DE0DA420-F26C-4941-8784-1E73CE6008CF.pngLacey shivered in delight when Daniel wrapped her in the warmth of his embrace. The fall air had grown brisk and her light cardigan did little to guard her against the chill. She could feel her very soul exhale as her body melted against him.

It feels good to be loved.

After six years, eleven months and three days of dating one guy after another,she finally found her soul mate. Daniel had been a casual acquaintance for decades. A familiar face that was always polite but never entered her orbit as anything more than a big brother type figure. He was five years older after all. They certainly did not have anything in common during her school years. He was eons ahead of her, practically a grown man as a college freshman while she was navigating the joys and sorrows of being a preteen.

When they met up at a mutual friend’s New Year’s Eve party, the sparks caught her off guard. Suddenly good ole Daniel felt less like a big brother and more like the answer to the prayer she had been too afraid to speak outloud. Lacey was ready for love in the New Year and Daniel fit her list of prerequisites to a T. It had been almost ten months and they were wholly inseparable. Forever was close enough to grasp in Lacey’s eyes.


Lacey considered Daniel her rainbow after the storm. Her last serious relationship was on-again and off again for five years. Rahim had been her boyfriend in every sense of the word except a title. They were inseparable but he would not make it official. “What’s understood does not need to be defined,” his favorite response when she pressed him to make their relationship exclusive. So for the years they were together, she was faithful – only entertaining  other guys when her and Rahim were broken up – or in Rahim-speak “need to take time to think some things over.”  Rahim on the other hand kept more than one relationship within arms reach at all times, often telling her about his latest or even current companion, dismissing some as nothing more than flings and glorifying others as the prototype for womanhood.

You can’t be broken up if you were not “together.”  Lacey felt initially that Rahim was a drug she could not do without. No matter how many times they went their separate ways, if he called she answered. During their breaks, she would find herself with one guy or another, sometimes even in monogamous relationship yet still Rahim was orbiting in her space. She always knew when he was in a serious relationship or just hanging out with someone new. They conversed regularly even when he was committed to someone else.

“We are friends aren’t we?” He would chide her whenever she mentioned the inappropriateness of their conversations while he was in relationship with someone else. The words “my girlfriend” always felt like a dagger to the heart. Rahim has never once used that term in reference to Lacey, only with the women that came after her.

After her twenty-first birthday and looking at college graduation, Lacey began evaluating her relationship. She made a list of the pros and cons of her connection to Rahim. Pros – they had great chemistry. Rahim made her laugh and when they were together, the whole world fades away. Cons – he wouldn’t commit, he made her feel insecure and not good enough for commitment, he compared her to other women, he always came back in her life when things were stable and upend them, he interrupted her attempts at relationships with other men. On and on it went until the “cons” column was completely full. Lacey’s heart hammered at the thought of a life without Rahim.

She changed her number and deleted all of her social media to make a clean break for Rahim. She deserved love and Rahim was keeping her from it.


When Daniel proposed on her birthday the following month, the answer was a no-brainer. Spend the rest of her life with the man who has loved for best? Absolutely. Lacey wore her ring proudly, texting pictures of their private engagement to all of her friends and family. Her parents were surprised. They knew Daniel. He was a perfectly nice young man. The parental concern that debated whether he should have asked Lacey’s dad for her hand was quickly dismissed as old-fashioned by their only child. No one does that anymore. Besides, he wanted to keep it a surprise and just between the two of them.

Lacey floated into the new year on the wings of love. They had decided on a short engagement. Six months and not a day over. A spring wedding in the new year would be the perfect way to start their life together. Their anniversary was coming up, New Year’s Eve. Lacey and Daniel decided to make it a night to remember. He made reservations at the grandest hotel in the city. They would bring in the New Year on the rooftop with friends before retreating for a private celebration. Lacey’s head was swimming with possibilities. They hadn’t consummated their relationship – she was not ready and he didn’t push, but Lacey contemplated if their anniversary was the perfect night to give her future husband the gift of herself. They were practically married – and she needed to get over her apprehension regarding intimacy. The few times she had gotten close enough to consider sex with a partner, the awkwardness of it all had a chilling effect on all thoughts of getting hot and heavy. But things with Daniel had never been awkward – and their chemistry was palpable. If it would work with anyone it would be Daniel.

