I am typing from my bed after another argument with Kevin. He is out in the living room building Legos with the boys before bedtime.
Just yesterday, I had commented on my friend’s status update about her counting down the seconds’til her husband walked through the door. She was sick while taking care of her little ones, about the same ages as my kids. I told her something like, “I feel you. There are days where Kevin will walk through the door and announce that he has to use the bafroom for just a li’l bit and I’m like, ‘Oh uh-uh, you don’t even know what the past two hours have been like. You needs to do that on your own time. I’m on break.'”
Then I read a blog tonight with some other mama saying the same thing so I mentioned to Kevin while he was feeding the kids dinner, “Hey, so it’s really not just me. This one blogger lady and other commenters are all saying it really bugs when they desperate for the husband to walk through the doors to give them the relief they been waiting for, only to have them say they gon’ use the bathroom right quick.”
Kevin responded logically. I loathe logic. He was annoyed. “So now I’m not allowed to use the bathroom when I get home?” Did I mention he was feeding the kids dinner as I recovered from a sore throat and earlier Charles E. Queso festivities, sprawled out on the playmat?
“NO! I’m actually NOT saying you can’t use the bathroom! I’m saying I need you to USE YOUR WORDS as soon as you walk through those doors. To express that you understand what kind of mental and emotional energy I expend when pouring out for the kids – the diaper chase, the disciplining, the repeating myself, the breaking up fights, the vagina kicks, the spills, the refills after the spills, the sitting down just to get back up again for something else. When you only rush off to the bathroom after I have been starving for someone to pass the baton to so that I don’t lose it, I feel crazed.”
We went back and forth, our voices getting louder and louder and even continued to argue in the bedroom while the kids were in the middle of their dinner, probably wondering why Mom and Dad were fighting again.
He then said, “Don’t actions speak louder than words? The minute I get home I try to take over to show you that I care.”
AUUGGGHHH! We always end up back at this Love Languages argument! Tired of it.
Kevin shows his love through acts of service. I express my love through words. I guess I also withhold love by withholding my words of affirmation. And yes, I do agree that actions speak louder than words. If he was gushing with his words but never helped me manage the household or raise the kids, I would call “bullshit!” on his love.
But actions NEVER replace words.
Kevin is one of THE MOST HELPFUL BABY DADDIES I HAVE EVER MET.
BUT I NEED BOTH ACTIONS AND WORDS.
Sometimes, I feel like man, close mama friends just get it more than the husband ever can, by virtue of being a fellow mama, like when we can safely share Mommy fails and Mommy stress with each other without having to swear up and down that we truly madly deeply love our kids. Only with a select trusted few can you say, “The other day, I totally messed up…I…” and before you can finish, they will completely understand and even share a worse Mommy fail if they your people.
Meanwhile, the husband swears up and down that he understands the emotional and mental roller coaster of being an at-home mama but I feel like he only expresses it to me in the way I need only when I ask him directly, “Hey, do you get it? Do you really get how sometimes I just wanna escape from everyone and everything? Just to recharge and regroup?”
HE SAYS HE GETS IT but when he is saying it AS A RESPONSE, rather than as an uninitiated affirmation, I feel like I cornered him into it and he is only saying it to assuage my rage. Keep the beast at bay.
In his defense, since I’m the one who has a blog to mouth off on and he doesn’t, he says he would love to affirm me DAILY but I don’t give him a chance because I criticize him immediately or use a mean tone.
I get it. Therein lies the tug-of-war.
I want the affirmation first while he wants me to back off from the criticisms first.
So after the kids go to bed, I have to show him this blog post instead of yelling again. OF COURSE HE CAN USE THE BATHROOM WHEN HE GETS HOME.
I am not really THAT bad, dag.
I just want to be understood first – that I’ve been desperately waiting for someone to pass the baton to.
I just want him to gift me by SEEING ME before he rushes off to the bathroom for even a second. To look me in the eyes, even when I try to take the stress out on him and can be downright cold, and say, “I know you must have been counting down the seconds ’til I walked through that door. I GOTCHOO. I’mma take the wheel now. I really gotchoo. How was today? You need not wait any longer. Well, only until I come out the bathroom.”
Sure, I may still sass him but deep inside, I would feel like he GETS IT. That I can still love my kids more than life itself but also feel like, “EVERYONE LEAVE ME THE F ALONE!”
And I know that the key to marriage is clear communication and asking for what you want, but maybe I’m wired differently because when I have to ask for what I want, like ordering from a menu, I don’t appreciate it as much if / when you say them to me. If I demand specific affirmations like the above, then it feels like you just parroting what I demanded, just to keep me from bitching, though to be fair, even when Kevin has made specific requests of me, I’ve flat out refused. At least he is more than willing.
I once had a tiff with one of my closest, oldest friends because I noticed that she would never ASK me how I’m doing when I was newly pregnant for the first time. So we didn’t talk much most of my pregnancy. I finally told her that when she didn’t ask, I felt like it would be weird to be all, “So, this is how I’m feeling now…”
She got emotional and was hurt. “Well, then why didn’t you just tell me how you’re doing? Why do I have to inquire?” I told her it’s because I feel stupid to just tell someone how I’m doing when they don’t express that they would like to know.
I never claimed to be low maintenance.
Actions do speak louder than words but just like I tell the little ones: USE YOUR WORDS.
And THEN go relieve yourself.
I’m on break.