I absolutely love having real talk conversations with my friends. But my most notorious real talk conversations were always with my friend Cleo. It’s amazing the stuff we would talk and be brutally honest about. Seriously folks, as shy as we both could be, we were not prudes during our real talk convos. So, I asked Cleo to pose me some questions, and she happily obliged me. So I thought I would share one of our real talks with you all. Enjoy!
C: What things surprised you about marriage or family life?
A: Honestly, quite a few things. First, you are not happy every single moment of the day just because you’re “in love” and married. I had moments over the honeymoon when I was upset and even in the first couple of months of marriage, I got pissed often. Second, you know how people tell you marriage is fun but it’s a lot of work? OMG! It is never ending work. It’s like having a 24 hour job sometimes. Now it doesn’t always feel like that, but I did find out that I couldn’t be lazy about my marriage, from jump street. It takes work to have conversations and resolve issues…..a lot of work. Third, I’ve been surprised at how much I lean on our friendship, rather than our husband/wife relationship, over time. I mean, with being pregnant so early and having a child, we naturally tend to live as best friends. So, we actually have to be very intentional about our husband/wife relationship, and that takes some effort a lot of times.
C: What are some things you wished you knew or that someone told you before beginning a family?
A: Ahhhh…just because you’re two Christians who “did it God’s way” and got married does not mean that all of your married plans are lined up with His will. For us, we have been quite surprised at the amount of changes God has caused us to go through since being married. I mean, after all that prayer and preparation, I was tempted to think that I had it down right. Girl, I did not, and He definitely changed our plans and lives. I think another thing is that having a child (starting a family in general) will always and thoroughly expose your selfishness. I always considered myself to be a pretty self-sacrificing person. But, having Alexandria….smh…..I am soooooo selfish. And I think that a lot of it is being worked out, but there is still so much to go. It’s a shame. I would also say that you have to learn how to get over things very very quickly when you have a child. Alexandria always wants reassurance from us that she’s still loved after we discipline her. And a lot of times, if I’m upset or frustrated, I would rather just walk away from her. So, it’s been a good and hard lesson to not hold offenses, to forgive quickly (I also learned that true forgiveness takes a lot humility too), and to walk patiently with someone else.
C: Do you have a social life outside of your married/motherhood life? If so, how do you strike that balance?
A: My gut response is: I wish! LOL!!! But really, honestly, not really at all. I think this may be because I’m a stay-at-home mom, but all of my daily work revolves around Alexandria. So how I plan things, when they get done, how much time I have to devote to it, I have to keep her and her needs in mind. I think the most I’ve been able to do is go to ladies’ Bible study at my church by myself. But I have found great pleasure in meeting up with friends who either have kids of their own or their kids are grown and taking Alexandria. Because while I talk to them, she is being perfectly entertained by them. So, if I meet up with a friend for a couple of hours, I may have her in front of me, but someone else is doing most of the interaction…lol! Now, there are times where I get really frustrated or tired with her, and normally I ask Gabe to watch her while I leave for a little and collect myself.
C: Are there awkward moments or conversations that you have had to have with your husband? (I think this would be hilarious to hear about)!
A: I soooo want to pass on this question! But for the sake of the integrity of our real talks, I’m going to suck this up and try to be personal without oversharing.
Most awkward came before marriage, and the conversation was about honeymoon/sex expectations. I mean, I’ve always been told that guys wanted “a lady in the street and a freak in the bed”….that sounds so raunchy! But real talk, I knew he would have his own expectations. So, it was terribly awkward for me, and it took several conversations, but eventually we covered it (including bedroom attire, frequency, positions…..the whole nine yards)….I’m blushing by the way.
After that, being pregnant and having to explain bodily changes to my husband. And although this was completely awkward, it was “sweet” that he sat in on my pap smear after I got pregnant. Let me tell you, you do not want a scientist observing that kind of exam…lol!
After that, I got really bad food poisoning that resulted in me vomiting and having diarrhea. The awkward moment came when I ran to the bathroom to throw up, but didn’t know it was also coming out the other way. And when Gabe came to check on me, he got quite an eyeful…….that moment ended all awkward moments between us. Trust me, there was nothing as embarrassing as that. And then for him to clean up after me….smh. He loves me sooo much! LOL!
C: What is it like relating to other married people and families? Do you find that there is competition (i.e. who has a better marriage, whose kids are smarter)?
A: Honestly, I enjoy it completely! I love relating to married people near our age because we swap stories, laughs, ideas, parenting suggestions, etc. I love relating to older married people because they are soooooooo full of wisdom and sound godly advice. I often find that they are just a pure encouragement because they are enduring together, and they’ve already been through a lot together. So they help me to put issues and things into perspective a lot, scale down my anxiety or frustration, and realize that this is a relatively small problem that God is more than capable of handling.
