My husband has always been really good about taking care of his own needs.
This isn’t to say he’s selfish; quite the opposite. He does a ton around the house and with the kids. I couldn’t ask for a better partner, or father. But he is also adept at knowing when he needs a break, and asking for it. He’ll go out for a beer with the guys, go catch a game on the big screen, or get in a few rounds of golf.
I’ve always encouraged him to do this. I wanted him to be happy and to find an outlet to let off steam that I knew he needed.
But when it came down to doing this for myself? Not so easy.
As much as Jay prodded me to get out and take a break, I always had lots of excuses. And in retrospect, they were just that… a bunch of hooey-laden excuses.
I had to be home to feed the baby. Malarkey. There was a whole freezerful of perfectly good breastmilk waiting to be used.
No one can else can put the baby to sleep. Malarkey. Dad can be just as good at putting the baby down as I was. Maybe even more so, because he didn’t have the distraction of boobs.
There were dishes/laundry/butts needing to be wiped at home. Malarkey. Well, part of this was true. There were mounds of dirty dishes and clothes that needed tending to, but they weren’t going anywhere anytime soon (unfortunately). And my husband was just as good as I was at wiping butt.
The truth is, a big part of me wanted to be the one to do it all. Jay says lovingly that I have a hard time letting go, which is the politically correct husband’s way of saying I am a control freak with a rampant Type-A personality. It’s so true.
I thought I could be the ideal mom, maintain my notion of domestic perfection, and still manage to keep my sanity and sense of identity. In reality, that was a bunch of malarkey. I was swimming in the self-martyrdom I had created, and not doing a very good job of keeping my head afloat.
And one day, it all hit the fan.
One Saturday, Jay came home from golfing after I had had a particularly rough day with the kids. He was in a great mood, and was tan, refreshed and smelled of beer.
Needless to say, I did not greet him like June Cleaver. I was tired, frazzled, and snippy. And admittedly, I was a little jealous that he had been out having fun while I battled the terrible twosome on my own.
My husband took one look at me, and did something I’m still grateful for. He kicked me out of the house. With strict orders not to come back until I had done something fun for myself.
I can’t remember what I did that day. I just know that it wasn’t until I got out that I realized how much I craved and needed a break. Or how much I missed “me” time. I also know I came home happier, slightly recharged, and feeling a bit more like myself.
And ready to tackle those dishes, which were of course still sitting in the sink.
He started a new tradition that day. Once or twice a month, we’ll take turns kicking each other out of the house for a few hours or an evening away.
I look forward to those days. I look forward to reclaiming some of the “me” time that seemed unattainable before. Most of all, I look forward to coming home to the husband that isn’t afraid to kick his own wife out of the house. Because he loves her that much.