A Fight With My Husband
Updated: Dec 14, 2021
It has been another tough week in our house. Chase had to stay home for a few days and quarantine, because he was considered a close contact. Crazy times. I had been doing a puzzle at home with him to keep him busy, and we had been working on it together off and on all week. We had been nearing the end, and I was feeling a great deal of ownership over this thing. Puzzles are awesome. Therapeutic and relaxing. Also, they bring a calming vibe to our house and are the perfect challenge for a healthy child stuck at home. We had about 25 more pieces to go as of yesterday morning, and I felt like this was it. We were almost there.
I was cleaning the kitchen and getting ready to get to my barre class, get Brayden and Parker out the door to the bus. I needed to change the laundry, finish getting everyone breakfast and tend to the dog. It was hectic. Evan was sitting with Chase doing the puzzle in the dining room, and I kept glancing in to check on their progress. I couldn't help but feel irritated. Evan, who had barely put in his time with this thing, here he is sliding in at the end to finish it up. Swooping in at the last minute. Something I had worked so damn hard on all week.
I felt the anger begin to fester. As I scrubbed the dishes in the sink and wiped the counters, I could hear Chase and Evan high fiving one another as they completed another piece - nearing the end. Fuming, I stormed upstairs.
I came down five minutes later and walked into the dining room. The puzzle was almost complete. While Chase was in the bathroom, Evan sat quietly staring at the puzzle pieces, sipping his morning coffee, and I lashed out at my husband. I started yelling.
"I feel like this is so typical of you to just come in and finish MY puzzle! You always get all the glory. All the credit!" He started laughing, and he thought I was joking. We tease each other a lot, and we have a playful banter most days. So he figured I was kidding around.
I continued on. "I carry these babies for nine months. I gain 70 lbs every time and stretch my skin out. I birth them. I do all the work. Behind the scenes. I do all the hard stuff that breaks my body. For years!" I know as I say this it is a stretch - to compare this puzzle to childbearing. But I do this often, as I feel under appreciated as a mom at times. "I find all the edges, build the borders of the puzzle - stuff no one ever wants to do but is necessary to the beginning process of puzzle making. I sort the pieces by color. All the shit that no one finds fun, just so DAD can come in at the end and finish it off with the final few pieces! You get all the credit. You get to take the kids to the Bruins and Patriots games. Fun time dad. And you get to be the one to do all the cool stuff, where as I do all the hard, less appreciated work that no one cares about."
He looked at me completely stunned and didn't know whether to keep laughing. I knew I was totally overreacting, but I also knew that this spoke to a larger issue that we discuss often. This was very indicative of how our parenting roles are defined in the eyes of our kids. I am the reliable stay at home mom, the disciplinarian, the one that is always around. Dad works a lot and isn't always there, but when he is around he makes sure to be there for the fun stuff.
"Wait, you're serious?" He stopped laughing.
I was ready to storm out of the house, leave him ruminating in my words and take an hour to myself to collect my thoughts. I was going to just go to my barre class and let him have all the glory. I didn't want to talk about it anymore. I was over it.
My go to move when I am angry is to walk away. That was how it always used to go with us. He would leave for work, and I would go about my day and eventually turn to booze. And since it was Friday, I would start drinking with friends at 3pm and would be drunk by the time he got home from work. So we would never resolve these things in the past. They would just fester and boil, our resentment towards one another building.
But yesterday morning - Evan stopped me before it went any further. He hugged me and told me he wasn't aware I felt this way. If only we talked about this. We just needed to talk. I assumed he knew how I felt. I didn't know he didn't know.
In the past, it was always easier to just run away and turn to alcohol later.
We then broke into a fit of laughter - realizing how silly my words truly sounded, but I felt so much better to communicate it. He let me finish the puzzle with Chase later that morning, and it all seems so trivial and silly to write about now. But it meant something to me.
Also, it was his simple willingness to understand me as well. We spoke briefly, all before Chase got back from the bathroom, that we need to be more aware of these roles that we fall into, especially in the kids' eyes. We need to be more thoughtful.
It felt like a resolution between the two of us. Knowing we didn't run away from something that in the past would have been the catalyst for a days long fight sending me to find comfort at the bottom of a bottle instead of the arms of my husband.
Avoidance is never healthy. Avoidance by way of alcohol had me on a path of destruction. I am grateful every day to be off that road for good.