As I write this, it is the ninth anniversary of “9-11,” and every year the conversation comes up about where we were and what we were doing when it happened.
Our daughter remembers walking in from school while I was ironing clothes. Of course I was ironing, it was Tuesday! If it would have happened on Monday I would have been doing the laundry. Wednesday-cleaning the house. Thursday-volunteering at the kid’s school. Friday-grocery shopping.
I never really thought about it until now, but I was a structured, rigid fool. I thought I had to or our whole house would have fallen apart.
At the time I was very fortunate. I was teaching part time so I had the best of both worlds. I was able to do the job I loved in the morning, and be the wife and mother I wanted to be the rest of the day.
Everyone appeared to benefit from this arrangement, as the house was clean, the fridge was full and I was content. I would run around like a mad woman in the afternoon when everyone was gone and when they walked in the door, I was happy because everything was checked off my list and I was ready to tackle the rest of the day.
This arrangement left the evenings and weekends to tend to our second life of running the kids around and doing things that we enjoyed like hiking, camping, etc.
I know that even though I was structured and rigid during the week, I had the time and opportunity to let it all go and enjoy my life and family. Unfortunately, the unthinkable happened – I had to go back to work full time. It was something I didn’t want to do, but financially it was a necessity.
I was determined not to allow this to change our perfect existence. People would tell me that I wouldn’t be able to do it, but as stubborn as I was, I was determined to prove them wrong. After all I did have “The Schedule”.
I tried to keep with “The Schedule,” but quickly found out that time and energy was a problem. I began to get resentful because I didn’t want to do it all. I was feeling tired and overwhelmed. Doug offered to pitch in but he didn’t want to follow “The Schedule.” He wanted to do things when it was best for him – on the weekends. Those were my days to escape and to be the free and fun person I am capable of being. (John Gray states that men are task oriented and approach chores differently than woman. After work they want to retreat to their caves – not a good time to clean the house.)
For a couple of weeks we followed Doug’s plan and did everything on Saturday and Sunday. It was terrible. I went back to work on Monday feeling exhausted and angry. I didn’t want to follow Doug’s plan so I began taking over the chores at six o’clock in the morning or at ten at night, only to find out that there wasn’t enough time in a day to get it all done.
While I was stomping around cleaning, Doug would be sitting in his chair. Not a good combination for a successful marriage. I became angry and task oriented, and he began feeling guilty, neglected and began to wonder who this person was that he married. From there our marriage just spiraled downward.
Looking back, “The Schedule” wasn’t what killed our marriage or caused the emotional affair…the lack of communication did. We were both feeling the same pain and discontent, but if we would have worked on a solution as a team, life would have been better.
I often say that it wasn’t that we stopped loving each other, we just stopped enjoying being together. We let the resentment and anger take over and we started to blame one another for our stressful, busy lives.
Today our daughter commented that “Mom has become lazy. She doesn’t iron anymore, and the fridge is empty.” Doug, realizing this comment would not sit well with me, said “It’s not that Mom has become lazy, she just has new priorities. She knows what is important now.”
Doug is correct, I have learned that I would much rather spend the time with him than ironing or cleaning. I have learned what is important for my life and my happiness. I have let the anger and the resentment go, and have thrown out “The Schedule” forever.[wlsp_signup]