The other day, I read an article that made me stop and think (ha! actually think! good one, Tanja!). Even more exciting than that, it inspired me to, gasp, do the suggested exercises. Which is pretty impressive, considering the snail’s pace I’m moving at these days.
Subtitled “The traits you dislike (and admire) in others are probably traits you possess, too,” the article asked me (because of course it was speaking to me, personally) to take a look at some of the complaining I do and offered to help me get to the root of it.
I guess you can see where this one’s going.
The article was written by Martha Beck, a life coach I like because a) she’s hilarious and b) she gets to the root of things.
So I did the first exercise, which asked me to write a scathing letter to someone who’d been pissing me off lately. Then, when I was done, I was supposed to cross out that person’s name and insert my own. So of course I realized just how lame I am myself, how I’m not doing nearly enough for the loved ones in my own life.
Oh, that friggin’ thing called responsibility!
Since then, I’ve been wondering if all my hubby-complaints can be boiled down as simply. Are all the traits I dislike in Ken just stuff that I can’t stand about myself? A lot of it, sure. I mean, hell, I don’t wanna clean up this hellhole-of-a-house any more than he does. The difference, of course, is that living in a pit drives me insane, and turns me into a raging bit pull of a human while my chillax hubby happily navigates his way through it all.
It makes me wonder why we women are most often the ones to cave when it comes to taking care of house and home. Is it because so many of us were raised to please? To put our needs last, something to (maybe, if there’s time) be addressed once everyone else has been taken care of?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, especially while reading Ayelet Waldeman’s Bad Mother. She talks about women complaining that their hubby doesn’t do enough with the kids. “Stop complaining,” she writes on pg. 48, “just dump the kid on his lap and take a personal day.”
Why is it so hard for many of us to do just that? Are we really happier buried under a soul-crushing load of guilt when we could be taking charge of our lives? Why are our hubby’s needs so much more important than our own?
The other day, I ran into a friend at a dance class. She was on the verge of tears as she told me that this would be her final class since the rec center would no longer be offering child care during this class. I asked why she couldn’t do the night class, once her husband was home from work.
“He plays soccer at night,” she said. “I can’t.”
I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe she could. Why is his need for exercise more important than her own? What century are we living in? Aren’t we at least partially responsible for keeping ourselves stuck in the dark ages? (Psst: there’s also an amazing invention out there called the babysitter, or kid-swap for those of you lacking funds.)
So that’s what’s on my mind this week. Don’t mean to be snarky about it, but I do think it’s worth taking a look at all the ways we confine ourselves in our lives, then blame someone else for it. (Yes, yes, I am a chief offender here, very true.)
And if you’re interested, click here to check out “6 Steps to See Yourself More Clearly,” the Martha Beck article that inspired this little rant.