Learning who I am and drawing boundaries...

Hey all,
hope everyone had a good day.  I did.
Me and my co leader took our troop up to the Denver Zoo for a day of fun.
They earned it and with the cookie money they earned by selling cookies, they paid for EVERYONE.
Their families and siblings...you name it.
It was a nice day.
I have been so busy this last year.
I think I mentioned in a previous post that my bill paying and house cleaning had slipped.
Well, My husband has been complaining lately.
Not that I blame him..but I am lucky if I spend an hour or two on the house a day.
I keep it manageable but not anywhere like I would like it.
So, Tonight he gets up and is doing dishes.
I hadn't had a chance to last night or today.
Last night I was getting ready for our trip to the zoo and today I was at the zoo.
When  he 'helps'...well, he helps with a critical spirit.
I am a lot of things....impatient, tunnel visioned...
But I Have a "Thing".
I don't tell people HOW to live...
and if I choose to help,
I do it with pure intent or I don't do it.
I don't help to make people feel small.
I don't give unless I can forget it the next day.
God discerns the intent.
God says "never let your left hand know what your right  hand is doing'.
Meaning, don't do it for self glorification.

I don't tell people HOW to spend their time.
Not even my kids unless it's absolutely necessary.
I don't believe in pushing my vision of what I find important off on others.
My oldest daughter asked me once, Why she and her sister are so different.
I like to think it's because I did a good job at being a mother.
I encouraged them to be WHO THEY ARE.
Now, there are basic things...compassion.
That's not optional.
Not optional.
The rest.
I hate more than anything, someone telling me how I ought to prioritize my time, telling me how to spend my time and who I OUGHT to be.
As long as I am getting it done...I'm good.
For the last year, I have been getting it done.
Minimally, but done.
My husband has chosen to not do many things that I have chosen to ignore.
Things like take care of the yard except for mowing the lawn.
In point of fact, he does next to nothing around the house...
A fact a good friend can attest to.
It didn't bother me.
He works full time and has no objections on how I spend money..
So I had no objections on how he spends his time.
Well....he has become quite critical as of late with me about housework.
When it is no worse than it ever was.
I think it has something to do with my getting better looking and some insecurity.
He says things now like;
"where were you"
"Why are you putting on makeup."
Well I quickly confronted him about his critical attitude regarding how I spend my time as of late.
He said "I never used to have to worry about you because you were...."
I am like...
He's all "Yeah...
"But still, I do want to get the house in order."

Which I understand...but that it was my house too.
And he could touch anything that wasn't mine.
He looked stunned.
Then he said.."What's yours?"
I said, 'My clothes, my makeup, my art"...etc.
I said 'You run over people to get your way when you get angry.'
"But I am drawing the line at my stuff."
Since I knew it was me he was aiming at...we got down to it pretty quick.
Then we finally had a conversation about what we want and don't want in our marriage.
What I am good at and what I am not good at.
YOu would think we would have had this discussion before..
but we spent the first fifteen years with him gone about 8 or 9 of it deployed...and that is not an exaggeration.
The rest, he was home but working 12 hour days.
Then he got out and had some ptsd and we had to deal with other stuff.
Then he went through some period of withdrawal...then he gave his kidney and had a little setback, and now we are finally starting to settle into a semblance of a 'normal' marriage. lol.
So, now the normal stuff is here for us to deal with.
I have accepted Tim right along.
I accept who he is..trying to change someone is a recipe for heart ache.
He has either idealized me or tried to change the things he couldn't idealize.
Well, I used to accept that, now I confront it.

