There is nothing worse than having to go somewhere with your partner and pretend like everything is perfect when you’re really in the middle of an awful fight. There is a potent stench of tension looming around us as we walk down the steps to join everyone else on the patio. The kids just listened to us screaming at each other in the car. We feel horrible. This was the first time mommy and daddy fought in front of them. Evie kept yelling for me to be nice to daddy. Millie and Livie cried after our yelling woke them up from their car naps.
We swore we would never be these parents. I swore I would never be this wife. He swore he would never be this husband.
For the last two weeks Sean and I have been passive aggressively fighting about pretty much everything. In the big picture we are fighting about things that just don’t matter. Our version of fighting is tiny jabs at each other. We don’t yell, or raise our voices. We don’t call each other names. We just jab.
“Sorry Evie, I can’t make you a sandwich we are out of bread,” I said. Then I looked directly at my husband to make sure he heard me. To make sure he knew that I blamed him for the fact that we were out of bread.
Yesterday, everything escalated to a much more serious fight very quickly. My patience had run out, and he was fed up with my not so subtle pissed off comments for the last couple weeks. He had tried everything to get me to forgive him and move on. Every day he came home with some new desert for me; as he learned early on in our relationship that sweets are the real key to my heart. He bought me my favorite cookies and coffee, milkshakes, muffins, more cookies, ice cream. I swear he’s either really sorry, or just trying to make me really fat so I’m too insecure to ever leave him. Before we finally erupted yesterday we tried to have lunch as a family. We ordered our food, I made sure to get an extra-large coffee, and at the last second he added on this huge double chocolate muffin. I looked at him like he ordered a small child for me to eat.
“I don’t like those muffins,” I said. Jab. Jab.
How dare he. Stupid muffin.
Lunch took a turn for the worse before our food was even ready. Millie was crying, people were looking, I was embarrassed, and he wasn’t. I wanted him to fix the situation, but he didn’t see a problem. I said something snarky and he shook his head all while thinking yeah, whatever bitch.
I grabbed Millie and took her out to the car. Turned the music up just enough to muffle the sound of our crying, and she drifted off to sleep while I stewed in my anger and sadness. After lunch, Sean and our other two children returned to the car all happy and non-stewy. So I lost my shit. We argued the whole car ride to the party. Yelled, like we never have before. When Evie asked us to stop, I told her that sometimes Mommy’s and Daddy’s have to do this. That wasn’t true and I felt like shit saying it, but I could not stop. He could not stop. We had been repressing this fight for five years.
Our relationship is still so new. We got together and it’s been nonstop stress and chaos thrown our way since. A lot of it is self-inflicted sure, but it doesn’t make the pressure on us any easier. It seems like only now, since we finally have a chance to come up for air that we are starting to release some of the pressure. So we yelled.
Why is it that when you are fighting, you say things you know aren’t true? You just have to one up the other persons comment. I know right as I’m saying these words that they aren’t true. I am not describing my husband. But out they poor, each one hurting me just as much as they hurt him. We were still fighting as we pulled into the driveway, and still fighting as we started to unbuckle the kids. As we stepped onto the patio, we painted on our smiles and tried to hide what was really going on. The day went ok, considering how it started. The kids were cranky, partly because we tried to go on a boat right in the middle of nap time, partly, I’m sure, because they just listened to a horrible fight between their parents.
Just as quickly as it stopped when we arrived, the fight picked back up when we left. Only now, we were a little calmer, and both felt ashamed of our behavior from earlier. When we returned home we set up a movie for the kids, and finished the conversation in our room behind closed doors. We talked, we cried, we apologized.
We are going to make mistakes; we are going to be selfish from time to time. We are both under immense stress, and worn about as thin as we can be. This fight was the first of I’m sure many in our future. I hope that we can learn from some of the mistakes. I hope that we are able to control our anger in front of the children and wait until we can be alone. I hope that we can remember the good about each other and not only the bad when we are frustrated.
We ended the night sitting around the dinner table with our children. I walked past Sean to get a drink and he pulled me in and hugged me. He held onto me, reassuring me that he never intends to let go. I closed my eyes, breathed him in, and felt two more little hands wrap around us. Evie joined our hug. I looked over at Millie buckled into her high chair and her arms were out, air hugging us too. Livie looked at us a little angry that we were hugging instead of feeding her, but I know she felt the release of pressure too.
Later, while rocking Livie to sleep I was able to look back at the pictures from today. It’s amazing how a fresh pair of eyes can look at the same day a whole new way. The pictures were still full of smiles. Moments of happiness and love mixed into a really tough day. Even when we were so mad at each other, we still took the pictures. We have an online shared album of photos so after scrolling through all of the pictures I took of him and the kids , I looked at his photos and found pictures of me and the kids. We may have been saying hurtful things, and we can’t take them back, but when we look back at this day years from now we will see these photos we took of each other and remember that even in anger, we still saw the good in each other.
After some really, really, unbelieable make up sex I rolled over and looked directly into his eyes.
“I’m sorry I yelled and said I didn’t like double-chocolate muffins. I do,” I said.