When the ball dropped in the middle of downtown, Lacey and Daniel shared a kiss that singed her senses. Her pulse hammered in her throat. Absolutely. Tonight.

Giddy with anticipation, Lacey floated around the room, doling out hugs and pecks to friends and acquaintances in the room. She left Daniel on the balcony as she chatted briefly with a college friend. Tyler was trying to get in contact with her old roommate – they dated ever so briefly in college and the new year had him trying to get that old thing back. Lacey texted her friend to get the okay before forwarding the number to Tyler. After a quick hug and pleasantries, Lacey was ready to get back to her man.

She scanned the balcony for Daniel’s familiar figure. Nothing

”Babe, where did you go?” She texted, brows furrowed. The message was opened but not replied.

Odd. Very odd. In their entire year together, Daniel has never once ignored a message from her.

“Babe, I’m worried. Call me!” She messaged again.

He read it at 12:36am.

12:45 almost ten minutes later and still, nothing.

She called him. It rang without interruption and went to voicemail.

”Babe, where are you? Are you okay? Call me! Please!”

Her first frantic message giving way to three more over the course of the next two hours. She probably called fifteen times. His phone wasn’t dead because it rang each time before going to voicemail. Anxiety turned to alarm which turned to panic. After asking everyone present and calling all mutual friends, Lacey gave up. Maybe he had too much to drink and was sleeping it off elsewhere. Maybe he lost his phone. She told herself not to worry. Daniel was smart and strong. He wouldn’t do anything foolish and he could take care of himself.

When 3am came and went, Lacey checked into their room alone and slept terribly. She was up at six and began trying his phone again. No response. Her friends also called him with no luck.

“Lord, please keep him safe,” she prayed between tears of anguish.

As hours turned into days, Lacey began calling Daniel’s family – they needed to know he was missing.

“Hi, Mrs. Pierce, it’s Lacey. I don’t want to alarm you but nobody has heard from Daniel since New Year’s Eve,” Lacey revealed carefully. She wanted to be sensitive but couldn’t afford to mince words. It’s been almost a week!

”Hey baby? You looking for Daniel? Sugar he’s right here! He drove in and surprised us for the New Year,” Daniel’s mom explained with a laugh.

He was at his parents? He drove from Maryland to Maine without so much as a text?! Was he insane?!

Worry quickly turned to fury as Lacey made the calculations. For all the hours she was calling and worrying on their anniversary, he was driving? While she was sleeping badly and alone in what should have been their magical night together, he was on his way to see his parents?

Lacey gave her best performance at nonchalance and ended the call with Daniel’s mom. Her fiancé was in for a world class fight whenever he decided to call her back.

When the week stretched into two weeks, Lacey’s anger began dissipating into worry and something else she couldn’t identify…dread perhaps.

Daniel was acting very out of character. There was still no calls and no replies to her texts. Maybe he was getting cold feet about the wedding? They had less than five months to plan their wedding now. Maybe he changed his mind about a short engagement.

When two weeks became almost a month, Lacey had carved out a new normal. She would call Daniel once in the morning to say hello to his voicemail and leave one text message in the afternoon. The man of her dreams was going through some sort of personal crisis. Until he was able to verbalize his struggles, it was up to her to ensure that he knew she had not abandoned him.

As their wedding date drew closer, Lacey retreated into herself. Thankfully they had not sent out engagement announcements or invitations so nobody knew her and Daniels timeline but for the two of them. Despite that saving grace, she did not want to answer questions about Daniel’s whereabouts from curious loved ones. None of her friends or family had seen him since the infamsous New Year’s Eve party. The less they saw of her, the less they would have to speculate about.

When she called Daniel’s number this time…it had been disconnected. A mixture of panic and relief washed over her. She wasn’t strong enough to stop going through the motions of reaching out to him. As long as his voicemail accepted her messages, there was hope that he would call back and they could fix what was broken. That hope was the most agonizing part of her ordeal. It taunted her relentlessly.

“You’re not gonna give up on him that easily are you? What happened to love? What about “for better or worse?” You were about to marry this man!”

