Have you ever reached that breaking point? You know what I’m talking about. When you’ve had a million hypothetical arguments inside your head (all of in which you are completely articulate and win in a bold, kickass fashion) but walk around with a smile on your face only to be shattered by one, insignificant comment and tears fall like you’ve just watched the series finale of Friday Night Lights again?
Well, I had one the other night. It’s been a long week and because it was a tough one for my husband workwise, I had foolishly assigned myself as a martyr and made sure everything was “just so”… who even know what that means but I thought it meant I should be making my house look like an episode of Donna Reed. He was busting ass to get home to try and see Bud most nights in time for bedtime and so on those nights, I was busting ass to make sure supper was ready, kitchen cleaned up, house straightened, my pregnant self wasn’t looking like I stumbled out of a “People of Walmart” picture, and I had a happy smile on my face. If I’m honest, most of these things are things I enjoy. Don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m doing these things out of traditional obligation. I love cooking and I like to live in a straightened house. I try and plan well so I use naptime to prep supper so it’s not a mad dash, I clean throughout the day so it’s not overwhelming, and I have a “no PJs after 9am” rule otherwise I would be completely content staying in my tattered 1998 J.Crew PJ pants until I retired on the couch later that night. I am also not afraid to admit when I just want take-out and there are days even I wouldn’t eat something that fell on my floor. But this week was different, I wasn’t planning well and it all seemed pretty chaotic and overwhelming and if I’m honest, I was performing.
I so desperately want our home to be a safe haven for everyone, including Sam. This is all fine and dandy but here was my breaking point, I wasn’t communicating, I was performing.
Sam came home that night and he continually amazes me at how he doesn’t bring an ounce of negativity into the home after work. He bounds toward Bud and showers us both with love and attention. He is so engaged and hands on when he’s home. Stud. Anyways, we were all sitting on the floor playing when he made a joke about something I had done with Bud, which I would have normally laughed at… (not important nosy noses) and I just started crying. *Insert my husband’s panicked look and deer in the headlights “what the hell just happened” face*
He of course asked what was going on and if I was ok because these outbursts rarely happen (blame it on growing up with all boys but I’m not exactly forthcoming with my emotions all the time). I gathered myself and explained that it wasn’t anything he said, I just hit my breaking point when I realized I wasn’t communicating with my partner. I had been performing and I let some misinterpreted criticism shatter me… or rather, my performance. After explaining that while I rejoice in this season of being home with our son and trying to make it our safe haven, there were days that were hard and I hadn’t communicated that with him because I thought I needed to be Susie Homemaker with a perfected grin across my face. I felt guilty for missing work sometimes and then I felt guilty because I wasn’t living authentically with my husband but instead I was putting on a performance. Then he said something that was like salve on a burn.
“Hon, be released from that. That’s ridiculous.”
So simple and direct. And he’s right, it’s ridiculous that I feel like I couldn’t talk to him as if I was protecting him from something. He’s a big boy, he can handle it. In fact, he wants to handle it. We are partners, and if we don’t communicate with each other this whole thing is just going to blow up.
So, how do we set ourselves up so we don’t keep hitting these breaking points? We talk, we share, we be honest. My husband doesn’t want a performance. He wants me. Messy, sometimes crass, often loud and rarely quiet, and genuine. Your friends don’t want the stage version of you, they want the authentic version of you. Don’t play out a role you think you need to be playing, start communicating because finding that freedom with communication can be the greatest release and the greatest version of yourself.