While I was a control freak after my second child's birth and a bit after my third child's birth I am finding that with three kids, being a control freak just isn't possible if I want to keep my sanity. I think I've had these moments of clarity before and yet I still somehow manage to find those old tendencies come back after awhile.
Since our little man is cruising and into EVERYTHING, I am finding it difficult to get anything done. Mr. Explorer's favorite thing to do in the office is to turn off the computer tower which sits on the floor or open the filing cabinet and start pulling out our old tax returns and showering their contents onto the floor. Of course this gets giggles from him every time. The girls are normally trying to open a childproofed bathroom cabinet to get band-aids for invisible boo-boos. Hence, why I am writing this while all three kiddos are sleeping soundly.
My husband and I were having a conversation the one night while the kids were sleeping (since this is when most of our conversations happen). As much as I would love for him to be a neat freak and pick up his clothes (or actually put them in the laundry) and put his dirty glasses in the dishwasher, he doesn't. If he starts a project, usually I am the one who cleans it up. For the first time I was glad he wasn't a neat freak after seeing things through his eyes.
"You are so not going to like what I have to say but you need to hear it." This is how our conversation started.
"Do I EVER get on you when there are dirty dishes in the sink," he asked.
"Do I ever get on you about the mountain of laundry at the foot of our bed to be folded which I often have to move off the bed to the floor to sleep?"
"No," I replied, "I'll get to it. At least you have clean underwear."
"Will you listen!" And yes, he did roll his eyes at me which I promptly pointed out to him since he HATES when I do that. "Do I ever get on you if the entire first floor of the house is strewn with toys or if there are dirty dishes in the sink?"
"Uh, no and why is that? Doesn't it ever bother you?" I can tell you it drives me crazy and why when the kids are in bed I sluggishly move through the house trying to restore order even though I want nothing more than to curl up in bed. In truth, lately, I have been laying on the couch with the "I'll do it in a few minutes excuse" and I fall asleep on the couch within minutes.
"It isn't important."
"Easy for you to say. I just feel if someone saw our house in the messy state it normally is in they would think 'What does she do all day'? I know you help but it drives me crazy how you grumble when I ask you to do things."
"Do I do them?"
"Exactly. DO I smile while I take out the trash. No! You are never going to hear me say I like to do those things but I do them." He has a point. "These things are all in your mind. You are running around with three kids all day taking them to swim class, changing diapers, cooking, and everything else. They would understand and if they didn't, who cares. These things are not important. Spending time together, talking, these things are important. Whether the dishes are done, is not. Are our kids happy and taken care of? Of course. This is what is important."
"Why didn't we have this conversation before?"
Another eye roll. "We have! You don't listen."
"You get grumpy at night when your to-do list isn't done but your to-do list is never realistic," he finishes.
He's right. About it all. It was difficult to hear but something I needed to hear. I was putting my to-do list above my husband and the chance to relax and recharge and we were all suffering for it.
Maybe I can have him stop calling me Grumpy Mommy now.
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And yes, I did end up doing the dishes right after this conversation since he had mentioned them twice. He helped load the dishwasher though!