Well it's time to relate that story.
The year was 2009. We had moved into our "Bookcase house" as Lemur called it. I had done a hellish cleanse that disrupted the very core of my self. Lemur was 5 and Rivulet was 2.5. Muad'Dib was much the same as he always had been. Our communication was a little off - or a lot off - and I was still in my hopeless "give up attitude."
I complained about just about anything. My biggest complaint at that time was Muad'Dib leaving socks everywhere in the house. It felt like he was wearing eight pairs of socks a day! I felt I was constantly picking up socks! I asked him to put them away himself. When that didn't work, I asked him to leave them in a specific place so I could pick them up. When that didn't work....well, I went and complained to everyone I could think of. I thought it was in an attempt to attain some sort of understanding but evidence in hindsight suggests a different explaination. It's really because I didn't believe I had anything more interesting to talk about and wanted to be a victim for the attention it garnered me.
On one such an occasion, I'm going off on Muad'Dib and how miserable it feels when he leaves his socks everywhere and I was informed that no one could possibly be doing that on accident. " He must be doing it on purpose. In fact, he must be passive agressive and he's really very angry at you for something. I mean, they're socks! Why wouldn't he pick them up when he knows how much it bothers you unless he's trying to hurt you!"
The fact that I took this explaination to heart and ran with it is a testimony to my gone-ness. I am ashamed to admit that I believed this. And even more ashamed that I took that accusation home and hurled it at my husband.
I was sitting on the piano bench in our living room and he sat on the couch holding our sleeping daughter. The conversation went something like this:
"Well, I had a talk with So&So today," I began. I sounded like a parent.
"How was it?" he asks warily.
"Oh fine. But uh. I mentioned you not ever picking up your socks," here I put on my victim face, "and they told me that you were doing it to hurt me."
He says nothing.
"So why do you want to hurt me?" I ask, emotion rising, "What have I done that you feel you need to punish me by disobeying me and disrespecting me and setting a bad example of cleanliness for the children?"
He had begun looking down just as I hit the "punish me" part of the tirade. He continued to say nothing.
"I know I've not been a picnic the past few months," (understatement of the decade, btw) "So tell me what I did so I can apologize and make it better."
He says nothing.
"Muad'Dib?" I say, angleing my head to try and catch his gaze, "Won't you please tell me why you choose to hurt me by leaving your socks everywhere?"
He says nothing. I close my eyes and tilt my head back very much in a "Lord, give me strength" kind of way, tears seeping out. Oh my pain is so dramatic.....
I look back to him and he is looking at me. I will not ever forget the expression on his face. I didn't understand it. He looked.....wounded.
"Wow," he says.
"What?" I ask.
"Do you really believe I am like that?" he waits for an answer for just a moment, but then continues, "Do you know me at all? They're just socks, Sayyadina."
The fact that they were just socks had - literally - never occured to me.
"Then why do you do it?" I counter.
"Because I don't think about it; I think hundreds of other things in a day, but not the socks. I mean - do you think about the tire pressure?"
"Do you think about the amount of dandylions we have in the yard or the number of stamps in the Post Office at night?"
"What about whether or not the water is going to freeze in the pipes? Should I assume that you are trying to hurt me every time you don't think about something I think is important?!"
"What if we both just, you know, take care of things. If it bothers you, you do it. And if it bothers me, I'll do it."
Well, by now I was basically speechless. It couldn't be that simple. He couldn't love me so completely that our marital duties were that simple. If he wasn't trying to hurt me, why was I in so much pain? Why was he so uncomfortable around me if there wasn't anything wrong? It didn't make sense....
I called my Life Coach in tears, needing to talk this out and find a resolution.
And in the course of that conversation he told me that the relationship most people are MOST familiar with is the Parent/Child relationship. He asked if I was being Muad'Dib's mom, rather than his wife. I had no answer. He asked if I put Muad'Dib in situations where he had little recourse but to treat me like his child. And then:
"Have you ever considered that - maybe - so far, you suck at being a WIFE?"
