Sunday, March 13, 2011

Walk The Line (revised)


Lately I've been feeling like I haven't been the best communicator, and with a toddler and a baby, that can put a lot of unnecessary strain on the people around me: the people I love the most and for whom I'd do anything.  So why do I sometimes seem to command rather than ask, to direct rather than work alongside, to dictate rather than discuss?  Why am I setting myself up to seem bossy, bitchy, nagging, nit-picky?  When I want to make a conscious effort to avoid these behaviors, they still seem to sneak back into my repertoire.  How do I get everything that needs to get done, in the way that I want it, without coming across as less than my real self?  My easy-going, happy, fun-loving self, that sometimes gets muddled up in motherhood.  Why can't I be both a mother and myself?

I know it's all in the way I say something. Tone can be the difference between bitching and venting.  Tone can morph asking into telling, even with a "please" thrown in there for good measure.  The problem is when I'm just too tired and want things done a certain way, I don't take a minute to measure my tone.  There's a fine line there that sometimes I blur in my rush to get things done.  I know which way works best because I've tried every other way and through process of elimination, know this is what is easiest/most effective/produces less resistance.  So why can't I just communicate that? 

Lately I've been making a more conscious effort to be less bossy, which is one of my New Year's Resolutions.  But I think I'm doing a sucky job at it.  And I wonder why Jax is bossy; look at me!  No wonder he's always directing his friends and telling them where to go, where to put things, how to do it.  Gee, I wonder where he gets that from?  I'm struggling with realizing that just because things don't get done my way doesn't mean they weren't done well.  They were just done differently.  And yes, I count their toys and puzzle pieces every time they go back to their homes so that I don't lose one little piece.  But the result of that is there is only one toy, after 26 months, that doesn't have every piece it came with, and I blame that on post-Christmas chaos.  It drives me crazy every day that Turner isn't in Handy Manny's toolbox; you know the first time I see one I'm going to buy it just so we have a complete set.  Is this normal?  Am I psychotic?  Probably yes to both.  But, have we had to buy fewer toys and puzzles for Em because Jax's are all still intact and in good shape?  Yes to that, too.  Pros and cons to my psychosis.  It's a fine, albeit crazy, line I walk, but I do it out of love.  Because you're mine, I walk the line...

I desperately want to avoid becoming that nagging wife that JDubbs doesn't want to come home to.  That he has one more drink before coming home because he would rather be there than here.  That he doesn't feel like his voice as a parent is being heard because I'm too opinionated (okay, bitchy, bossy) and drown him out.  As much as he reassures me, I know I need to make a better effort.  I wonder how it goes with other parents.  We have to walk this line because we love our kids and want what's best for them--a clean, organized home where they know what to expect and have fun.  But I think what is also best for them is to have two parents who share the role of parenting, possibly in very different ways, but who both get a say in how their kids are raised and how to build their home.  Not just one way, with one parenting contemplating suffocating the other in her sleep just to get a word in edgewise.  I know I'm a good mom, but maybe I need to share the credit a little sometimes.  God knows when I put them to bed alone or when I have fed them by myself for the fifth meal in a row that I appreciate how much I need help.  If I communicated that a bit more, a bit more often, I think nothing but good could come of it.

This is the second time I have written this post, and it needed to be rewritten.  The first time I was emotional, defensive, overstepping and oversharing.  It wasn't about me; I was abusing this space.  This space is for me but it's about life as a mom and as a family and sometimes just myself.  Not a place to bitch.  Maybe just to vent every now and then.  Reflecting on this writing process has helped me appreciate that I really have nothing to complain about, and so much to celebrate.  Maybe I can communicate that a little more, and work hard to walk the line with a little more grace and a little less grumbling.


Tanya (a Taste of T) said...

Oh dont worry so much my dear. We all have stuff that piles up, emotions, words and unless they're addressed they just keep on piling up. I'm sure JDubbs loves coming home to you.

Yesterday, I found myself nagging the hubs to pick up some clothes by the bed. Sure my prego belly makes it harder these days to pick it up but really, its not that big a deal to me. I dont even know why i said it. Just the words coming out of my mouth sounded wrong. And when I was laying there before bed I thought, if I could do one thing or two things or anything and everything to make just tomorrow a great day for my husband I will. If that means, picking up his clothes, I'll do it. If that means thanking him for working so hard for our family, absolutely its done. Because I think giving is contagious.

wow that was a weird emotional pregnant rant...wasn't it?
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Tricia and Emmett said...

Ok.. so you know I am going to have a phone conversation with you about this one. Mostly because I am not that good of a writer and second I have too much to say! I think overall you need to RELAX!! I mean this in several ways, relax about how hard you are on yourself, relax if things aren't done the same way every time and relax if things are perfect... you have two kids under 3 and life is not supposed to be perfect. No ones life is perfect! I have been lucky enough to be on both ends of the parenting thing (ha ha lucky) working and at home.... so although it is only my experience that I can speak to I think it has helped to put things into perspective of when I am on the other side... so lets chat... but most of all complete meltdowns are normal and OK you are human don't forget :)

Alicia Stucky said...

Holy crap you sound like me! I love that your writing is so honest. (this is probably going to be long, but I have to say this because I so can relate to this right now…)

Spencer and I haven’t been married for long, but because we have so much responsibility on our plate, sometimes it feels like we’re changing more quickly than we can even keep up with. Only just a few years ago, we were so hopelessly optimistic about life that even with our life together being new and chaotic and kind of messy, we were just happy to be living on love. Now that our life has come together so neatly and we have all of the stability and calm we lacked back then, we’re constantly catching ourselves doing things we swore we’d never do. I’m nagging about needing help -- something I swore I’d never do if he were ever able to find a job that could afford me the impossible “luxury” of becoming a sahm. And even though he knows all too well what it feels like to be unemployed, the company he was finally happily working for was bought out by a new one that’s running it into the ground -- and he comes home every day complaining. It’s kind of scary.

Sometimes I can’t believe I’m handing the baby off to him after he’s worked a fourteen hour day -- but if he doesn’t want to change her diaper right away, I can’t help getting on his case. I think we mommas just put so much passion into trying to be the best at what we do (homemaking, childrearing, etc.) that it’s difficult to just shut that off at the end of the day because our husbands came home. It would be like if I came to my husband’s work yard to relax at the end of MY day - I’d get in the way and mess things up and I wouldn’t want to be bothered with doing things by the rules, because it’d be my time to kick back. It’s a complicated dynamic sometimes. Any kind of a resolution is going to be a work in progress for a while anyway, so don’t beat yourself up if you suck at it at first J The fact that you care enough to evaluate what you can do to make it easier shows that you’re doing an amazing job.

Tammy said...

Oh Bones, virtual big sister hug coming to you. I hear "that tone" coming out of my mouth way more often than I'd like to admit and I HATE IT. I know Ryan does too. It's a daily challenge. Know that you're doing great things and your kids are benefiting greatly from your time and projects with them at home. I know it's probably so hard to run the house all day and then step back to allow room for JDubbs to share, but your awareness is the first step. I have full loving faith in you.

Becky said...

Thanks, ladies. I appreciate your insight and support. Sometimes I girl just needs to get it off her chest ;)