Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What is Wrong With You?

When my husband and I were getting married we befriended a couple that I met in my running group, that was also getting married and it was the second time for her. I thought they were a couple that we could learn from since she was "trying again". They were going through the Catholic pre-marriage classes (although they were not catholic) and so did the couple that introduced me to my husband. It sounded like a brilliant idea. I think I wanted someone of authority to tell me my marriage was going to work, or to tell me to get out before getting in. I tried to convince Michael that we too should go to the classes, but he would have nothing to do with them. He was so convinced that we would be fine without a marriage "specialist" telling us to "go ahead, you will last a lifetime together". So instead of the classes, we settled on a book- recommended by the priest that was counseling the first couple. It was something along the lines of Seven Signs of Marriage Success, or you know what I mean, right? The book was fine, we made it through all of step one, maybe the first half of the second question when we came along our favorite quote of what never to say to anyone, especially your spouse, our favorite "what is wrong with you?" question. It has become such a funny thing that we say all of the time to each other, knowing how terrible it could seem to someone, especially someone that might have read the book seriously.

So what is wrong with you? I hate to say it, since it sounds like I might be missing all self confidence, but I ask myself this so many times throughout the day. I ask it with a bit of a joking tone, but today these are the times I asked it to myself:

1. Why did I have so much fear when telling my insurance agent of 15 years that I was leaving them for a cheaper rate. My "good neighbor" totally understood, and when I told him what a hard call this was to make and it felt like I was breaking up with him, he felt bad for me rather than trying to ask me to stay. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

2. I promised my two year old a dinner of ice cream for pooping on the potty. Not that this was reason to ask myself the question, but when in the same two hour window of time I had a contractor over for an estimate - I had to ask him to step over a pile of human poop in the middle of her bedroom doorway. And here is the clincher, we still rode our bikes into town for an ice cream dinner. Afterwards when I was carrying the bike home when the training wheels fell off, I had to ask myself the question again. What is wrong with me? Why didn't I cancel the ice cream dinner since really she only started pooping on the potty and finished up during nap time.

3. Why did I carry the bike home? It was a $5 bike from the salvation army. It was cheaper than getting my back fixed from lugging the cumbersom bike. But no, my daughter was convinced that we would never see the bike again if we left it while we walked home to get the car. What is wrong with me? Why can't I be incharge of the kids? I know I'm older, I have more life experiences, but sometimes I just trust that they know what they are talking about, and yes, I would feel terrible if the bike was stolen since she has only had it for a few weeks with the training wheels. This one gets the big What is wrong...

4. I went grocery shopping with a list and I still left the store without formula for the baby....

5. My neighbor had her cat put down today. This cat was her baby- seriously. But rather than letting her have the story, I had to say, but at least it wasn't your husband. I have a friend whose husband died last week.... blah blah blah. What is wrong with me???? I'm not certain why I couldn't just let her grieve for her cat. I just had to have a better story, or a story to try to distract her. I'm such an ass sometimes.

It's been one of those days.

5 comments:

Jayne said...

I can really relate to the part about wondering who is in charge sometimes. I feel that my children look for the slightest bit of self-doubt in my decisions or statements, and then the situation escalates from there. Ultmately, I find myself handing decisions over to them to avoid the fight, and I feel angry and resentful of them for being whiny. Why don't we seem to have more confidence and security in our decision, even small ones, as mothers? I think in part we've decided that there are many more experts out there and we've doubted our own good judgement, or as is suggested in the earlier post, we just want our children to be happy even when we know better about most situations.

marshkn said...

I think it's great that you can laugh at your daily foibles. What a great idea to purge some of them on StuntMom. It's like a confessional! And now all is forgiven. My "what is wrong with me??" list waxes and wanes. If we can see where our actions don't match what our inner voice tells us is the "right" thing to do, and then take it with a sense of humor, I think we're better off than pretending that we've got it all together all the time. It's always a relief to me to hear other people describe things that they can't believe they did/said. It's a reminder that strange forces are pushing us in strange directions sometimes. As a great example (that I know you've heard before, StuntMom), I'll never forget the time that a disgruntled friend and coworker had been reading the publicly available UC salary information not long before coming to a dinner party at my house with other UC staff members. At one point in the evening she, recognizing that she was the lowest paid person in the organization, began to point one by one at people in the room and, with a tone of bitterness, spout off how much they made in relation to one another. It was mortifying. And she felt awful afterwards. And we're still friends. In the words of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., "so it goes." :)

StuntMom said...

I guess it took seeing it written down that has helped me be more confident with my children. I see now that you say it Jayne, I often would let them make choices just so they wouldn't break down and argue endlessly with me. I changed things over the last day after reading your comment and opted to put a little authority in my voice. I almost wasn't myself, I told my kids many times thoughout the day how things were going to go down. "You are not allowed to argue with me, I have chosen for you, and this is just the way it is going to be. Do you understand?" Maybe we are on our way to more order, but we will have to see how long I can hold this position before getting lazy again.

Karen, thanks again for the story about your friend. I'm sure we have all done something as terrible in our lives. It is true friends that can stand behind you afterwards. It's the friends that can't get over it that we really must question.

Anonymous said...

You will really take control when you can make the statement without the after-tag "do you understand." That just opens it up for debate and whining and, ultimately, maybe losing the original authourity. Good luck!

StuntMom said...

Thanks for the comment. I know I will forever have control issues, but I thought you were supposed to make sure your kids understood what you were talking about by asking the question while demanding eye contact. I often ask a question just to make sure my two year old has the oportunity for me to put her little face in my hand and point it at my face so we can get some eye contact and agreement on the issue at hand. Thanks for the vote of confidence. Hopefully one day I will gain control. I know I have it in my somewhere.