Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ms. Negativity

I’ve been…grumpy lately. School starts a week from tomorrow. Where did our summer go?

Sure, we hit up the pool, the lake, Cedar Point (amusement park on Lake Erie in Ohio) and did a few other things, like ice cream on the porch, lunch on the deck. There are chalk drawings all over our driveway and garage right now.

But I remember the summers of my youth lasting forever. There were long days and endless evenings. The mornings started slowly and we were outside more than we were in. There were cartwheels in the big side yard, swinging on the tire that hung from the old box elder tree. We played in the dirt with matchbox cars and rode our bikes endlessly.

I worry that my kids are missing out.

I worry that I’m failing them.

I’m sure most working moms feel this way and a lot of stay at home moms too. We all worry that we aren’t doing enough, loving enough, teaching enough.

At least that’s what I worry.

I worry I don’t speak up enough when my husband is being especially male, when he gets condescending and obnoxious. It doesn’t happen often but when it does, I shut down rather than call him out on it. Then I feel awful not just for me but for the girls because what am I teaching them? Are they learning that as women our thoughts, our opinions, our feelings don’t matter when compared to men?

I posted some quasi-political stuff over the weekend. My husband’s sister’s husband (so my husband’s brother-in-law?) got REALLY pissy over some of these posts.

I ignored his responses because…well, family and peace. But I felt like shit for doing so. What I wanted to say to him after his ‘not all men!” rant was, “Well, then, of course this post wasn’t about you!”

Something else I wanted to say was, “Okay, so NOT ALL MEN are sexist, rapist assholes. But until NO MEN are sexist, rapist assholes, we all need to step up, speak up and make the sexist, rapist assholes STOP IT.”

Also, “Okay, so YOU are not a racist pig. Great. Awesome. Here’s a fucking cookie. But until NO ONE is a racist pig, we all need to step up, speak up and let racist pigs know that we aren’t going to tolerate their bullshit anymore.”

But I didn’t say any of that and I’m mad at myself for not saying it. And now it feels too late.

I was outside finally painting the dresser I meant to paint over three weeks ago when I fell down the stairs and put a temporary stop to any painting attempts. I was taking the original hardware off the drawers. Tom was hovering around and said something about cleaning the dressers before painting them.

I thought he was talking about the drawer pulls and muttered something about throwing them away because they were ugly.

He replied, “Well, of course you think they’re ugly. You’re pretty negative about everything.”

Which…okay, so yes, I do express a lot of negativity. But, ouch. That one hurt and it made me feel like I shouldn’t be expressing emotion or thoughts at all. And I know that’s stupid. I know he probably didn’t even mean it that way, except, well, that’s what he said.

And for the record, those drawer pulls were UGLY. (How’s that for putting negativity out there? Damnit.) Not only were they ugly but two of the nine drawers had lost their pulls at one point or another so we needed new ones anyway just to make the drawers functional.

Okay, so yeah. That’s a lot of venting right there, isn’t it?


Julie said...

You go girl!! :)

And for the record, that was a pretty shitty thing for him to say.

Swistle said...

I hear you on the dealing with "not all men"-type comments, and worrying about the teaching we're doing when we shut down in the face of maleness.

And that was a mean thing for your husband to say, even if you WERE literally pretty negative about everything. My husband has said things like that too. Once, memorably, after I'd deliberately said ten positive things, and then vented one short negative thing, he said, in a condescending tone, "Now, can you think of anything GOOD to say about it?" (1) He is lucky I did not actually kill him, considering the depth and breadth of my immediate rage, and (2) it made me think that marriage sucks and why do any of us do it, and how's THAT for prompting a negative reaction.

Tommie said...

Thank you both for your kind comments. It helps to know that I'm not the only one who thought both the brother-in-law's comment and my own husband's were a little less than kind.