Sometimes I try so hard to control everything that after a while I explode in a ball of rage. I don’t want to “be a nag” to my husband. So, when I have too much to do, I try to get it done and then get mad at everyone when I don’t succeed. Sounds very healthy, yes?
On a Thursday afternoon I had way too much to do and not enough time to do it. Toys lay scattered all over the family room floor. Crossing the room was like navigating a minefield. Three loads of laundry sat stuffed in baskets waiting to be folded. Every time I sat down to work on my laptop, my son would crawl onto my lap wanting to nurse or my daughter would call me over to help her with something on her homework.
When my husband came home, I was overjoyed. My son was in a horrible mood. He wanted me to carry him non-stop and everytime I put him down, he would burst into tears. My body ached from having him on my hip all day. I tried to hand him off to my hubby, but he wouldn’t go. He grabbed at my hair with his toddler hands and buried his face into my shoulder. So, my husband went to spend time with our daughter instead, leaving me in the kitchen.
Dinner. I looked at the sink and it was full of dishes. My husband and I have an agreement that I cook, he cleans. And the sink was full of dishes. No problem, I thought, I can wash these quickly, and then start dinner.
The piano music started to echo from the other room. My hubby and daughter sat down to practice a duet piece for her next recital. I heard them laughing over a silly remark. I set my son down on the floor so that I could clean the dishes. He clutched onto my leg and started to wail. Well… screech.
Laughing continued from the piano room. My son continued his high pitch cry.
I lost it.
“STOP IT!!” I yelled at my two-year-old. “JUST STOP IT! STOP THIS CRYING!”
He stopped. He looked at me with his eyes open wide. Then, his little bottom lip started to quiver. Tears collected in my eyes as well.
“I’m sorry,” I told him as I picked him up. “I’m so sorry. You are just driving me crazy with all the whining.” My husband then came in, right on cue, to take Dude while I fixed dinner. Dude screamed and wailed when he went into the other room with his daddy. I was both grateful to have the freedom to walk around the kitchen unencumbered and yet felt incredibly guilty at losing my cool. My six-year-old poked her head in the kitchen. I later overheard her mention to my husband, “I don’t like it when mommy gets stressed.”
I realize that I try to take on way too much responsibility. I assume that I am the only one who is willing to do anything in the house. I don’t ask for help. I don’t remind my family about a chore they forgot. I feel like I have to do it all.
I am now coming to realize that my husband, my daughter and to some extent my son are just as responsible for the state of our house and for our family as I am.
My mini meltdown made me realize how much I assume responsibility for. How much, growing up, I saw my mom assume responsibility for. If there are toys everywhere in the family room, I am not solely to blame. If the laundry is not folded, it is not a failure of mine. It is not a failure of any family member. I can can ask for help. I can remind. I will nag if I have to.
And, sometimes, I need to accept, that things will not get done. I need to just let it go.