obsessing over ruminating on my Ex and his divorce ever since I saw him last weekend. He was the left-ee in this situation – left with the kids by his wife. Every time I think about it, I can’t help but imagine what it would be like if Mr. X did the same thing to me. All I can think about is that I would be without my best friend and how much that would suck. Because, that is what Mr. X is – he is my best friend with benefits. We are each other’s other. Thinking about it actually makes my stomach squeeze up a little waiting for the blow.
We are in this marriage together, for better or worse, and have to weather whatever comes together. When it comes to the kids, though, it’s been hard to put this concept into practice. Inevitably, rather than supporting each other, we are silently blaming the other for not helping enough with the kids or the housework or giving the other enough decompression time. It doesn’t feel like we are in the battle together but in reality are battling each other while fending off the onslaughts from the children.
I finally realized this – it takes me a while these days, what with sleep deprivation and a metric f*ck ton of shit to do every day – when I was asked what thing I would give up that is only bringing me down. I knew pretty quickly: I wanted to stop feeling like I was responsible for Mr. X’s happiness. I was getting very stressed about how I was managing the kids so that they wouldn’t make him more stressed. I was trying to control everything that could touch his life so that it wouldn’t cause him more stress than he was under. You know how this doesn’t work, right? I didn’t.
I told myself that I was being a good partner – I was trying to lighten his burden because he was so stressed all of the time. Of course, what I now realize is that in assigning myself the role of being his happy maker in addition to that the kids and the cats and the office and the clients, we were no longer working together. I was working for him. And when he didn’t appreciate the effort I was putting in to make his life less stressful – because we all know how easy kids are to control! – I would get angry at him and myself for the precious amount of effort I had expended on this monumental and now mostly futile task.
The person to whom I confessed this to is very wise, and also happens to have children out of the insane toddler years. She suggested that we be each other’s resting place. The more I thought about this, the more I understood and appreciated what this meant. Rather than trying to control the external factors of his life to make it more easy, I could instead become the person who gives him that outlet to just be or to recharge. This doesn’t mean I will stop doing laundry or feeding the cats, it just means that I’m not going to stress about trying to make his passage through fatherhood easier. Maybe the happiness I get back from that alone will make him happier.
* And wow, two posts in one month!
** Double wow, I also forgot that I’ve been doing this blog thing for six years – twice as long as I’ve been a mom.