April 22, 2013

The Bright Side

First and foremost - thank you Farmwife and Inkling for your comments.  It was a rough weekend...BUT, BB and I had a LONG heart-to-heart wherein I lined out for him in bullet-point format all the things that occur during the daytime around here, and how, while they may not occur every day, they do interrupt that which I've got on my "I'd Really Like To-Do" list, and push things down the schedule, sometimes right off the schedule altogether!  I explained that my parenting is NOT coddling the children or "perpetuating" the "problem" of their needs.  I reminded him that they are, indeed, still young enough to need assistance and/or intervention, sometimes lasting more than a mere 5 minutes of my time.  I also reminded him that since we do NOT use packaged and prepared food items, all 21 meals and minimum of 14 snacks, not to mention countless loaves of bread and other baked goods are all planned, shopped for, prepared, served, and cleaned up by yours truly.  This takes up (I tracked it last week, just to spite myself) approximately 14 hours of time each week.  Not bad, when you consider that I'm doing this for a family of 5 hearty eaters.  It does mean, however, that while a batch of bread dough is proofing on the back of my stove top, I'm usually traying up cookies or rolls or mixing and prepping pans with cake or brownie batter.  It also means that I'm cleaning, chopping, dicing, slicing, mincing, searing, deglazing, marinating, mixing, tossing, pureeing, sauteeing, boiling, steaming, frying, baking, broiling, broasting, roasting or toasting SOMETHING for 2 hours.  Daily...I don't think he realized that feeding our family in the manner we've chosen required as much time as it does.  In my defense, I don't HAVE to serve "fancy" meals like twice-baked potatoes with our marinated steaks and a fresh garden salad, or broccoli-cheese stuffed chicken breasts and homemade rice pilaf, or that we HAVE to have cookies or brownies or cake on the counter on a daily basis...I suppose I could make the same meals on a rotating basis, a la Peggy Hill...but I just can't bring myself to the idea of serving the exact same meals each week.  I do try to follow a "theme" on certain nights, but do find myself mixing it up quite often.  For instance, we do "Mexican", "Pasta", "Traditional American", "Something Fishy", "Remix", "Simple", and "Use It Up"...so we fairly often have taco pile-ons or enchilada something, the beauty of pasta night is that it can consist of egg noodles in a casserole, OR angel-hair with alfredo sauce, grilled chicken, and steamed broccoli...good old pot roast with veggies, or baked chicken...I like Fish night because I get to do AMAZING things like the Salmon Puffs...mercy were those delicious...now if I just had 12 pounds of butter, and 5 hours to make my own puff pastry without wheat I'd be in heaven!

But I digress...after our conversation (which truly was a conversation for the first time in a long time), BB apologized for not understanding what it takes to keep things running in some semblance of smoothness with at least the illusion that I know what I'm doing.  I told him I was sorry for not telling him sooner.  I also explained that I needed his help with certain things.  He's no longer allowed to come home and just be done. Yes, he gets some decompression time, because I do understand and respect that his job, while not physically demanding is intensely mentally draining.  But he's not allowed to just come in, turn on the ball game and plop down in his LaZBoy and zone out, leaving me to make, serve, and clean up dinner, then make sure the kids have done their tasks, read with Capt and Princess, make sure that teeth are brushed, bathroom is tidied, jammies are on, dirty clothes are actually in the dirty clothes hamper, and that prayers are prayed, songs are sung, stories told, kisses and hugs given and children tucked into beds and THEN come back downstairs and care for the puppy, remaining laundry folded and put away, work clothes pressed, lunches made, floor swept, table set with napkins and silverware for breakfast, Bible Study homework done, all items that can be prepped ahead of time for tomorrow's dinner prepped, then my own self readied for bed and finally tumbling into it often times 2 hours after everyone else only to pop out of bed at 5 the next morning so I can have time to read Scriptures, pray, and then prepare myself physically for my day...

I lined out the items that I wanted him to take back (including YARD WORK done WEEKLY), items I'd like shared equally (without it becoming an "I did it last time" sort of thing), and then asked him what his thoughts were.

He came back to me several hours later with his proposal and we agreed upon a trial period, a contingency plan (his job often requires odd hours, and frequent travel), and came to an agreement on a NEW way of doing things.

I'm hopeful and prayerful that I'll be able to hold up my end of the agreement - that I'll not only work hard (sitting here is not conducive to that by the way), but I'll be able to TELL HIM when I'm overwhelmed or that I couldn't get to things and explain why.

We also chatted about things that are important to me, and what's important to him.  A large part of our issue on this front is that his priorities are different than mine - in his mind, getting the broken down piece of furniture repaired and refinished is far higher on the list than getting the laundry done...so we talked about that, and made a list of where things fall in the priority list - again, a good compromise.

I still covet your prayers and intercession on our behalf - we've a loooooooong way to go, but we're on the right path again, and we're on it together, which is far more important than the speed at which we traverse the course.

1 comment:

Inkling said...

That sounds awesome. And awesomely mature and diplomatic. I would have leaned more to the sledgehammer to the temple kind of treatment myself. If only there were a lovely way to let BB know that he's blessed to have you and not someone else for a wife. You let him live, after all. ;)

Seriously, though, I thought of you while reading something this morning. It talked about how a woman was simplifying all the to-do tasks in her life. She had "must be done today without fail", "necessary and must be done sometime this week", "important and must be done within this month". That way, if her list had ten things on it and she only got five done, she could give herself a break and realize that not all of them were of an urgent status.

I was thinking BB could benefit from seeing that type of list, so he knows you do care about doing those things and are commited to being diligent to get them done, but also understands that you may not get to them in the very next moment.