Saturday, November 15, 2008

Love is Not Irritable

“Do like me, read the Bible.”
If I’m to follow the exercise in The Love Dare, I should not react to my husband’s comment with irritation. My husband’s belittlement irritates me and not just for my desire to perform the Dare. Blanket statements like, “Get over it”, sting more than words should sting.
Today’s focus is to not let my husband’s belittlement cause me irritation. I need to have more breathing room and not react as quickly. I’ve already failed this exercise as this morning, I became irritated at his sidelining of my needs. This exercise made me feel selfish.
I woke up engorged and ready to burst. The night before I washed my pump parts. I washed them angrily. Washing my parts half awake reminds me of how much my husband and I differ when it comes to our needs and need fulfillment. I’m not saying I’m right or he’s right just that we’re in opposite spectrums.
I view the statement, “You are the only person that can take care of your needs” sadly. I believe that when you love someone, you try to help them achieve their needs. That’s why couples should use their strengths to bolster their partner. DH misplaces many things, including his laundry. We found it in a bag in the basement. Apparently during one of his many late nights he left it in the dryer and never claimed it. To help him, I try to put his keys back by the door when I see them lying around. I don’t tell him I do it, I just do. He knows I do it and complains I effect his method to finding things but I still do it. Sure the motive it purely selfish, my tolerance for his ‘headless chicken’ routine when he’s running late is maddening, but I’d like to think it benefits him too. It gives him that extra 5 minutes to search for his wallet.
Well, today, I failed to not get irritated already. I woke up engorged and to the sound of my husband shuffling around the house searching for something. “Hi. I lost my phone.” he says as he lifts my leg off the couch cushion to check for his phone. Yes, I slept on the couch. Sadly, I’m such wuss that I’d rather sleep on the couch next to my husband who swears he needs no sleep {a falsity} than sleep in our big bed by myself hoping he’d come in and snuggle with me and not an hour before our child awakens. It makes no sense at all but it’s hard to break a habit that started nearly a decade ago.
“Do you need anything?” “Yes, can you get me the pump parts that are drying? I need to pump badly.” “Sure.” In the end, I got the pump parts and started pumping as his phone search was his priority which goes back to 1) I am the only person who can take care of myself and 2) I’m fourth behind his needs, his gym and our daughter.
If anything, this exercise made me feel so selfish, I just get angry at myself for feeling so hurt. Yes, these exercises are helping me build awareness but the solution cannot be suppression. I am a firm believer that you shouldn’t suppress too much or else you explode. It’s hard for me as I come from a family of suppressors. That’s what you get when you cross British politeness with Confucianism. I think I’ve jumped a few hurdles regarding suppression that have caused the strife between my mother and myself but at the same time my husband is miles ahead in his speak his mind even if it hurts others.
I truly believe that the complementary aspects of our personalities help build a better self but lately I’m feeling as if the weight is tilted. Part of this is the stress of giving up on my dream, becoming the bread winner and the anxiety of having to provide for my family, take care of our child and take care of the basics for my family such as putting a meal on the table.
My husband says that he’ll try to put a meal on the table when I get home but I’ve heard that before with the dishes. He’ll try to clean the dishes or put the dishes away. He’ll try to make it home on time. I foresee me coming home from work, breastfeeding our baby, cooking dinner, eating while breastfeeding and then getting our child to sleep before cleaning the kitchen, storing milk pumped during the day and setting up the pump to pump before I sleep and start the cycle again.
Even worse, I foresee my husband having to leave for one of his gigs texting me to come home early. So I would need to come home to relieve him and being the giant wuss again, staying up so I can spend a few short minutes with him before I need to sleep and regenerate for the next day.
I know that anticipation can be worse than the actual so I’m trying to give it a positive spin. I remind myself I may not be able to stay at home with my child but at least my spouse can. It’s a compromise that is easier to swallow. I remind myself that not matter what, I need to follow the Golden Rule and that although my actions have a degree of self preservation, I still do them out of love for my family. I strive to be a better person not only for myself and God but also for my child. Hopefully she will learn from action. Yes, she should be mindful of her needs but she should think of God and others first. She shouldn’t be a martyr but she should be kind and compassionate. I suppose, the best I can do is better myself to better her. Maybe she will be a happy compromise to her polar parents.
So we’ve discussed an area I need to give margin to and reasons for my actions. How do I start to resolve it? Honestly, my first reaction is to remind myself, “God gave me two hands. If I can do it, just do it.” As my good friend once said to me, “As a woman, you just have to do things just to keep the peace in the family. You just have to remind yourself, it’s not bothering them. It’s bothering you. “
I suppose I need to weigh the pros and cons. Is it really worth the irritation to ask him to help me get the pump parts or would it be better for me to get up and do it myself?
I don’t think I’m high maintenance, just low esteem right now. I need to stop reminding myself of the prioritization.
I will not be irritated today. I will do everything I can to not sweat it and just be. Heck, at the end of the day I want to pat myself on the back and be thankful that I can do. I spend my prayers being thankful for everything but myself and my strengths. A mom in my mother’s group said, “Remember, we’re mothers. We are full-time caregivers not only to our child but to our husband and ourselves.” Equality be damned, we do more than our spouses and because of such we expect more from them. That’s where our weakness is. Today there will be no expectations.

In continuation of yesterday’s be thankful…
My husband
Today I am thankful for the “I love you” text messages he sends me.
Today I am thankful for my multi-task.
My life
Today I am thankful for the opportunities given to me and my family.