I see it every season: Your wife, bombarding the doors searching for the best deals.
She lines up super early.
She races through the door at breakneck speed.
She scavenges through racks & racks of clothing.
She sorts through piles & bins & tubs of toys searching for just the right thing.
She crams her bags & stroller & wagon full of loot. She drags a laundry basket around with a belt tied to it to use as a handle for maximum speed & agility.
She searches title after title of books & movies & games.
It’s a rush, for sure.
I know you are home with the kids.
I know you’re possibly hoping they go to bed early or don’t cry or don’t fight. I know you wish your wife had taken them with her. I know you worked all day & now, when it’s time to relax, real-life is breathing down your neck. All so your wife can shop, right??
Sounds unfair, for sure.
I know she shops for 3 or 4 or 5 hours…maybe even more.
I know you had to navigate through school pick-up & dinner duty & bedtime routine. I know she is gone for hours. I know.
I also know this:
She bombarded the doors because she has spent her “free time” making a list. Not a list of frivolity. A list of needs.
Who needs pajamas? Who needs a new coat? Who needs winter boots & summer sandals & ski bibs & a bathing suit? Who outgrew all their pants since the last sale? Who lost their lunchbox or their winter gloves or their favorite blanket?
I’ll tell you who knows.
She scavenges through racks & racks of clothing because she loves her kids, YOUR kids, & she wants them to feel special. She loves to see them smile when they look nice. She wants them to fit in & feel accepted.
She sorts through piles & bins & tubs of toys because her children, YOUR children, will have birthdays & Christmas & Easter baskets that she will want them to remember & love & enjoy.
She crams her bags & stroller & wagon full of loot & she drags a laundry basket around with a belt tied to it to use as a handle for maximum speed & agility & you know what? She gets a backache from it & her feet hurt & her shoulders ache. But she loves her kids, YOUR kids, and she wants to make the best use of her time away.
She searches title after title of books & movies & games because she knows what her children’s, YOUR children’s, favorites are.
She knows what they mentioned while walking through Walmart. She knows what they pointed at in Target. She knows what they saw a friend wear or a commercial advertise or, even more, what they just love deep down inside intrinsically.
Do you know what else she knows?
She knows you are home with the kids. She knows you’re possibly hoping they go to bed early or don’t cry or don’t fight. She knows you wish she had taken them with her. She knows you worked all day & now, when it’s time to relax, real-life is breathing down your neck. All so she can shop, right?
She knows it seems unfair.
But, here’s what else I know:
I know she walks around using her phone as a calculator, adding up each & every item.
I know spends hours of her shopping time sorting & re-sorting & prioritizing.
I know passes by things she would love to stop & look at.
I know she only gives a quick glance at things that interest her: Books by her favorite authors…beautiful purses…shoes in her size & styles she loves.
She skips the home decor section all together.
Maybe you aren’t even aware that we have those things because she never brings them home.
I know that this, this shopping, is an act of love. It is a priority because her family is a priority. Her children are a priority. And her love for you is a priority: for the hours you work & the money you earn & the time you invest in her kids, YOUR kids.
I know she comes with a budget.
I know she spends lots of her time answering your phone calls about what is for dinner & when she will be home.
I also know she shows up at my checkout table stressed & concerned that has grossly miscalculated. She watches me ring each item & her eyes go immediately to the total when I hand her the receipt.
Do you know what else I know?
Sometimes, she literally looks afraid to even go home because she knows you will be mad because she has been gone so long or she spent too much.
It’s an uncomfortable moment for us both because what I also know is that she’s doing her best to be a good mother & a good wife, all while being a wise steward of the funds her family has.
Consider this: Maybe next time she heads out to hit up her favorite consignment sale, maybe you could thank her & tell her that you appreciate her taking the time to do something so important for your family; maybe you could load the bags & stroller & the wagon for her; maybe you could offer her some extra cash so she could pick up a purse she loves or a new outfit or something she might see to make your home look more decorative.
And maybe you could unload it all when she gets back, without any complaint about the behavior of the kids, YOUR kids, or the amount she spent.
Maybe she might just buy a new book & maybe it won’t mean much to you.
I can guarantee, though, it will mean everything to her.
And so there is that…