I will NEVER be good at housekeeping..to be good at it you have to take some joy in a shiny toilet.
God bless the folks for whom that is true...but it ISN'T ME.
I like a decent house...a house I can be proud of.
But "getting the corners" has never been my strong suit.
I am most proud of the fact that my children can voice their opinions, be confident in their identities and express themselves.. I am proud to KNOW my children.
I am proud of the fact that I have a no nag policy with my husband.
I am not his mother.
I have never nagged him to quit gaming.
I have never nagged him to quit chewing or smoking.
I have never nagged him to quit drinking.
I tell him what i will and won't do.
He makes his decisions from there.
The only person I can control is me.
I am proud to be creative, and flexible, open
 minded and adventurous.
My kids have clean clothes.
They have food on the table and in the fridge.
They have a living room that is decent.
Their rooms need work. ;o) 
But man, they know who they are.
I spent years wishing I had other people's gifts.
Some people are super organized.
My friend amber.
Really good at getting all the ducks in a row.
Well, this year I learned something.
I can't get the ducks to line up..
But I can talk to them and get them to dance.
I am good at learning about and talking to people..
Kids, adults, it doesn't matter.
But telling them how to be...Not for me.
I would rather talk to somebody and watch them figure out what they want for themselves.
For me, there is nothing better.
I would be cruise activities directer...or counselor.
Not captain.
But, learning good habits isn't such a bad thing.
I think Tim is right.
I need to simplify.
I am never going to be one of those people who has china and real silver..or antiques...
I am not that into my house.
I would love to decorate other peoples though. lol.
For me, a home should be comfortable, and something to come back to...
After you go and have adventures.
What I really want is a hobbit hole.
A place to sit and read.
A place to store my art supplies and to draw.
A place to eat, and a place to sleep.
A place to sit and have card games.
I don't want a show place.
Walls are there for a reason...to show REAL art.
Art that has meaning...If I could, I would cover every square inch of my walls in art.
A house with nick nacks and froo froos.
It doesn't suit me. and it doesn't suit tim...
It's nice getting to know yourself.
I can  work on it.  The organization thing.
Part of me rebelled when I left my mom's  house.
NOTHING was ever out of place in my mom's house.
I have a picture, taken in my mom's house.
In it you can see a footstool in the background.
It's made of Naugahyde..It SHINES in the background...she washed it till it shone.
She never spent time talking with us.
I remember sitting out in the living room watching the wizard of Oz with my brothers and she would be in the kitchen wiping away non existent stains from the cabinets.
The most frequent sentence my mother said to me was:
"I just don't understand you."
I didn't want that kind of relationship with my kids.
I would like them to be a bit more organized.
It's something I can  help them work on while I work on it too.
Well,  have a great night guys.
It's back to the gym tomorrow.


Kim said...

Wow, ok, you and I had very similar arguments with our husbands tonight and good golly your husband sounds so much like mine. Chris, I hope my bad joo joo didn't rub off on you...b/c this crap is knee high in my home right now. You just said the things I wish I had've thought to say, but I'm never very good at defending myself against him b/c I never think about the good things I do. Thanks for this...I so needed to hear it and I sympathize totally. You and I sound so much alike too especially when you talked about cruise counselor and not being captain. That is me...all the way. ((hugs)) to you...hell..hugs to both of us chic.

Julie, The Accidental Fat Chick said...

Wow, I feel like I could have written this post... so much of what you describe sounds just the way things are here. I totally get what you're saying about not having the conversation with your husband about what you do/do not want in your marriage sooner. We are just headed into deployment number eight (or nine) in the last 15 years... and yep, when he's home he literally works 12-14 hours, six days a week. Its insane and makes it sooooo difficult to have a "normal" marriage. I think what you've done in the last year is amazing & you've done a fantastic job of "getting it done." :)

Rettakat said...

I tend to think a LOT of us have this kind of shift in the dynamic of our relationship with our spouses.

When one partner changes, it MUST affect the other, no way to avoid it. And when they don't really want change (like mine) it's hard.

They aren't used to us setting boundaries, drawing the line, sticking up for ourself. They aren't used to dealing with someone with that much self-respect self-worth!

It's got to be hard on them... yet I won't go back. And I know you won't either. I am trying to be patient and understanding... but I will NOT go backwards.

Let's hope they eventually like the new us's and learn to appreciate the changes in the long run!


Anonymous said...

