Last Wednesday was one of those days. Like a get up, can't get anything done, clean up the same 400 messes 50x in the same day- type of day. My patience was beyond gone. I was angry with the kids. I was mad at the quarantine, mad at the state of the house and everything in between. These type of days don't happen that often, but when they do, they are tough.
If you read my Daily Routine post, you know that I try to have a pretty structured schedule during the week. A major part of my daily routine revolves around keeping and maintaining the house. Cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, making sure bills are paid and kids are being taken care of- truthfully, keeping the house takes up 70% of my time and about 90% of my energy. While I love having a clean home and I appreciate my household running smoothly, when I'm having an off day, its hard not to feel resentful.
"Do they even appreciate any of the work I am doing around here?" "Damn I just cleaned the kitchen and its dirty again in 5 min, obviously nobody cares" " If I stopped doing any of this, would it even matter?"
I would be lying if I said I did not deal with thoughts like this sometimes. I too deal with feeling unappreciated or unseen. I struggle with often feeling like I am giving 20000% and wondering if any of my efforts actually matter to those who matter to me most.
As a married woman, it is no secret that my husbands approval means more to me than anything else. In taking time to really reflect on my view of my role & responsibilities, I had to assess whether or not I was attempting to be and do "everything" to subconsciously impress or pacify him. I mean, he has never "made" me do any of it. Honestly, my husband wouldn't care if I laid in bed all day if I wanted to. He cooks regularly, he has no problem taking care of the kids when he's home and he keeps the house pretty tidy. My husband has never pressured me to curate a "perfect" life for him nor does he have expectations that I balance everything. If he came home to a dirty house, he wouldn't say a word to me about it. If dinner wasn't made, he would just make it without complaint. Anything I ask of my husband, he will do to the best of his ability so why was I always trying to operate as if that weren't the case?
What makes more sense is the fact that while I have a partner who only wants to see me happy, I still struggle to adequately accept his help for things things I see as "my responsibility." More often than not, I find myself trying to micromanage every aspect of our lives that it makes receiving help from my husband almost impossible whether or not I even notice it. Even deeper, though it may be physically and mentally taxing, part of me instinctively equates my self-worth off of the tangible value I bring to those closest to me- my family.
While trying to "do it all" am I subconsciously feeding my own ego only later to complain about it as if it were forced on me unwillingly? Forget the fact that I am trying to run multiple businesses and work on my own dreams, manage my health and just have somewhat of a social-ish life- am I only able to feel worthy when I am giving ALL of me to my husband, the kids, my family?
" So many modern women have fought so hard for freedom and independence that even when we have careers, homes and husbands, we still can't take a back seat and stop trying to prove ourselves." Kia Abullah
In 5 years would my kids care that the floors were always clean or the laundry was always done? After working 9 hours, does my husband care that I tried a new recipe rather than making the same basic spaghetti I make every week? The answer honestly is probably no. While us moms may spend hours a week aiming to create perfection in our homes, are we missing out on opportunities to pour into our own internal cups for growth and happiness?
The narrative is pretty familiar to us all. That e-class you wanted to take to further your business gets missed to assist with virtual schoolwork for your kids, that hour of exercise that you know you need gets put on the back burner to make dinner, that 45 min bath gets made into a 5 min cold shower while your toddler is outside of the shower door screaming. Like a slow leak, the resentment during these times slowly starts to flow into our hearts and before we know it- we break. Basic arguments turn into full blowups with our partners and the root of them is much deeper than we even have the ability to articulate. This is a toxic cycle that took me months of reflection and prayer to even notice.
So what am I doing to deal?
For me, I am always going to be in the midst of dealing and managing this. For so many of us, seeing our own mothers and grandmothers disregard emotional self care cemented our own self image of how wives and mothers should operate (or not operate) in our own households. Creating our own stories around self-care and self-worth is a process, not a race that continues to evolve over time.
For my marriage (and many of yours), prioritizing healthy, consistent communication has been the only way to catch these feelings before they fester into larger issues. Taking time to communicate with Rich when I am feeling unseen, unappreciated and plain TIRED has really helped to check my resentment at the door and bring in another layer of support when I need it most.
Owning My Shit
I truly believe a major part of self-care is not just about bubble baths and pedicures (Lord knows that would be nice right now), but actually owning the shit you need to work on. For me, that meant taking a hard look at my marriage and realizing that I have not always provided my husband space to actually assist and lead our household like I should. While I have been so focused on things being perfect and functional, I have often neglected my husband's desire to implement his own structure into our home as well. Though his way of doing things rarely looks "pretty" like mine may, my husbands ability to lead our household is just as valuable as mine and thus I need to appreciate it as well and SIT MY ASS DOWN.
I am not someone who can function living in a chaotic space. Call it OCD or crazy, I just know that I am 90x happier and more productive when my space is clean and organized. I know that about myself and I own that. Knowing that about myself, I try to set myself up for success everyday in the house. I stick to a routine. I keep the kids on a schedule as much as I can and I batch processes as much as possible to minimize chaos. By taking steps to make sure things set up to run as smoothly as possible, I spend less time running around like a crazy person. I am happier, everything gets done that needs to and I still fit in personal time.
Letting it Go Sometimes
Sometimes, I simply have to let some stuff go. Sometimes clothes don't get washed for a few days. Pizza is ordered more times during the week than I would like and Nova might rock the same hair style for the week. It is what it is. To keep sanity and minimize displaced resentment, I have had to learn to bend on a lot of things to find peace in others. Rather than spending time picking at the kids for making a mess or leaving dishes all over the house, sometimes I just pick them up and refocus my thinking. Dishes in the sink means we lucky enough to have food in our home. Toys on the ground means my children feel safe enough to enjoy themselves in the house. When I started to reshape my thinking- I was able to redirect my negative energy into a grateful lens.
I spoke with so many of you last week who graciously shared your personal testimonies in dealing with these feelings and issues in your own relationships. Your stories have really helped in my own reflection and I thank you for sharing.
As always, I see you all. We are all in this together. Keep striving, keep trying and remember that everyday you have an opportunity to do a little bit more than the day before. Your efforts for your family and most importantly yourself are important and so needed. On the days you fall short, pour yourself a giant glass of wine, grab a cookie (or 4) and remember that you are not alone.