As for the competition, not so much! I mean, I’ve realized that married couples have their own convictions and thoughts about how they live their own life. So I try not to pass judgment and realize that where we are is where God wants us to be, and where they are is where God wants them to be too. Now, I know my little girl is a smartie! LOL! But, I try not to make it a competition. To be real though, Gabe and I can’t stand the education system, especially here in Louisiana. So, when I hear that parents have their kids in regular school, I do tend to think that maybe they aren’t as far along as it appears because of the poor educational quality. I feel so bad for saying it, but I’m being honest. Regardless though, Alexandria just a toddler, and I don’t compare….although I do take mental notes for homeschooling later. LOL!
C: I’d also be interested in hearing about how biblical principles come into play in the day-to-day family activities and interactions. How do you see those come to life?
A: Yeah, that’s important, and for us, this is probably the most hardcore thing in our home. We have family worship time Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, every week in our home. Because Alexandria so young, we have a special book that has smaller lessons for her during those nights. We alternate between singing songs and reading through Scripture to nights where we are literally studying the Word together. So worship is very central in our home. Gabe also leads these things, and so that clearly shows that God-given authority he has as the leader in our home.
I think that in general we are much more conscious and aware of how we are raising Alexandria, which means that we are more aware of our own personal walk too. So, we both enjoyed relaxing in front of the television. But being more and more aware of the distraction it was to us and then knowing that we didn’t want her to have negative influences in her life, we got rid of the television before she was born.
Personally, I’m aware of how I treat Gabe and how I respond to him because it’s teaching her how she should be responding to her father as she grows up…you know, what’s acceptable and unacceptable behavior. I know that it is also showing her what biblical submission looks like in a marriage. So she doesn’t see or hear me be disrespectful, argue back and forth, do what I feel like doing even after Gabe has made a decision, talk badly about him when he’s absent, or any of that.
I’m also aware of what I wear too. So this hits up modesty in our home. Even though I’m home with her, I don’t wear booty shorts around the house and revealing clothing, even when it’s hot because I want to be a good example for Alexandria about being modest and appropriate.
And although we don’t have a lot of extra funds around, I do try to make a point to be hospitable and caring about the other members of the body of Christ that I know. So, I’ll check on people by phone or a message. I try to make sure that I’m involved in serving at our church too (Gabe does too). So, those things take time, but you know….we’re not saved to be by ourselves, but we are saved into a body that we have the mutual responsibility to care for. So we try to handle our business there too.
C: How does your own personal devotion life with God affect your role and responses to everyday life in your family?
A: That’s a really good question. My personal devotion life is soooo essential to my role and responses every day. I find it so obvious to tell the times that I’ve been unable to spend time with God to the times where I have been able to. I mean, I don’t get the time that I used to have being single. There’s no more spending hours upon hours with the Lord. Let me lay prostrate on a floor here, I’ll get milk, drool, and spaghetti sauce in my hair within five minutes! LOL! But, I realize that the posture of my heart must always be in fellowship with God. I mean, I do have real moments where I get really discouraged and down about being a wife and mom. And it’s not that I despise those positions, but it’s just that it’s never ending work, and it has literally cost me a lot to do, a lot to obey the Word. I’m not finishing my degree anytime in the foreseeable future, and even if I did, we’re looking at homeschooling! So when I see my Spelman sisters and Morehouse brothers doing big things, I am really happy for them, but it does hurt sometimes because I know that I had a lot of potential to do a lot of things. Now, I refuse to buy into the belief that I can do both successfully, because that’s a bold-faced lie when you’re really trying to obey the Word of God. But that means that my soul satisfaction, how I view this life, how I view “success”, how I view and value being a wife and mom, must always be shaped by God alone. So, for me to stay encouraged and cheerful each day, I have to get before God. Otherwise, I’d be really upset and miserable doing this…..just being real. And, what has sincerely helped is the fact that my husband recognizes the continual sacrifice and diligence, and he keeps me in prayers and encourages me when I do get down.
All in all, I’m enjoying my life as a wife and mother. It came far quicker than I anticipated, but I have seen God grow me up so much in these positions. And we are looking forward to working on a sibling for this little in the future and even adopting. I don’t believe that most women value being a wife and a mother as much as God values it, and it can lead to a lot of dissatisfaction personally. But if you are focused on God and pleasing Him alone, it can be ridiculously rewarding…the fruits of righteousness you bear because of your obedience to God are always being produced. It’s blessed to be in a position where you know that God is truly pleased with you. Real blessed to know that.