I am a big fan of taking care of your spouse. No, I don’t say that to mean it is your job to wait on him hand and foot. I am a fan of living with intentional purpose to love, nurture, and prioritize the relationship you are in. But, when it comes down to it, you are the one responsible for yourself. And, as I discovered this morning, hitting the pause button before you blow up held the key to it all. This self-awareness can actually help to create more peace in your relationship and life. Let me tell you a little about the revelation that took place…
It was an awkward wake up… Not the normal kind, where we get up before the kids, have coffee, and connect before tackling the day. No, this was the kind of morning where you are dead asleep and your face is so smashed into your pillow, that the imprint from the creases of the pillowcase are getting deeper and deeper by the minute. This was the kind of morning, that crawling back into the cozy cocoon called bed, was my deepest desire.
But… The baby was screaming with what turned out to be a huge poopy diaper. Which woke the puppy who needed to be let outside to take care of business. All of sudden, my alone time had been compromised, and I was instantly turned into “mom on duty”. I am a decent morning person, but I REALLY enjoy having time to myself before the “mom on duty” button has been pressed and I am at the disposal of everyone who needs me. Don’t get me wrong, I love my role as mom and wife! But our job is just that… tending to the care of helping our family be a success. It is a super important and vital role. But it is intense and can be draining if you don’t properly take care of the mama at the wheel. For me, I know that I am more successful and at my best, if I have organization and routine. And part of that routine is having a little time to myself. Whether I’m working out or doing my bible study… Just give me a few. (Don’t worry, I can be spontaneous and flexible too!)
So I’ve painted the picture. Now, let me get to the point.
I’m making breakfast and packing lunches, and my husband mentions that he was planning on grabbing a beer after work with one of his buddies. I instantly cringe. I think to myself “it’s not fair that he gets to do that!”
Okay. Stop right there. What?! I am literally acting like my 6 year old. It’s not fair? Really?
Fortunately, for both of us, I didn’t get mad at him or spout off something that I would later regret. I actually had the wisdom to keep my mouth shut and wish him a good day and send him off with a kiss. (Having that good wisdom does not always happen by the way…)
After he left, I began to process what my deal was. Was I mad at him because he didn’t ask me? Does he need to ask me? Usually he runs things past me… And he didn’t. He just sort of said it was happening. Is that why I am bugged? Hmmm. Maybe. Because I am home all day today with a toddler and a puppy. A puppy you surprised me with. A puppy that I fell in love with and I said we could keep…
Keep in mind… Regardless of how we ended up with this puppy, it is essentially like having a toddler. So I am home with twins! Twin toddlers! (FYI, I have a dear friend who actually has twin toddlers along with another set of 7 year old twins – in which she home-schools, and I have no idea how that woman balances it all. She is AMAZING).
But back to me! I have a killer day planned, that includes swim lessons for my daughter, picking up my son from school, hitting the library and the grocery store. It is going be awesome! But, I will admit that I look forward to my husband coming home! I look forward to connecting with him, having a legitimate conversation, and, yes… there is a part of me that appreciates the extra set of hands after a full day.
And then I get it. I’m not mad at him for wanting that… I’m disappointed because I want to do what he’s doing! Woah. Wait. Check yourself Cairi… So you are jealous of your husband… and your intention was to get mad at and take it out at him or tell him he couldn’t go?! Okay, so yeah… I think it is time to take a deep breath and BREATH.
Taking care of you is up to you. I realized that this was not about him at all. It is about what I needed… My insides were crying out for help! If I am this sensitive and this irrational to my husband’s statement of grabbing a beer after work, then it’s up to me to do something about it.
So, I threw out a life line and called a friend! If I am feeling jealous, it’s not his problem! It is my problem. It is up to me to reach out and connect with my girlfriends. I texted a friend and asked if she had any time in her day to connect. We met up in the late afternoon and it was so cool to talk to A) a woman B) an adult C) someone who loves me for me D) can take me in whatever shape I’m in… With a kid, with a puppy, with a mood, whatever.
I learned today, the 1 thing that is so important is this: Make sure you are hitting the pause button before you blow up. Today I realized that it is not the other person’s fault. You can take accountability for your feelings and figure it out. When something makes you cringe… Double check YOURSELF and determine if this is something that you might actually need to address with yourself.
Taking the initiative to deal with this situation appropriately… Set me up to have a great day and rest of the night. I wasn’t resentful toward my husband for “leaving me home with the kids”. I was thankful he got to connect with his friend and I got to connect with mine. Instead of bottling up my emotions, which would have for sure lead to a later argument, we instead enjoyed each other’s company when he got home. It was so much more fruitful than it would have been if I had been stewing on that all day.
We are women. We are moms. We are strong, capable and we work damn hard. But it’s not always our husband’s fault when they don’t meet our needs. It can be ourselves not meeting our own expectations. So, before you jump down his throat, give him a break. Hit the pause button and take a minute to investigate what your feelings are really about. You might be surprised at how you can handle it.