Her thoughts haunted her relentlessly and kept her tied to the phone. Calling and texting daily with no response as only a deranged stalker would.

As her would-be wedding date drew nearer, Lacey came to terms with her situation. Over the last months, she had lost almost fifteen pounds from an already thin frame, she lost all interest in anything  social and did the bare minimum not to get fired at her job. She did not respond to friends and had stopped visiting family. Her imaginary relationship with Daniel was a parasite that was leeching her dry. It was time to let him go.

As a symbolic release, Lacey changed her Facebook status to single. Her new relationship status had one like – Danielle, Daniel’s younger sister.

Lacey’s heart contracted painfully at the slight. Before she could stop herself, Lacey found  her eyes roving over Danielle’s page for signs of Daniel. Her eyes immediately fastened on the large cover photo of Daniel and his entire family. Lacey recognized Daniel’s parents and his sister but the one unfamiliar face in the photo was a brunette with grey eyes standing between Danielle and her beloved brother. She knew before she read the caption.

“My brother and my new sister on their wedding day.”

The date was also familiar. May 1st, 2015, Five-one-fifteen. Like they always planned. Daniel was an apparition, a friendly ghost that haunted her life and gave her the best year of her life only to go to his eternal rest in the arms of another woman.

‘Love’ was a joke.





I Am Tired, And I’m Not Sorry (Refusing The Lies I Believed About Marriage)

D2336B6C-F621-4972-9D3C-B30842F63C30When I first got married, I was very much of the mind that marriage is ministry (I still believe it’s my primary mission field). After five years of marriage, I have realized that viewing my marriage as the be all end all of who I am as a woman can quickly give way to idolatry if left unchecked. 

When I got married, I still had a lot of growing to do. Marriage immediately began challenging my immaturity, my people pleasing ways and my tendencies for unforgiveness when my feelings are hurt or I’ve been publically embarrassed. Having to do life with someone who is genuinely interested in my growth as person challenged me in a way I’ve never been challenged before. I was immediately enamored with the growth I saw in myself, emotionally, physically and spiritually. My husband was making me better. 

I wouldn’t change being married because I believe it’s done me the most good out of anything I’ve done outside of myself in recent memory. But lately I’ve really had to revisit the truth that my husband is wholly inadequate as my source of joy and happiness. 

We are going through perhaps our 100th transition as a family (job changes, move, new babies, schedule change, career change, change in responsibilities, new schools, new childcare, no childcare, staying home, working, working from home, job loss, long distance marriage – you name it, we’ve endured it). There has been no two seasons that have been alike in our house since 2013. And every change has required me to recalibrate to figure out what is best for our family.

Right now, our dynamics has me doing a lot of the heavy lifting with the kids and honestly I am exhausted. The level of support I need from my husband has skyrocketed and a lot of days I find myself angry or resentful if I feel I’m not getting what I need at home. Some days all I need are a few words of affirmation (“you’re doing a great job with the kids/I appreciate how hard you’re working”) other days I need my partner in life to jump right in there and roll up the sleeves. It would be nice to walk in at 7pm after a 12 hour day and meet a cleaned house and something to eat. More days than not, I’m walking in from a 50 hour work week to a house that has been destroyed since the last time I cleaned it, a sink full of dishes and the realization that there will be no dinner unless I provide it.

In short, my needs (for a clean house, a break from cooking and a night off mommy duties) are not being met. I look at my husband with a combination of anger and agony. Surely he sees that I need his help more than ever, right? This is not something I should have to put into words, right? The thoughts that knock me over in those moments run the gambit between “did I choose the wrong kind of man?” and “am I the wrong kind of woman?” Immediately my mind flashes to the last “bragging on my husband” posts from my fellow wives and sisters in the faith. One is commending her husband because he told her to go rest while he cleaned the house, prepared dinner and took sole responsibility of their newborn for the weekend. The other is thankful for a partner who supported her effortlessly when her career became more taxing. My chest tightens at the loss of something I’ve never had. The only time my husband has taken on a significant portion of the household responsibilities were the few times when I was medically unable to do so (pregnancy/post partum or serious illness). I literally remember three times in our five years together.

