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Am I Really the World's Worst Wife?

Photograph by Twenty20

Almost every day I wonder if I'm actually the world's worst wife.

It's hard to know if you're doing a good "job" as a wife, so I find myself flipping through in my mind of what the image of a stereotypical, 1950's "good wife" might look like.

Would it look like a woman who keeps a clean and comfy home? A wife who greats her spouse with a smile and a kiss when she walks in the door? A woman who is a real team player and can whip up a candle-lit dinner after she puts the kids to bed early to, you know, set the scene? What about a wife who embraces juggling house and home and kids and doing her nails and horror of horrors, her hair?

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And who would I score on that wife scale? I'm pretty sure I'd get a big, fat zero on almost every front. I'm definitely the worst.

No, seriously. I am.

You want to hear the truth? If we were keeping score, my husband would actually probably qualify as a better wife than me. The man cooks and cleans and gets up at night with the kids and in comparison, I kind of look like a shitty wife.

I'm always crazy tired and I barely greet him with so much as a nod when he gets home from work most days. And I honest-to-goodness can't remember the last time I did my hair in anything other than my infamous bun. I swear he has more patience with our herd of four young kids than I do and I've sworn off bath time as long as he's willing to tackle it.

From now on, I'm wearing my World's Worst Wife label with pride.

I often work myself into a frenzy beating myself up for not being a "good" wife, especially since I have an especially awesome partner. Even though logically and rationally, I know that I bring a lot to the table as a wife and more importantly, as a team player in our partnership, I can still get sucked into thinking that I need to be better and do more and be more, simply because my husband is one of the good ones.

I feel like when it comes to marriage, so many people tend to expect the woman to have it all together at all times and that if she manages to snag a partner who helps her in any capacity, whether that be managing his own offspring, cooking, cleaning or (gasp!) scheduling a kid's dentist appointment, she's expected to feel eternally grateful and lucky that the heavens have granted her such an enormous gift.

It's unfair and illogical, but true.

And I'm over it.

From now on, I'm wearing my World's Worst Wife label with pride.

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If I'm able to realize the things that I'm good at (making money, managing our finances, organizing our house and our lives, keeping track of the kids' schedules and needs) and let go of the things I'm not good at (cooking, mowing the lawn, home repairs), I can also learn to embrace the kind of wife I am and the kind of wife our marriage needs—which is frankly, all that matters.

Our marriage can't fit into a neat and tidy outdated box and there's no point in measuring myself against some set of ridiculous standards that I've been conditioned to think make up a good wife.

I'm just an imperfect wife married to an imperfect husband and together, we have an imperfect marriage and family. There's no one judging me or my marriage but myself. So it's time I let myself off the hook. Marriage, parenting, life—it's all hard and whether or not I can cook, clean, or make a better pancake than my husband won't change that.

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