I am writing this letter to apologize for my behaviour. I want you to know that I hear you when you tell me that I am annoying you all with my unending questions about when/if you will be home for dinner.
I acknowledge that I am nagging when I continually beg everyone to empty lunch bags at the end of the day and bring dirty dishes to the kitchen.
I know that I am complaining about the mountain of boots and shoes and hoodies growing on the floor in our foyer. And I hear myself criticizing when I make snarky comments about having to clean other people’s trash out of the family car.
Believe me when I tell you that I truly feel bad about my behaviour. I look in the mirror and I see an annoying, nagging, complaining, criticizing woman. I tell myself that I must get a grip – chill out, relax, let it go, etc.
I really want to be popular again, the way I was a million years ago, when I lived with roommates and didn’t give a rat’s crap what any of them ate, or whether their clothes were clean, or whether they had a semi-annual dental check-up. Back then, I merrily ate kraft dinner out of the pot, without sharing, and wrote my name in black sharpie on the yogurt so that no one else would dare to touch it.
I miss that version of me. She was a hoot. She hated annoying, nagging, complaining, criticizing women. Of course, she also had a zero-tolerance policy for roommates who didn’t clean up after themselves and she would literally lose her %$%$! on anyone who treated her poorly.
I try to imagine what she would have done if her $200 sweater was ‘borrowed’ without her consent then shoved into a dryer with a bunch of towels and shrunk to toddler-size. Or if she jumped into her car with only five minutes to get somewhere and discovered that a roommate had ‘borrowed’ it without asking, burned through all the gas, and left the tank empty.
I picture her reaction if her inquiries about the sweater were greeted with blank stares and shoulder shrugs and if her anger about the missed appointment was met with only eye rolls. My younger self would have ranted and raged and hollered into the wind, flinging herself headlong at each injustice, demanding apologies – demanding respect.
She would have eventually exhausted herself. She would have ‘toned it down’ and started ‘picking her battles’ for the sake of ‘keeping the peace’. And her efforts would have paid off, with a happy home and a happy family.
The happy family would absent-mindedly enjoy the clean house and the nice meals and the well-organized holidays. They would acknowledge her as a ‘good wife’ and a ‘good mom’ and this would make her feel good about herself and her choices. She would slowly stop noticing the ‘little things’ that used to piss her off… or would she?
So I apologize to my dear family. I know that I am annoying and nagging and complaining and criticizing. There are four of you reminding me of these behaviours on a daily basis, snapping at me, telling me to get a grip – chill out, relax, let it go, etc.
And you are right. I have become an annoying, nagging, complaining, criticizing woman. And I feel bad because, deep down, I have always hated that kind of woman.
I’m sure you’re not as bad as you imagine. Your complaints may even be justified sometimes, but your right about picking your battles. Life isn’t too short, it’s too long and you’ll be exhausted if you go to battle all the time.
I was expecting a little ‘twist’ at the end; I am who I am because of who I live with… something like that. I agree that you have to pick your battles, you may have to relax – however – getting into the car and finding the tank empty? having your piece of property ruined because someone ‘borrowed’ it and ruined it? These are no small details; this is disrespect and inconsideration, being taken for granted. And let’s face it; you are a woman and a mom – it doesn’t matter what you do or how you do it, you’ll always be the wrong one so you may as well decide HOW you want to be treated and DEMAND it or else you will never get it. My kids would push the limits but they KNEW when to stop or which limits to leave alone. It helped that I did NOT have a man-in-the-house to undermine my authority. Stop getting down on yourself…there are plenty of other people more than willing to do that for you. 🙂
Sadly… no twist ending. Just a moment of melancholy and reflection (unusual for me, I know). Sun is out today so I think my spirits may be on the rise again… certainly hope so. Self-pity is exhausting!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Kim, you are the rock that holds the family together. It is no wonder you can get frustrated from time to time. On the flip side, my wife and I discovered we could say something critical (even when constructive) too frequently with teenagers and kids over their failure to do something. But, we stopped and chose to pick our moments when it was needed. It changed the tone of conversations and got them to listen more to important conversations. I am sure my wife could do they same with me (and probably does). I don’t know if this helps, but I do feel your anguish and understand. Now, if they would only put their clothes away. All the best, BTG
Ah… the famous “put the clothes away” plea. Am sure this one has been going on since the beginning of time.
At least since Eve convinced Adam to put some clothes on in the first place.
Not sure who convinced who on the clothing thing… but I am thinking that this may be the problem. Just realized that in nudist families, that whole argument just disappears!
I think it was a “Baby Blues” comic strip last week, where the mother tells the little one not to muddy her clothes outside while she is playing in the sand. So, in the next frame, the child is sans clothing. That may be the solution.
Who would have thunk it… when I was in my vibrant 20s the idea of nudity made me a tad uncomfortable. Now, at 50, I am thinking that nudity may solve all of the world’s problems!
Great piece, Kim! And thanks for the like on my latest at Speak! Excellent work!