We are going through a ‘busy season’ as a family, and I tell you I struggle not to get a chip on my shoulder when I’m home with the boys day in and day out with little help from my hubby. You see, his work is tremendously busy right now and even though I had months of warning that the summer through September was going to be full of six day work weeks, 12 AM nights and early mornings, it never fully prepared me for the endurance it takes to be a ‘single parent’ (hats off to those who are!). I could complain more about this temporary situation but instead I thought I’d share my newly discovered character flaws which have reared their ugly head in the last couple months. These are all areas I’m working on and growing in and I suspect learning from them will make this and the next busy season a lot more manageable for the whole family.
For starters my husband is amazing. He works his butt off at his job and when he is home he does his best to help me out. This season was unavoidable and every week he goes over his schedule to prepare me. While I know this, I sometimes feel personally offended that he’s working long hours. Doesn’t he know our kids are crazy minions trying to drive me off the brink of insanity? Heck, I’m almost 30 weeks pregnant give a girl a break? How does this feeling of personal offence translate into action? I call it passive aggressive affection. I don’t avoid his hugs but when he goes in for them I keep my arms stiff at my side. When he comes in for the kiss, I turn my cheek. Sound familiar? Am I the only one who uses I’m pissed off body language? Guess what? This form of communication is not conducive to building a healthy relationship. It doesn’t affirm my husband in all his hard work or provide him with the warmth of a loving home at the end of a long day. Summary; don’t be a jerk, give your spouse some loving.
Text messaging. Text messaging. When will I ever learn? I am the queen of stress inducing texts. To my shame but for illustrative purposes I’ll give you an example of one of my recent messages:
You’re really quick at answering other people’s messages? The boys are being horrible.
In other words, why do you hate me? There are so many things wrong with a message like this. For one, I’m accusing him of putting other people before our family. Another is I’m not given him a great desire to contact me back. Does he really want to hear me whinge about my struggle with the boys when he’s trying to get home as fast as he can? Furthermore, I’m supposed to be a mature, critical thinking adult. This is the text message of a hormonal teen (Wait, I am hormonal. But it still doesn’t justify bad behaviour).
One of my forms of protest is turning into a bump on a log. As soon as my husband comes home I’m suddenly incapable of lifting a finger. My husband is extremely understanding and knows that with pregnancy I need to rest, but I’m pretty sure he’s tired too. It doesn’t take much effort to help with the last few chores of the day so that we can both rest once the kids are in bed.
When we’re in the midst of a busy season it is easy to stop taking care of myself. I don’t find time to exercise or eat properly. I confuse my priorities and put things like a clean house over self-care (and it never reaches that standard of clean I’m striving for, curse Pinterest!). Not surprisingly my husband would prefer a happy, relaxed wife to a clean house.
It’s shocking (or maybe not) to me that this is only the beginning of my character flaws that rear their ugly head during the busy seasons of life. Introspection is a powerful thing because God knows, I don’t want to behave like a bitter bitch because in doing so, I become one more often. Out of the heart, the mouth speaks and I want my heart to be soft towards my husband and family so that my words are gentle and my ways patient.
I suspect I am not the only person who has dysfunctional ways of responding during trying times but thankfully it is possible to change. Self-realization is the beginning and a whole lot of prayer is the middle and end.
*Please note, no children were harmed in this process of self-realization. My husband and I are committed to speaking well of each other to our kids and working things through in a manor that is (mostly) loving and gracious. I also want to add that one hug from my kids is worth all the crazy hours in a day!