Nearly a year into this gig, I am still stumbling all over the ways my life has changed. Home all day, in charge of the more domestic-ish stuff, keeping the family calendar in my head, keeping the baby's schedule in my head, juggling all the details. The newest thing I've tripped over is not so much the specific changes but the fact that my life has changed waaaay more than Phillip's has.
It's not that I've just noticed this. It was apparent the minute Phillip went back to work and I was home alone with a mewling infant. Maybe I've been blocked up with the other stuff and now that I've sufficiently whined about those things I can start in on this one.
When Jack was four or five months old I saw a change in the way I communicate with Phillip. Suddenly things like, "Do you even KNOW what I DO ALL DAY?" and "Sure, YOU get to go to the bathroom WHENEVER YOU WANT" were coming out of my mouth. I was vaguely aware that I was being either a) irrational or b) not entirely fair, but that didn't really matter to me. Up to that point in our marriage I'm pretty sure the only thing I consistently wanted acknowledgment for was the fact that I always clean the bathroom. (Phillip, while also having a disgustingly higher tolerance for bathroom filth, will vacuum every floor and wash every dish and take out all the trash and do every scrap of laundry before he applies a nuclear-grade cleaner to the shower doors. And the fact that he does all those other things is why I don't freak out too much about being the only person cleaning three bathrooms. But I digress!)
*** We interrupt this oh so fascinating post to share that the boy has fallen asleep in his crib, on his own, after only ten minutes of complaining about it. Could it be that we are on our way out of The Thing? Cue the choir of angels! ***
Part of not having a Real Job is not having feedback. And no co-worker to grouse with on your lunch break. Turns out I really miss that. I need to talk with someone about how something is going. I need to hear that I'm doing a decent job. I need a little encouragement every so often to keep going. I need to hear someone say, "You managed to get Phillip to music practice and the boy to a babysitter AND pulled off your baby shower at the same time, without any help whatsoever from your husband who cannot keep track of the nap schedule? YOU ARE MY IDOL." I mean, I wouldn't really have to be an idol, but I wouldn't mind if someone pretended, just for my benefit.
What I don't need is someone who waltzes into the kitchen and makes a suggestion, even a GOOD suggestion, about the thing that is frustrating me that very instant. Such as the fact that my child takes forty-seven days to swallow a tiny piece of toast. Oh dear God am I going to spend the rest of my life feeding the baby? Make your suggestion LATER, when I have not already rubbed my brain raw trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong in the feeding department.
See, I want feedback, but only the feedback I like.
The usual ending points for conversations and arguments are no longer satisfactory for me. Maybe I was fine apologizing and moving along before, but now? NOW I WANT SOME CREDIT. Now I need to hear, even if he's already said it, that I'm doing a good job. That I'm doing things he doesn't remember to do. Things he doesn't even realize need to be done.
I was in a vile mood this weekend. VILE. And I can't even tell you why. Absolutely every little thing was irritating to me. Nothing was right. Nothing went well. I was really really tired of deciding what to feed the baby and what time we were going to do things and what needed doing. When the baby refused- flat out REFUSED- to take his afternoon nap on Saturday, Phillip said, "Do you want me to do it?" and I marched out of the room without even looking at him. I may have even slammed a door. (I NEVER SLAM DOORS.) And then I unearthed my plastic caddy of earth-friendly tub and tile cleaners and made my bathroom look like it did when we moved in. (Except earth-friendly cleaners do nothing for shower doors. NOTHING.)
Phillip said, "Thank you for cleaning the bathroom." And I felt much much better.