For the next several days, I beat myself up for choosing a man who much like both of our fathers, did less than the bare minimum around the house. It is my own fault for setting the impossible standard that I saw Nigerian mothers model and then grow to resent. A woman’s home is hers to keep. It was the wife’s job to cook, clean, take care of the children and her husband only needs to ‘help’ if he feels like it. I did it all as a new wife. I joyfully cooked three square meals, took pride in a spotless house that I cleaned all by myself and made sure I was at my husband’s beck and call without complaint. My husband loves me more than anyone else I know. He never took advantage of my selflessness and always told me how much he appreciated all of my efforts. I beamed and blossomed under the warmth of his approval. When we had our first child, reality started hinting at the fact that I could not keep up with the “perfect wife who does it all without complaint” ideal I had been working under for over a year. Sleep deprivation started grating on me. The unbalanced workload that required me to not only care for a newborn around the clock but somehow still manage all the cooking, cleaning, shopping and home economics while making myself as attractive and sexually desirable for my husband no longer felt like the joyous adventure it had been just a year before. I started folding under the pressure.

“I need help!” My thoughts would scream at me while I berated myself about the virtues of not being a “nag.” If I asked my husband to pull his own weight with the household chores, he would realize I wasn’t the perfect wife. He would know that I couldn’t “do it all.” He might even call me a nag. (And that was a fate worse than hell according to all the good Christian books about being a good homemaker). So I convinced myself to shut up about it and figure it out.

Being afraid to ask for what you need is a trauma response.

So we continued. Instead of stating plainly what was on my mind, I stuffed my feelings. The result would be months of supposed marital bliss and all of a sudden, I would explode about the most trivial thing (like the fact that he put a dish in the sink I just emptied). I was overreacting to minor triggers because I continued to under-communicate my actual needs, fears and concerns. Someone somewhere had convinced my subconscious that the only way to be successfully married was to put my husbands and children’s needs above my mental health, my need to be heard or my desire to be my husband’s partner in everything, household chores inclusive. On top of all my previous conditioning, I was also being severally warned that as a believer it was unconscionable of me to “scare” single believers away from marriage by saying it was hard or difficult or challenging. So I fell in line and hushed my mouth. Nobody cares anyway if I was exhausted. I needed to take a page from all the generations of faithful women before me and make my home a success even if I was killing myself in the process.

Besides, there was a huge part of me that still believed that my husband was not helping me because I did not deserve his help. When I see my friends whose husbands handle majority of the household chores or who split the responsibilities evenly between both spouses, I would tell myself that it was because they had succeeded where I failed. Maybe they paid enough attention during their courtship phase not to choose or marry a man who was not as equally capable and willing to take care of their home. I was the only one who cooked or cleaned during our courtship (his place was always a mess and he never had a meal prepared) and I’m still there today. Or maybe their husbands simply valued their financial contribution so highly that it was a no-brainer for household chores to fall into the husband’s territory. For someone who had been told point-blank by well-meaning elders that if I did not earn an adequate salary, I would be a ball and chain around my husband’s neck – my lack of wages was a huge source of shame for me in marriage. Maybe I didn’t deserve my husband’s help because I had not earned it.

In all of my preparation for marriage I have also been consciously or subconsciously indoctrinated with the believe that in order to be loved, I must be perfect. “Don’t do this or your husband might feel this,” “ don’t say that or you might damage your marriage.” I have imbibed all the lessons like a dutiful student because the result was supposed to be a perfect marriage where all of my needs are met and my husband feels like the luckiest man in the world. That has not materialized.

I love my husband more than any other human being on this earth. He is one of the kindest and most generous people I know. He is brilliant in an uncommon way and he loves with a purity I’ve never met in any other human being. Our marriage is affair-proof because I will go to actual jail (law license and all) if anyone ever disrespects our union. Even with all of his virtues, my husband makes a terrible god. Pinning all of my hopes and dreams for happiness on the man I love would be a fate worse than death for us. Considering the number of times we fail each other even in the tiny, insignificant things, my marriage would never survive if what holds it together is my husband’s ability to never let me down in any way shape or form. Being married to someone who is amazing in all the ways that matter but still so deeply flawed that it creates some level of disappointment in me as his spouse is a great reminder that he can’t be my purpose in life. Marriage is a vehicle to my God-ordained purpose but marriage itself is not my purpose on this earth. Marriage does not satisfy all the longings of my soul, all the emptiness in my feelings or all the desires of my heart. Marriage is not a reward for good behavior or abstinence. Just because you married in Christ does not mean your spouse becomes Jesus Christ, Jr. and your marriage will never have any difficulties or challenges. You do not have to be perfect to be married, stay married, or enjoy your marriage.

