A topic that I have been meaning to write about for some time now is personal development for wives. In my career I have opportunities for professional development the object of which is to hone skills that I possess, help develop new skills, and provide me with knowledge and insights that will help me be more effective in executing the responsibilities of my position. My beautiful wife is a domestic engineer (a fancy way of explaining that she is a stay-at-home mom). She works more hours at her job each day and week than I do and is not only mentally and physically exhausted at the end of each day but she is emotionally and spiritually exhausted as well. One of the many reasons that I love her so very much is that she is willing to put our children and family ahead of herself, as do so many women. Even those that are not stay-at-home moms invest so much into their families. Mothers are amazing. The problem I see in my wife's life and in many of our friends' and in my own mother's life is that because they invest so much into being a mother other areas of their lives are often neglected and remain undeveloped. There are periods of life where it is simply unfeasible to work on anything other than being a fantastic mother and wife and I understand that, but what I am proposing is that my wife is so much more than a wonderful wife and mother and she needs to know that.
I would like to suggest three ways that we, as husbands, can ensure that our wives recognize and remember their potential and help them develop skills and talents in addition to those required for motherhood. They are:
- Make time for your wife to pursue her dreams. My wife loves to write stories for children. Despite our meager finances we have been able to enroll her in several courses through the Institute of Children's Literature that have helped her improve her writing and learn how to work with publishers. She has already written one book (she isn't presently pursuing publishing it because of the time commitment she has with our three boys but she will!), is working on another, and has solid ideas for two more. Sometimes it's cooking or sewing or improving computer skills but whatever it is support your wife by paying for the activities or simply staying home with the kids or perhaps both.
- Point out the things that she is good at and emphasize your wife's talents. My wife often forgets that she can do more than just be a mother. For example, Cami was crazy fun before our kids were born. Once, actually it was probably several times, she made me dance in the rain fully clothed. I was soaked and she just laughed and giggled as she pranced around. She would sit upside down on the sofa so that the blood would rush to her head which, for some reason, also caused her to laugh uncontrollably. Once our first son was born the "fun Cami" (that's what we call her) became dormant along with some of the other "Camis". I try to bring those dormant aspects of her personality back from time to time to help her remember who she really is.
- Support your wife. Tell her that you love her. Express your appreciation for all that she does as a mother and as your wife. Make sure she recognizes the contribution she is making. When she feels successful at her calling as a mother she is much more likely and willing to develop other aspects of who she is.