Maybe it is the state in which I enter this challenge but this was another task I felt I failed.
This morning I resolved myself to find an opportunity outside of the norm for me to show a random act of kindness to my DH but every action upon reflection felt less about being kind and more of a necessity.
First I woke up early in the hopes of making the morning runaround less stressful for DH. Looking back, I probably did that more for myself than for my husband. It seems to me that when he’s running around like a chicken with his head cut off, searching for things and running late, it’s me who gets upset and stressed. He always tells me that things work out in the end so he doesn’t stress out but it sure looks to me like he is stressed. Sometimes I think he wills himself into thinking he isn’t stressed during these moments just like he wills himself into believing he doesn’t need 6-8 hours of sleep like the rest of us.
Then I offered to walk the dog in the morning to which he responded, “Well she went out at 3am but I won’t pass you up on the offer.” At first I was taken aback by his response but then reminded myself I’m not looking for a response to my act. It needed to be genuine without an expectation. I thought I’d have my act of kindness but then upon reflection I think I did it just so DH would make it to church on time and unhurried. Again, maybe a very selfish motive as I seem to be the one that gets upset when he’s running late and he is not.
Finally, after mass, even though I was exhausted I allowed DH to sleep the afternoon away. I knew he’d been up all night surfing the web like he has been every night the last few weeks and based on his lectorship this morning, he wasn’t in peak condition. I was very tired and could have used a little break from housework and caring for the baby but felt one of us had to allow the other to rest. Is that a random act of kindness or just survival?
I really felt selfish in this exercise. I felt how can I offer a random act of kindness when I do so much already. I’m not asking for accolades but this exercise really brought up some hurt inside. I feel I do so much and not to discredit his contribution but I’m the one sacrificing my desire to stay at home and raise our child so my husband is happier. I’m the one that is working. I’m the one who keeps tabs of the household chores and shopping. I’m the one researching and bargain hunting to save money. I’m the one coordinating and planning meals. I’m the one in between feeding our child is cooking meals, cleaning the kitchen and putting away leftovers. I’m the one who wakes up at 3am to pump and prep the kitchen and dishwasher for the next day. I’m the one thinking up new ways to entertain and educate our child. I don’t take the easy way and stick her in the swing in front of the tv or feed her while she’s on the bouncy seat instead of in my arms or plop her on the Boppy while I surf the computer.
How can I do a random act of kindness when my entire day feels like a giant act of kindness for my family? Then I felt guilty as if expressing this makes me into a martyr or someone looking for a pat on the back. I do the things I do because I love my family and my husband and they need to be done. I do them because they need to be done. I’m not asking for some big parade celebrating what I do but gosh darn it, this exercise really ticked me off.
By 10pm, I was exhausted from the day. My arms felt heavy. My back ached and my left breast began feeling as if a clogged duct was forming. The entire day was almost done and I spent it recovering from bumps and collisions from my husband accidently pushing or sitting on me numerous times. I ached all over and felt like an object being tossed about. BG didn’t have a very good afternoon nap and was pretty exhausted and fussy. She finally fell asleep on my shoulder as I sang to her but woke up 45 minutes later in need of another soothing session. I asked DH to please try to soothe her while I took a 20 minute break. I know it is hard for him as he has expressed that he feels that my breasts are a natural soother. I told him that I try not to use my breasts to soothe her and that I use different means if she’s not hungry to help settle her. He sees that I do. I sing to her. I dance with her. I rub her back. I cuddle with her. I talk to her. Still I think my boobs have some magical properties. I guess boobs are magical. Ha.
Still for my baby’s welfare, I needed a break to regain my sanity and strength. I promptly passed out and woke up an hour later to help DH find some information his cousin was looking for. I woke up cranky. I realized that a simple act of random kindness was not an easy assignment for me and I’m only on the second exercise and I feel like crap. Of course, once I finished looking up numbers for my husband’s family, I realized I had to put away the leftovers, pack the dishwasher and set up my pump for the late night pumping session. Meanwhile, the entire day was done and all I had to show for it was a growing pain on my left breast, a few sore body parts from being trod on, sat on and pushed.
As I was finished putting away the leftovers and packing the dishwasher, I lost my patience. DH came in and offered to help and instead of thanking him and accepting it, I accepted it with a snide comment. “How is it you always show up when I’m just about done with the chore?” “I’m sorry. I only heard you working on it now.”
I left him in the kitchen to finish packing the dishwasher and went to the bathroom to wash up for bed. I felt awful that I snapped at him and felt even more awful that I felt like his statement has the underlying concern.
“I only heard you now.” He only realized I was doing chores after I was clanging around. He only realized I was on the couch when he accidentally sat on my several times. He only realized I was in the hallway when he bumped into me. Am I supposed to announce myself and my actions to gain attention? Am I looking for attention or am I just looking for an occasional acknowledgment or appreciation? Do I feel like I'm being taken for granted?
Again, it’s tolerance and my theory that all relationships are based on tolerance. Did Jesus have expectations from others? Jesus wasn't looking for appreciation nor did he expect respect. Am I expecting too much? My tolerance is based on expectations. How can I not lower my expectations but not expect?
So I guess this exercise left me feeling like I do love my husband and my family but the actual act of trying to perform a random act of kindness in my current situation was very hard. It felt like I was being asked to do another act when I had nothing left in my gas tank. I suppose this means I didn’t accomplish the exercise but I cannot stay at this exercise in my current state. I think it will negate the purpose.