Together, whether we always like it or not

My brother and I met up for lunch yesterday afternoon. Rare, not because we hardly see each other, but because we were by ourselves. We see him often, but the kids adore their Uncle Toby so very much that I rarely see him when we’re visiting. He’s mostly off with the kids jumping on their beds, reading them books, playing dinosaurs or swinging them upside down.

So I was really looking forward to our lunch date. And it was wonderful. We talked, had a few margarita’s and hashed out details of a little project we’re working on. It was fabulous!

Then I came home.

I was enthusiastically greeted by the children, and when I asked my husband how he was, he just replied “I’m tired”. So I asked if he wanted to go take a nap, and off he went.

Then the children went crazy as I peeled a gazillion potatoes for soup, got dinner together for Paige (who apparently is now a bottomless pit and must be fed constantly), and tried to get Fynn to poop on the potty and not the floor. The husband came out at one point to help, only to get Paige worked up as he went back in to the bedroom and closed the door.

I wasn’t all that pleasant to anyone at that point. Here I was, just coming in from a fantastic afternoon, only to be overwhelmed with the reality of home. Where it seems every time I do something by myself, I come home only to realize that it might have been easier to stay home. I was mad at Lucas for not being able to handle the kids without being tired and cranky, because I do that all day during the week. I even packed the diaper bag for them before I left since he was taking them to the park. All he had to do was tell me if he wanted to take cereal or goldfish for a snack. He had it so easy.

So I banged pots and pans around the kitchen while cooking, might have spoken a little harshly to the children, and vowed to not make the delicious pear cobbler I had planned on whipping up that night.

Then the kids were eating, I finished peeling potatoes, and I calmed down. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. Really. He actually took both kids to the park, by himself, on gorgeous Sunday afternoon. The kids had fun, they were all in one piece, and I had a great afternoon out as an adult.

And really, how many times a week do I call my husband at work begging him to let me send the kids to military school? Probably a dozen. How many times do I tell him I’m exhausted? Probably a hundred. And he still comes home, most nights to chaos. With barely any time for himself. Scarfs down dinner, plays with the kids, and then tucks one into bed and walks the other to sleep. So I can have some quiet time.

After the kids went to bed I sat down and started wishing I had made that pear cobbler. I wasn’t punishing Lucas by not making the pear cobbler, he probably could have cared less (although… who are we kidding… you all know my husbands love of dessert!). I was only punishing myself. I was so mad at myself. For feeling like he couldn’t do anything right, for thinking I was the only one who could make this house run the way it should, for thinking everything should be perfect. It’s not. We’re not. We’re far from it.

We both face challenges in our days, challenges in parenting, challenges as a couple and as individuals. But the real challenge is staying connected, being a unit, and appreciating each other. Sometimes I don’t feel appreciated, I’m sure the same goes for him. But we’re in this together. Banging pots and pans and slamming doors aside, we’re a pretty good team. We just need a little help keeping that in mind.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Together, whether we always like it or not

  1. liz

    it is all so very true. especially the part about recognizing that parenting is a challenge and that it is ok for it to be a challenge as long as the adults can remember to be a team…i face those same dilemmas constantly. the wanting to go out and do something as just me and then the coming home to a mess, in whatever form that takes on, and wishing i had never gone out. *sigh* and i have been known to do the punishment thing, too–only to be the one feeling rotten afterword.
    at least we aren’t in this alone! ­čśë

  2. This post hit pretty close to home for me! The real challenge truly is staying connected, and that’s something I think everyone needs to work on.

  3. I could have written this, lady. I SO get it. Thank you for your honesty, the way it made me feel normal for all the banging and appreciating at the same time…

  4. Oh been there, many times.
    And it is okay. As long as we keep getting to the other side.
    I so admire you for telling us your hard truth.

  5. I’m gonna say out loud what I’ve said to no one since our little experiment with public school started this fall: now that they are in school for 7.5 hours a day, and I have long stretches of time to myself, and can work and clean and take walks and just be by myself to listen to my own head, I am a much, much better parent. I was able to accept that my share of kid duty was always going to be significantly larger than my spouses, whether or not I’m working full-time (which I am now). The trade-off, of course, is the constant guilt of not having them home, of seeing dark circles under their eyes because of tiredness. My point is, none of this is easy, raising kids is wonderful and meaningful but it really is a kind of ordeal and our bodies and brains can’t really tell the difference between good stress and bad stress. Fight or flight. So. We stay connected by not giving in to the urge to buy a TV (after 5 years without), not defaulting to computer after dinner, asking lots of questions of each other. But it’s not easy. I look at every mother with grown kids as a hero who has earned her cape and tights.

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