I thoroughly love being married to my husband but I’m learning that it is okay to admit that there are parts of my marriage that I would change if I had the power. Because I don’t have the ability to create my husband in the image I prefer, I have to rely on divine grace to do the things that are just too hard for my flesh or emotions. Like not keeping a record of how many times I’ve felt unloved because I was not help. Like giving him what he needs even when my needs feel ignored (because I have not spoken them out of fear or because he is not equipped to meet them). Marriage refines my character in a way that nothing else has done. There’s almost nowhere else that requires me to stop making myself the center of my own universe and consider something or someone else beyond my feelings, my needs, my wants and me me me. Marriage is hard because I’m constantly asked to prioritize another human being’s needs rather than just my own. And I’m doing this with no guarantees that my spouse is equally prioritizing my needs rather than just his own. When it feels like I’m doing all the work alone, I remind myself to talk to the man I married instead of living in my own head and creating the worst case scenarios. Whenever I work up courage to actually ask for what I need or verbalize what I feel, I’ve been met with grace, mercy and unconditional love.  My husband is not the source of these virtues but it always blesses me most when he’s the vessel that God uses to lavish them on me.


The Choice (A Short Story)

0B7ED23B-9600-48C4-BC0B-9D631D1B6C29.pngI don’t regret it. I don’t regret my marriage or our five children. I don’t regret the seven years of building our family. I met my husband when I was twenty-one. I was going to school part-time, trying to finish my degree without drowning in debt. I was working for a PR firm for peanuts and networking my way up. I couldn’t blame them for the lack of pay since I had no experience. My roles fluctuated from secretary to gopher (“go for coffee/go for snacks/ go for the dry-cleaning”) but every once in a while, the let me meet the clients as long as I stayed quiet and didn’t overstep my boundaries. If I had any ideas, I pitched them to my boss in private when she had time. She would decide if they were worth implementing or even running by the client. My paycheck covered a portion of my tuition but nothing else.

Thank God I lived with my parents or I would have drowned in debt trying to keep a roof over my own head. My parents had two kids, me and my older brother. My brother was  a professional student much like my dad. He was working his way though his second masters and a joint PhD program while i was in undergrad. College was always the plan for me. My parents hold multiple degrees. It wasn’t a question of if; it was only a question of where. I chose a community college with the plan to transfer to a four year state school with loads of college credit and a fraction of the debt. I was in my junior year and dangerously close to burn out when my husband Terrence and I met. We knew almost right away that we were headed for marriage. My parents loved him and his adored me. When he proposed three months later, I didnt even need to think it over.  His parents were excited, mine were cautiously optimistic.

They pressed me relentlessly.

”I hope you guys aren’t thinking about a wedding until after you finish your first degree and at least start your masters,” my father would interject randomly.

”Marriage and babies go hand in hand and once you have kids, your life is no longer your own,” my mom would add with a knowing look in my direction. “Your father and I were in love but we weren’t foolish about it. We had a plan and I had a career before we made the decision to start our family,” she repeated for the upteenth time.

Despite their best efforts, my husband I had our wedding during winter break of my junior year. The plan was to get an apartment close to campus that allowed me to stay in the school while my husband supported us. Imagine how our lives turned upside down when I got pregnant on our honeymoon.

It was our first time together and I guess we weren’t too concerned with the possibility of making babies, we were legally married after all. We found out on Christmas Day that we were about to be a family of three. We were so excited, it was hard to keep the news to ourselves. We waited until my first doctors appointment to tell our families. We got the surprise of our lives when my doctor told us we were expecting not ONE baby but twins! My life flashed before my eyes and I knew nothing would be same forever.

