Passionate, Powerful and…Petty

I think most of us can agree that marriage brings out qualities that we truly never realized were buried so deeply. Personally, marriage has caused some of my best characteristics to surface: empathy, compassion, humility, and…pettiness. 

I’d like to think we’ve all “been there” at some point. Maybe it’s 3am, and–although you’re exhausted–you get up with the teething baby for the umpteenth time so that your husband can have a few more blissful hours of uninterrupted sleep. Fast forward two nights, and you’re up with the baby AGAIN…but this time, instead of blessing the hubs with sleep, you’re thrusting the hangry baby into his arms while you storm to the kitchen for a bottle. In the kitchen, you discover that he didn’t wash the bottles like he’d promised {dun dun dunnnn}. As you’re furiously scrubbing, you mumble to no one in particular, “am I the only person who does anything everything around here??”

There are plenty of variations to this scenario that have played out in our home over the last few years. I’m one of those women who tries to do it all, and I *mostly* feel successful and appreciated for it. My husband does a bang up job of reminding me of how beautiful and intelligent I am, plus praising that awesome talent I have for remembering which toddler is eating what that week {and making sure the pantry is stocked full of said choices}.

Then there are the days when I start feeling overwhelmed by all of my responsibilities/obligations/priorities, so I begin making a mental tally of the things I’VE done that week…and the things that my husband HASN’T done. If emotions have been building up from a recent or more specific scenario, I get SUPER petty and start calculating the amount of time my husband has spent hunting, or gone away for a weekend with his buddies this year…down to the amount of hours, y’all. I’m sure you can fill in the rest: wife sees husband and starts with the attitude. Husband has no clue why wife has attitude, which causes wife to have MORE attitude…repeat, until pettiness reaches its full peak and both volcanoes erupt.                                                                             

This, my friends, is called keeping a score card.

And it is the place where your current happiness and good mood go to die.

Not only will it plant seeds of doubt and utter ridiculousness in your tired mama mind–it will steal the joy right out of you. Still wondering how pettiness can be one of my best qualities? It’s easy:

Being petty has taught me one of the most coveted qualities of marriage: the ability to communicate.

I’ll admit–as a high school teacher and mama of two toddler boys, I’m often “talked out” by the end of the day. When I get home and see the mountain of chores that lie ahead, I just start tackling them instead of asking for help. Same applies for grocery shopping, cooking, paying the bills, making sure everyone is happy and healthy, or even just needing five minutes ALONE. As grown-ups, we tend to be on autopilot when it comes to adulting…not necessarily because we mean for parts of our lives to become mundane–but because these things have to get done in order for our families to thrive!

Having unsuccessful communication on issues within your home not only hurts your marriage, but also stunts your children’s ability to express their needs as they grow.

For those of us who strive to “do it all”, asking for help can seem like the equivalent of admitting defeat. In reality, it’s quite the opposite: it gives others in the family a chance to shine! Ask your little one to help put away laundry, and watch their sweet face light up at the acknowledgement of being included! Tell your husband you’d really appreciate him putting the dishes away, and I’m willing to bet he surprises you with a spotless kitchen instead.

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