And my consiousness exploded!
OF COURSE!!!! THAT WAS IT!!! That's why I was in so much pain! I was chafing under false premises, ideas and performance.
Relieved to recognize the problem and the truth, I cried. I was so sorrowful for the crappy months (or years) that I had spent not being my husband's WIFE. Almost immediately I felt cleaned out. Because as that truth was owned, I had a change of heart. And it was nearly instantaneous. The godly sorrow was replaced by hope as I shed my past beliefs and mistakes.
I was done being a bad wife. I was going to be an awesome wife.
And I can tell you that within just a few weeks - I had graduated to good wife.
"How, Sayyadina?! How did you become a good wife? What did you do differenlty?"
1. I stopped being his mom.
2. I listened to him.
3. I stopped being his daughter.
4. (and this was a big one) I began living the Creation Plan. Let me 'splain:
It was not two days after the breakthrough that my Grandma sent me a copy of a book she wrote in 1981 called The Creation Plan - a 7 day approach to guilt-free homemaking.
It was the action my revelation needed! I began to really create my home. If it bothered me, I took care of it. I chose to stop resenting video game time. Instead I would sit at his feet, massage his feet and tried to enjoy the art, the action or the story. It's a grand feeling to have a husband declare, "You are good luck!"
I stopped resenting socks in the bathroom by seeing them and thinking "I'm so glad he's alive and married to me!" I changed my attitude for so many other things that today I don't even remember. I became the wife I was capable of being.
And I took responsibilty for myself. I became a woman, a homemaker and a wife that he could trust and count on.
It's now - what - 3 years later. Muad'Dib is constantly telling me that I am an awesome wife.
Why tell you this story?
Because Thursday, November 8th I figured out that I have been a bad mom.
Knock it off. I know what you're going to comment, "Oh no you're a great mom!" "Your kids are lucky to have you!' "Look how well behaved they are!"
My kids are great. They are lucky to have me and they are behaved pretty well.
But that is no indication of me being the mother I'm capable of being. Because that mother - the mother that is the most pure representation of my ability to mother - would more gently and consiously facilitate them being the best humans they are capable of being.
You might recognize this name from my last post: Kirk Duncan. He didn't tell me I was a bad mom. No blaming here. I went to a Body Language Show on Thursday, hoping - again - that he would see me and fix me. Well, he saw me alright.
And what he picked up on - in all the micro movements of my body in the few moments he was attempting to teach me to shake hands - was my intensity.
Over and over he encouraged me, "Be gentle. Nooo....gentle." And when I couldn't get "gentle" he said, "Okay, try happy." I had to shake off whatever madness I was exuding and try again. Then he asked me to say something to the group, which I did by pointing my finger - apparently with truly frightening vigor, because he grabbed my hand and comically exclaimed, "Why are you trying to stab them? They didn't do anything wrong!" Everyone laughed.
Then he turned to me and said, "You have little people at home." It wasn't really a question. I admitted yes, and could feel my heart trying to hide it's shame from Kirk's kind and perceptive gaze (which of course only further fed his informational bank about me). He smiled, put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Well then I'm really glad you're here." And later when I asked how to help my kids he quite plainly told me how, and then admonished, "Help Mom first......Fix Mom first, okay? Will you do this?" I cried, but I also nodded.
Moments. I was the focus of only a few moments in 3 and a half hours - well maybe a full minute if you count my question at the end. But in that total of 60 seconds, Kirk could see it. He could see the fear I held fast in my heart: that I was somehow hurting and holding back my children. And he could see the body language that supported the validity of my concern. Long story short: It's true. I've been a bad mom. And that's okay.
Because just like I'm done being foolish, just as I was done being a bad wife, I am done being a bad mom.
I've just got to let it happen. Just be awesome. Just be a good mom. It's in me anyway. And when flaxen chords hold be back (I cut off 15 just this morning), I will shear them off with a sword of truth. It's going to work out, because I'm awesome and my kids are awesome and as long as we let it happen, we will naturally have an awesome salad of awesomeness.