We told my in-laws but not my parents. Crummy thing to do but you had to know my parents. They weren’t the “we will love you no matter what you decide” type. They were the “do not embarrass or disappoint us or you will not live to tell the tale” type. To put it frankly, I was scared.

When the spring semester began, I was in the throas of round the clock nausea. I could barely get off the bed, sitting in class for hours at a time was out of the question but I tried. I emailed my professors almost daily asking for extensions or for them to email my assignments because I was too sick to attend class. I just needed to make it to midterms (and the end of my first trimester).

I squeezed by with low C’s in all my classes and was clear to finish my degree in just three remaining semesters. Things at home were tight. No matter how many hours my husband worked we couldn’t seem to get ahead. We needed a second income but for the sake of my health and the babies, I couldn’t work. I cancelled the cable, switched us to a cheaper cellular service provider, and got us some cut rate car insurance. Living on the bare necessities meant we had a couple of hundred dollars in between paychecks, so that’s what we did.

My husband’s parents bought almost everything on our baby registry. Our friends supplied our diaper stash and gave us gift cards and cash for the twins. We were okay. We were not rich by any stretch but the lump in my throat at the thought of bringing children into this world with no means to provide for them has shrank significantly. It felt like we had a solid village behind us and our kids would be okay.

When we finally told my parents about the twins, I also told them a huge lie – that I was graduating early but skipping commencement. They believed me and gave us early graduation gifts on top of the baby gifts. My mom was not even mad about not being in the loop. She was the queen of “keeping your business to yourself” and had assumed we hadn’t told anyone about our twins until later in our pregnancy. There was no harm in letting her believe so and the rest of our loved ones were sworn to secrecy not to let on that they knew about our twins before my second trimester. I was supposed to have the twins in early September and according to the timeline we gave my parents, graduate in December (rather than May of the following year). Instead my boys decided to come in August. Isaiah and Isaac were born on August 15th at 35 weeks. They were perfectly strong and healthy boys and we went home after a short stay in the hospital.

Our life changed immediately and drastically. My husband started working on his second degree, a grueling one year masters program that was mostly online but with a few projects on campus. I was juggling both babies while he studied for school and worked part time. We lived off financial aid and whatever income we could scrape together. Our friends were our backbone as went through that year. Isaiah and Isaac barely saw their dad their first year of life but it was all worth it when he graduated with honors and was immediately recruited by Bank of America’s IT Department. Our income more than doubled and life went from good to great. I figured I would go back to school once the boys were toddlers and pay for daycare only to find myself pregnant when the twins were ten months olds. This time with a girl. Much like the boys, my first trimester with Isabelle was rough. The boys did end up in daycare only because I couldn’t keep up with them and my round the clock nausea. Once I felt better in month four, they were back home with me. I started homeschooling them both at around fourteen months old and we’ve never stopped. By that time Isabelle was born, my husband had been promoted twice. We were now earning a comfortable six figure salary for our family of five. On Isabelle’s first birthday, I found out I was pregnant again. Eight months later we welcomed India Marie to our family. We were evenly split with two boys and two girls. The running joke was that we would have one more just to break the tie. After 4 kids in three years, I needed a break. I had gained thirty pounds on my once tiny frame. Thank God I had the height for it but I did not recognize my body. My once svelte frame has filled out with more curves than I had ever known in twenty-seven years of life.

With hardwork and discipline I was able to lose about fifteen pounds of the baby weight and the rest, I charged to the game. My husband liked my new curves. There was no reason to get rid of them. For the next three years, I focused on homeschooling our tribe and running our household as Terrence climbed the corporate ladder. When Isabelle was three, we finally started trying for our next baby. And without missing a beat, our son Israel was born a year later. Our family finally felt complete. Going back to school to finish my marketing degree was no longer on my radar. I had other passions to pursue and the kids kept me more than busy.

My friends from college were still very much a part of our lives. They were all climbing ladders and traveling the world. Some were in relationships or married but none of them had children yet. Either by choice or by circumstance, I did not press but it seemed they were making the most of their child-free existence. My best friend from freshman year was now a top A&R executive in Atlanta.  Her former roommate – a mutual acquaintance – was also voted one the fastest rising personality in financial literacy. All the women in my circle were at the top of their game and I was insanely proud of each of them.

