Love Isn’t 50/50

1824 1824_ () 1824 1824 Weekly column
Paul and our three oldest boys recently spent the weekend on an epic Boy Scout camping adventure that included our oldest participating in a seven-mile hike and all of my men-folk having a grand adventure in the great outdoors.

When they returned home Sunday afternoon, my guys were covered in the grime that only rustic outdoor living can provide. Once-white socks were grayish-black; pant legs were damp to the knees; and nearly every single item from the trip now needed to be washed.

Within twenty-minutes of the outdoorsmen arriving home, my laundry room looked like an outpost along the Appalachian Trail. The boys put away what they could, but everything else needed laundering.

Monday morning, when Paul went back to work and the boys were at school, I took a deep breath and walked into the laundry room. I had left it a mess the night before, too tired to contemplate this task.

As I stared at that pile of laundry, I calculated the number of dirty socks and underwear and sleeping bags. I then divided that number by my love for my husband and boys, hoping the love part would energize me to tackle the mess from their very fine adventure.

But the math didn’t quite add up.

“What gives,” I thought with a sigh. “Shouldn’t my great love for my guys, my joy at the good time they had – well that should make spending the entire rest of the day doing laundry fun, right?”

But of course, it did not.

That day was hard and long and it wasn’t until well after the boys had gone to bed that the last load of camping laundry was finally done. My pregnant girth didn’t speed up the process, but eventually I was victorious.

Just because you love your vocation, I remembered that day, doesn’t mean it is always easy.

Most days I have a nice little groove in my universe that is the Family Balducci. I am relieved to find that certain tasks (cleaning the house, doing humane amounts of laundry) are enjoyable. And over the years I am learning to make the more challenging tasks (cooking, corralling the resident toddler) more manageable. I find little tricks of the trade to get the job done and even find a lot of joy in the process.

But then there are those days when the simple tasks of domestic life seem nearly insurmountable. There are moments when being a member of this little church feels less like a vocation and more like work and I wonder why it all feels so hard.

Some days, that’s just how it is.

That day, my love for my husband and boys didn’t make the task easier – but it did encourage me not to count the cost. That love also gave me the strength not to act like a total brat (I didn’t declare that since they were the ones off camping in all this dirt that they should be the ones to clean the mess.).

Love is not fifty-fifty. If I were keeping track, I would certainly not always be the one giving “more.”

So many evenings Paul walks in the door to be greeted by a kiss from me, a few minutes to change out of his suit – and then a request, a need for his assistance as a math tutor or guidance counselor or front-room wrestler extraordinaire. How easy it might be for him to sigh or roll his eyes and maybe even explain that he was gone all day making money for our family and it was his turn to relax.

But he doesn’t. He is here to serve.

And so am I.

That day, I stared down the laundry pile and told it I would conquer. It might take me all day (it did) and I might move slow (I did). But I won. Victory was mine and it tasted very sweet indeed. 1824″ ?



  1. Beautiful! Just what I needed to hear, but then again, you always seem to be able to do that for me 🙂

  2. Ecce Quam Bonam says

    Really good article, Rach. There's hardly a more important or basic ingredient to happy family life, and it also is one of the easiest to forget. You make it so vivid and accessible.

  3. You always write what I need to hear.

  4. you are a gifted and blessed girl -*sniff*

  5. Cay Gibson says

    Just what I needed to hear today, Rachel. Thankyou!

  6. Thank you so much. I needed this after I didn't handle a recovery from a surgery my husband had this week so well.

  7. Lovely post. Thank you for the gentle reminder of what love is and how to show it.

  8. That is exactly what I needed to hear and pretty much opposite of what the world tells moms and wives! Thank you you're a blessing to all of us moms! Course I've said that before!