Love Don’t Cost a Thing


I’m a pretty low maintenance spouse. Ask my husband.

I don’t ask for a lot, because we’ve never had a ton of extra money to do elaborate presents. We were poor thrifty when we were dating, and we’ve gotten used to spending what we have on the kids or on trips (translation: not on each other). Christmas presents are things like a fabulous new set of tires or a snazzy bathroom renovation. In fact, the one Christmas when my husband did buy me jewelry, I saw it on our credit card bill and tried to report it as identity theft. True story.

I realize it’s a tough act to follow.

Just kidding, y’all. I know that we probably sound super lame.

Some of you might be thinking, “OMG, that is awful,” but the thing is that my husband knows what matters to me – and that is the stuff that doesn’t cost a thing.

These are some great ways my husband shows me he loves me:

It’s slipping a $20 and a sweet note in my wallet (…because I never EVER have cash).

husband showing his love
Real Housewives of Memphis, call me. $$

It’s cooking dinner (…because there are days when I. JUST. CAN’T. EVEN. after a day homeschooling/working.)

It’s telling my kids things like, “you know, I love your mama so much” (…because he knows they’re learning about marriage by watching us). 

It’s getting up at 4:30 am to have coffee with me (…because we can actually talk uninterrupted. Most of the time.)

It’s refilling the coffee maker (…because I always forget, yet get annoyed when it’s empty).

free showing of love
A+ for creativity.

This year, for our anniversary, he covered my office doors with a TON of kind little notes. Months later, I still can’t bring myself to take them down, because they make me smile.

They’re goofy.

They’re thoughtful.

They’re much-needed affirmations that I am doing an OK job at this wife and mama thing.

A bad day at work can’t even begin to make me feel like a Loser when I’ve got a Personal Pep Rally hanging on my door. 

love notes from husband
My personal Pep Rally faves.

Last year, we tried something new: For the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, my husband and I posted a daily note on each of our kids’ doors stating one very specific reason why we love them.

You know what? It’s a year later, and the notes are still there.

They are daily reminders of why they are so special. Reminders of how they are uniquely different and very much loved. Kids need that. Mamas need that, too. (Especially on those days when we think our kids are plotting to make us crazy.) The notes remind us that they are indeed wonderful blessings – even if they are acting like maniacs.

I pinky promise it works.

The really funny thing about it all is that my kids have caught on to it big time. They have started leaving kind little notes all around for us. And OH. MY. GOSH. I love it so much. For the record, I will save these sweet treasures for the teenage years, to remind myself that they once thought I was cool and nice and a generally acceptable human. 

love letter from children

Though I’m confident that I’d be a pretty incredible millionaire, that’s probably not in our future (womp womp). But as long as we have some markers, leftover construction paper, and a little bit of creativity, I think we’ll be just as rich.


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Jeanie is a perfectly imperfect mama, transplanted to Cordova fresh out of graduate school. She and her husband, Matt, had no intent on making Memphis “home” – but ten years later, they’re still here (and love it!). They have three saucy gingers, along with three “fur babies”. Between homeschooling and chairing graduate Psychology departments online, life is never boring in the Whinghter house. It’s no surprise that Jeanie fancies coffee, but she also loves bargain shopping and embarrassing her children with her questionable singing/dancing skills. She’s had more #PinterestFails that she can count and has perfected the art of giving a good pep talk (watch out, puberty!). Motherhood has slowly transformed her into the “uncool” Mom she thought she’d never be, yet she’s never felt cooler or more content with her life.