Last night Sean went to the Indians game with some of his friends after work. He didn’t have time to stop home before heading downtown since it’s just about an hour drive from our home. In the past when he would do something like go to a game, or go out to the bar with his friends, golf, hell really anything that involved him having fun without me; I would get real passive aggressive. I’d say it was fine, go have fun, I’ll take care of the kids. Then every minute he was gone I would stew in my anger about the fact that he was off doing whatever he was doing while I was home taking care of his kids.
It’s insane really, the way my mind worked. Sean has literally NEVER in all of our relationship said no, you can’t go do such and such. Our only struggle remotely close to this is when he “can’t leave work”; like there is some kind of guard at the door keeping him there even though I need him. I think the guards name is Work Ethic and he’s a real D-bag. But back to the point- if I need a break, he always makes sure I get it. Because he is always working so much, the little free time he has is precious to me and our family. As if I owned him, I felt entitled to every minute of that free time. Not just because he has to help me with the kids, but I felt like he should want to spend all of the time he can with me since we don’t get very much.
I felt like him saying he wanted to go to hang out with friends, meant he did not want to hang out with me; which just isn’t true. Sean isn’t choosing his friends because he doesn’t want me.
So last night he went to the game, and I had a really fun night with the girls. We played outside all day; I have the sunburn to prove it. Then we went to dinner at Panera, indulged in some very unhealthy, but extremely satisfying macaroni and cheese. We spent the rest of the night back outside all sharing a giant cinnamon roll.
I won’t lie and say that putting three small children down for bed at the same time on your own isn’t challenging; it is. But I’ve done it before, and I can most certainly do it again. I used to be angry just knowing he wouldn’t be there to help, like his absence was going to automatically make bedtime that much worse. In reality, it went just fine. I even read a bonus book because all three girls were sitting so nicely listening to the stories.
Once the girls finally settled into bed, I was able to get some more laundry done, write a little, and finish my book. This marriage thing is confusing, and a lot different than I expected. I imagined that once you marry someone, everything has to be done together, all the time. I lost the line that made us individual people, with individual wants and needs. I started reading and writing again at the start of the New Year, and have rediscovered my love for the written word. I can’t read and write with him; both of these tasks require my focus and quiet.
Prior to this year, I was always available, waiting for his attention like a puppy at the front door. It was equally unhealthy for me to expect all of his free time, as it was for me to be available for all of his free time. We are working on finding a balance for every role we play. He needs to find a better work-life balance, a better balance between time with friends and time with family, better balance between relaxing and his honey do list. I need to find balance in being a mom, wife, friend, sister, and simply being a person.
It’s not that I ever wanted to be a bitch, or wanted to keep him from his friends or activities that he likes. I was so wrapped up in being a wife and mom, that if my kids went to bed and my husband wasn’t there, I simply had no purpose. I needed him to always choose me, because otherwise it became all too real that I had completely lost myself when I became a wife and mother.
In opening myself up to new things, and old hobbies, I’m finding myself less angry that he wants to do other things too. Our marriage and our friendship are growing in strength with each successful outing I keep dragon Julie at bay. He goes and has fun; I enjoy a quiet evening doing the things I want to do. I miss him while he’s gone, but that makes him climbing into our bed when he gets home that much better. They do say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I think they are right. But I’d add, absence doesn’t mean your man don’t like you and miss you in the first place, he just wants to have a beer and watch some damn baseball with his friends, calm your tits he will be home soon. Now there are some nights I can feel his stares from across the room while I’ve got my nose buried in my book, or my eyes glued to my computer screen. With each click of the keys on my laptop, he gets more and more needy. Some nights I’m sure he just wants to talk, some nights I’m sure he’s trying to have sex, every night I know he just wants some attention.
It’s been kinda fun watching my husband navigate these new roads I’m taking. He’s desperately trying to follow the GPS instructions I’m leaving behind, but the signals can sometimes lag. I’m changing every day, making different choices and spending my time differently. It doesn’t help when you’re following directions to a final destination that keeps changing. I feel like I’m Mr. Mayhem from those Allstate commercials, turn left, no TURN RIGHT RIGHT NOW! I wish I could be more help, but hell I don’t know that I even know where we are going most of the time. I do know that wherever I’m going feels a lot better than where I was. Like in this new place, I can be a mother and a wife, but I can also be me. Julie.
I don’t doubt that we will have to work at finding balance the rest of our life, but I do feel very secure that so far we are handling all of this change together in a respectful and loving way. By loving I mean I tell him to fuck off while I’m trying to write, and he asks me “Can I really go, without you being a bitch tomorrow?” We are completely nailing this whole marriage thing.