Walk the Line (revised)
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Lately I've been feeling like I haven't been the best communicator, and with a toddler and a baby, that can put a lot of unnecessary strain on the people around me: the people I love the most and for whom I'd do anything. So why do I sometimes seem to command rather than ask, to direct rather than work alongside, to dictate rather than discuss? Why am I setting myself up to seem bossy, bitchy, nagging, nit-picky? When I want to make a conscious effort to avoid these behaviors, they still seem to sneak back into my repertoire. How do I get everything that needs to get done, in the way that I want it, without coming across as less than my real self? My easy-going, happy, fun-loving self, that sometimes gets muddled up in motherhood. Why can't I be both a mother and myself?
I know it's all in the way I say something. Tone can be the difference between bitching and venting. Tone can morph asking into telling, even with a "please" thrown in there for good measure. The problem is when I'm just too tired and want things done a certain way, I don't take a minute to measure my tone. There's a fine line there that sometimes I blur in my rush to get things done. I know which way works best because I've tried every other way and through process of elimination, know this is what is easiest/most effective/produces less resistance. So why can't I just communicate that?
Lately I've been making a more conscious effort to be less bossy, which is one of my New Year's Resolutions. But I think I'm doing a sucky job at it. And I wonder why Jax is bossy; look at me! No wonder he's always directing his friends and telling them where to go, where to put things, how to do it. Gee, I wonder where he gets that from? I'm struggling with realizing that just because things don't get done my way doesn't mean they weren't done well. They were just done differently. And yes, I count their toys and puzzle pieces every time they go back to their homes so that I don't lose one little piece. But the result of that is there is only one toy, after 26 months, that doesn't have every piece it came with, and I blame that on post-Christmas chaos. It drives me crazy every day that Turner isn't in Handy Manny's toolbox; you know the first time I see one I'm going to buy it just so we have a complete set. Is this normal? Am I psychotic? Probably yes to both. But, have we had to buy fewer toys and puzzles for Em because Jax's are all still intact and in good shape? Yes to that, too. Pros and cons to my psychosis. It's a fine, albeit crazy, line I walk, but I do it out of love. Because you're mine, I walk the line...
I desperately want to avoid becoming that nagging wife that JDubbs doesn't want to come home to. That he has one more drink before coming home because he would rather be there than here. That he doesn't feel like his voice as a parent is being heard because I'm too opinionated (okay, bitchy, bossy) and drown him out. As much as he reassures me, I know I need to make a better effort. I wonder how it goes with other parents. We have to walk this line because we love our kids and want what's best for them--a clean, organized home where they know what to expect and have fun. But I think what is also best for them is to have two parents who share the role of parenting, possibly in very different ways, but who both get a say in how their kids are raised and how to build their home. Not just one way, with one parenting contemplating suffocating the other in her sleep just to get a word in edgewise. I know I'm a good mom, but maybe I need to share the credit a little sometimes. God knows when I put them to bed alone or when I have fed them by myself for the fifth meal in a row that I appreciate how much I need help. If I communicated that a bit more, a bit more often, I think nothing but good could come of it.
This is the second time I have written this post, and it needed to be rewritten. The first time I was emotional, defensive, overstepping and oversharing. It wasn't about me; I was abusing this space. This space is for me but it's about life as a mom and as a family and sometimes just myself. Not a place to bitch. Maybe just to vent every now and then. Reflecting on this writing process has helped me appreciate that I really have nothing to complain about, and so much to celebrate. Maybe I can communicate that a little more, and work hard to walk the line with a little more grace and a little less grumbling.