What a day Chris. While it probably won't go down in the books on the top-ten list, the "talk" will probably make for far better days ahead.

Anonymous said...

I so hear you on not being Suzy Homemaker. I wasn't when he married me, nor will I ever be.

But like you said, there has been art and music and baking cookies and dancing, thousands of more important memories the kids will take away (not that the toilet bowl shined).

I absolutely think you have your head on straight. Jo

Alexia said...

hey chris. you'll get more organized. that's the easy part! and i love what you said about your children and compared it to your relationship with your mother. you mother is more like my mother...for some reason is she convinced that everything i do is some how related to her. as in, when i cut my hair off she said, "how could you do this to me?" crazy huh?

Shae said...

When I die... people won't remember if my house was spotless or not. There are more important things in life. I choose to spend the majority of my time with my child. The house (and the mess) will still be there at the end of the day. I wish I could talk to my husband. You are lucky that you can.

TJ said...

Sean never notices when the house is messy. When I had a bad week (pain wise) I was unable to clean the bathroom floor- it is a HORRIBLE white linoleum that shows EVERY lil bit of fuzz, hair or dust and I asked him to get the hand vac to at least sweep it up- he did not see the mess??!!! This made me laugh because is Mother is OCD and cleans 24/7. I see it, and he does not. WEIRD!

Good for you for talking to your hubby- and for not pushing him to change. :)

karen@fitnessjourney said...

My mom, a total neat freak, once made a comment about her sister-in-law: "People might say Lynn's house is a mess, but she has the biggest heart of anyone I know."

I think that was her way of pointing out that she might need to reexamine her own lifestyle. Personally, I think it's 100% more important to have a great relationship with your family than a sparkling clean house. Those scouts couldn't have raised all that money to have the trip to the zoo without you as their leader. If you were home spit shining the silver, that wouldn't have happened.

Putz said...

all you girls ought to be married to me>>.the putz>>>.i am a slve to the house cleaning>>.did cleani ng all my life{my employment} and now i let the wife who only spends an hour a week in the house go to parkcity for 3 days to play, and don't ever expect her to clean my house>>>>and i am great in bed

Putz said...

oh dear, i meant i MAKE A GREAT BED

cmoursler said...

I will bet you are great at 'making the bed'.

Bringing Pretty Back said...

I completely understand what you are saying.You and I are alot alike!

MargieAnne said...

I try to think of myself as lucky. My husband has taken over the house since he retired and Nags Me!

Reversal of roles was not on my agenda.

I turned to Blogging.

I admire your communication skills. I gave up and most of the time quietly live my live and we have some kind of harmony. I woke this morning wondering why our life is like this.

My answer to self is, 'He made a decision long ago which means we will never have the best relationship.' I live with it as best I can and we are good/best friends and sometimes lovers.

Our marriage is based on compromise but he doesn't get it. He has no idea he broke my heart but not my spirit. I have boundaries too.

Even so I'm lost without him. Every day is a new adventure and more so when one of us makes lifestyle/spiritual/emotional changes. It's called growing-up and it's usually painful.

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Tammy said...

You and I are different in that I'm OCD, keep a pretty clean house (not spotless, I hate to dust), but the dishes and laundry are always done, bed made, toilets scrubbed, etc. Due to the OCD I have to have organization or my brain nuts up on me, lol. Kind of paralyzing actually, OCD is SO not fun, lol.

I'm soooo impressed with you confronting your husband on what you will/won't do. I'm even more impressed in that you're exactly like I am with Dwayne when it comes to a "no nag" policy. I made the decision to be that way many years ago, before Dwayne, just from watching my cousin Veronnica around her husband John. Good Lord I don't know how he put up with it as long as he did...there were so many times I wanted to tell her to shut the hell up myself! BTW, they're now divorced, lmao.

I think it's awesome that you've got such a great relationship with your kids, and sad that you didn't have such a close one with your own mom. Sounds like you're doing right by your own children though, and that's a wonderful thing. :)

bbubblyb said...

Great post Chris!