I tend to cringe at the term self-care. It makes me feel like taking care of ourselves is a trend. But that’s pretty much what this night was about. Figuring out a way to add some alone time back into my life.
January 26, 2020
“What’s going on? It feels like you just don’t care about us, the kids… With anything.”
Then we heard Sarah playing in her room for the 7th time that night. So he begrudgingly got up to tend to her. As he walked out of the living room I desperately prayed, “Whatever is stuck in me, please come out.”
Three simple words. Little did Mike know– or maybe he did– I had been battling that “What’s going on?” question all week. Mike’s work was unusually busy. The kids were unusually needy. I was unusually short-tempered. And there had been no alone time in sight. But I knew it wasn’t depression. I knew it wasn’t hormonal . And I knew I did care, despite my obvious detachment from everyone.
I wanted an answer just as much as him. I needed an answer just as much as him.
He walked back in the room, shaking his head in annoyance. It was that head shake that said, “Yeah I’ll be back in there soon.” I knew that feeling all too well.
The Answer: I’m Suffocated
He sat down next to me, and without much effort, I said, “It’s not that I don’t care. It’s that…” And then the unexpected tears came. They poured.
Through the tears and weird facial expressions one makes when trying to not cry, I let out, “I don’t appreciate the kids anymore.” I think I was just as shocked as Mike to hear that.
“Just looking at the kids makes me annoyed. And bitter. And mad. I see something stopping me from my goals. And I know it isn’t fair. Or true. Or right. I know I will be craving to have these days back one day. And I want to be in the moment. But I can’t grasp it. No matter what. I just can’t. It feels like they are suffocating me. And I can’t figure out what to do.” The snot and black mascara tears now in full force.
I talked about life with the kids lately from my perspective. The never ending mess and screaming and poop. The dropping of snacks in the hallway to the car. Never having enough hands. Always hearing “MOMMMMMY!!” as soon as I sit for 2 seconds. And how none of this was directed at Mike– I appreciated all that he did around the apartment. But I needed a solution, some regular me-time, for everyone’s benefit.
The Solution: Alone Time
And that’s exactly what we did. We came up with a solution that felt righter than right. One that would get me out of the house multiple times a week for more than a couple hours at a time. And what a world of a difference it made.
Had we not taken the time to face the tension, we would probably still be low-key mad at each other for no real reason. And I definitely wouldn’t be sitting here at this library, getting some quality along time. Soaking up all the old school vibes, while getting work done and looking forward to seeing the kids in a few hours.
As Mike so eloquently put it, you gotta feel the tension, identify the tension, and then kick it in the teeth. I’m so damn thankful we kicked it in the teeth.