Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Extinguishing Anger

It's something I know all too well, being angry.  It's the emotion I have far too often and handle the worst.  I am a grudge holder, I fuel the flames and I am happily content to let the fire burn for months.  It's not good for anybody, especially me. 

And lately, I am angry a lot.  I stew on the fact that though I love being a mother, I find it terribly unfair that the brunt of child care falls to me.  In part, this is the reality of being a Mom.  Life as you know it before baby turns head over heels after you have a child.  My free time, disposable income, and the ability to pee alone disappears.  Becoming a mother means you give up a lot, but you gain a lot too.  I don't regret the work I do as Mom, but I despise the fact that my workload is so much more different compared to my  husband's role as Dad. 

On one hand, my husband's schedule and job just don't allow  him to take on certain responsibilities and tasks.   As a police officer's wife (LEOW) there are enormous effects his job has on our family life.  And yet, in addition to the limitations his job puts on him, the reality in my house is that all the inconviences, compromises, and and sacrifices are mine.  With rare exception, if it needs getting done, I am the one to do it.  I am the one to give, plan for it, find a way to work it out, and make it happen.  Me.  It's my joy/burden to bear.

From diapers to lost sleep, outings and errands, bill payments and shopping; that's all Mommy's job and then some.  I take sick leave for fevers, I change dirty diapers and wash dirty clothes.  I wipe 2 types of cheeks and give kisses to bumps.  My evenings are bath time, don't forget the bubbles and baby food, don't forget the bib.  Get out the toys and clean up the toys.  Buy the next size clothes but stay on budget.  Cook dinner and pack lunches, wash bottles and measure formula.  I do 90% of all the parenting alone and thats in addition to my full time job.  It can be a lot.  It can be stressful.  And it starts to make me a mad mommy when I think about all I do that my husband never even has to think about. 

I started to list all the things that I am mad about but the list was just too long.  And really to rant about those specifics is the opposite of what I want to do with this post.  I want to find a way to put away the anger, not by changing the situation because that is not an option, but by accepting the unfairness of it all and moving on.

And today that seems pretty freakin' impossible.

I know that I will be happier, more content, and start thriving when I can forget about the lopsided scales.   Sometimes this is just the way it goes, life is unfair.  I need to accept that.

But I am still mad.

I love being a Mom, even though its hard and all consuming, I wouldn't give it up for anything.  I knew it was going to be my responsibilty to do most of the child care before I had my daughter.  This didn't catch me off guard, I knew raising Reagan would be up to me most of the time.  But now that I am living life as a mom, and I realize how hard it actually is, I get mad thinking how much easier it is for my husband.

And thats where the problem lies.  This is my life.  This is the path I choose.  Yes, it's unfair.  Yes, it can be a hard burden to bear alone most of the time.  Yes, I have every right to be mad.  But that anger isn't helping, in fact it is hurting me and my family life. 

And my beautiful daughter is worth the trouble, energy and time it takes to be a (hopefully good) mom. 
But knowing all this, rationalizing the situation doesn't alleviate my anger.  It still feels like I should be angry.  It still feels unfair to ask not only for me to do so much more, but to accept that situation as well. 

It wouldn't be so bad if my husband really got it.  But he doesn't, and no amount of explaining or complaining will really help him fully understand.  I can not list the things I do and simply expect that to have an impact on him because it doesn't show the emotional and physical price you pay as well.   Reagan is fully into the separation anxiety stage, and though it is somewhat flattering to know I am her current favorite, I would also like to leave the room for one minute without a melt down from her. 

The truth is being mad isn't helping, and the reasons to be mad aren't changing.  Somehow, I have to be the one to change my attitude about it.  I have to accept that it's always going to be unfair and my life needs to find a way to deal with that reality and still have happiness instead of anger.

My husband's schedule is about to change again to working the evening shift, and I start to stress out just thinking about how enormously worse things will be when that happens.  I have a whole new appreciation for single moms (seriously, how do they do it?).   Even though I do a lot, I do still have help from my husband.  It may feel like I do it all but my husband does help and is there part of the time. It could be worse.  It could be much worse, in fact. 

It's my goal to find a way to extinguish my anger.  No matter how justified it is, it's not getting me anywhere and putting out those flames are the only thing I can control.  Though I have every right to be mad, that anger is hurting myself the most. So I'm praying, and I am practicing my deep breathing.  I can do this.  I can do it happily.  I can choose to feel differently about the situation.  I can accept things the way that they are because it will make me a better mom to stop keeping track of all I do and make me a better wife to stop evaluating the burden of parenthood.    I'm not there yet, but like Dory I am singing "Just keep swimming". 

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