learning that you are just as magnificent as those you love will never be something you regret, but having people step over your boundaries constantly will be.