My family and I had the income to live lavishly and be jet setters but in the early years of our marriage, Terrence and I had made a deal. Despite how high we intended to climb financially as a family, we would never neglect to give our children deep roots and keep them grounded. They did not need to feel rich more they needed to feel loved. So we increased our income without increasing our cost of living. We built our home and did not upgrade  it even after our income doubled again. We traveled in the summers but never to grandiose locations – Disney World, the Grand Canyon and Cancun were family favorites. Anything more expensive than that, we are saving for when the kids are grown enough to appreciate the cost and fund some of it themselves.

Out of the blue one day, Terrence took my hand and said, “the life I have wouldn’t be possible without you, Amber. You gave me the freedom to chase my dreams because I knew my home was secured with you by my side.”

I smiled and my heart sang. Mission accomplished. I dedicated my life to my husband’s vision and even if it cost me what some women would never sacrifice (education and career mobility, a sense of self entirely removed from attachment to ‘a man’ or some kids), I would make the choice all over again.

My mother never stops reminding me that “a woman ought to have her own.” I do have my own. Everything I helped my husband built is just as much mine as it is his. It is our money in every sense of the word. When acquaintances or well meaning loved ones try and tell me about this woman or that lady that sacrificed everything for her man only for him to leave her destitute when he moved on, I brushed it aside. I refuse to listen. I don’t care what anybody else’s husband does. This is my Terrence and I know just as sure as I know every birth mark on my children’s body that he will never turn his back on us.

I made my choice.



The annoyance I felt has built into anger. I really should just throw away the mountain of toys I have organized and reorganized for the tenth time today. Directing the children to clean up their mess only works for the first five minutes before they are back to playing and making a bigger mess. My day started at five in the morning. Three if you count waking up with my two year old who came searching me for me in the middle of the night. I am currently doing contract work for a partner corporation and my days go from ten to twelve hours depending on family obligations. When i walked in at almost seven this evening my house was a wreck. Toys, snack wrappers and clothing strewn everywhere.

The sight instantly brought on a mild anxiety attack. After almost fifteen years since my first apartment, I have learned that chaos and disorganization in any physical environment immediately bleeds into my brain, paralyzing my productivity and stealing my sanity. I despise a messy house. Cleaning for me is almost therapeutic. The finished product gives me a deep sense of satisfaction like nothing else even if the process is not always my idea of fun.

I took my shoes off, drop my purse on the couch and immediately began the cleanup process. After the living room looked livable again, I attacked the kitchen with vigor. Dirty dishes were enemies to be vanquished; food stains and crumbs were obliterated with an arsenal of brooms, mops and cleanser. Then it was time to make dinner. Nothing fancy – salmon and brown rice for my husband, pasta and sauce for the kids. After dinner, I washed the few dishes left and hurried the kids upstairs for baths and pajamas. My day officially ended when they fell asleep – a circus that typically winds down anywhere between 9:30 and 11:30 in the evening.

I am tired. I am tired of working 50 hour weeks outside my home only to turn around and work another 40 hours maintaining our household. I’m tired of not getting a break between roles to just sit and breathe and remember who I  am outside of wife and mother. I’m tired of killing myself trying to be everything my family can possibly need and having nothing left for myself. Mostly I am tired of not being helped. Who helps the helper? Who gives me “a night off” when the weight of the world is on my shoulders?

So far, no one.

Sometimes I watch my husband with a mix of envy and rage. How come he gets to sleep when he comes home from a 15 hour day and I don’t? Who dealt these cards anyway? Why do we live in a household of four people and I’m the only one who cleans? Again, who helps the helper? The rage climbs on and on as I can literally feel my blood boiling.

It’s not fair. He knows I need help and he won’t help me. My thoughts crash into one another and all I want to do is scream, cry or break something. I’m tired of being needed. I want a break.

“Babe, you’re doing a great job with the kids. i really appreciate all that you’ve done to make things run smoothly at home. I’m lucky to have you,” the man I love says casually as he wraps me in a hug.

And just like that, the rage dissipates. All I know is his arms around me and all of a sudden the world makes sense again. A few words of affirmation and my once rebellious heart is perfectly content.

It doesn’t take much. But it does take effort.