An Admission of Guilt

                                          Some Days, by SevenOlives on Etsy

Internets, I came here to tell you that I’m having a shitty day.

My sister has gone, my house is in chaos, I had planned to write a different post  – one I’ve been writing it in my head for two days – but at the moment all I want to do is throw a little pity party and catalog all of the ways today is a shit-filled box of shitty shit.

Olive’s thrush is back which means that breastfeeding is painful again, and she did not repeat her magnificent mega-sleep last night and I was up three or four times, and I may have made a snide comment about it at some point and then Adam got angry because I hadn’t pumped a bottle, and how was he supposed to help when he can’t feed her?

(And I couldn’t even snarkily retort anything back because yeah, he’s totally right, there’s only so much you can do for a hungry baby without actually, you know, feeding her. So then I was getting angry at myself for not remembering to pump a bottle and putting myself in the situation in the first place.)

I fought with Adam yesterday and played the role of bitter wife-mother-martyr and I’m embarrassed about how irate it gets me that he won’t just do what he’s told, dammit! Or better yet, do things without being told. Like taking the garbage out when it’s full instead of creating a leaning tower of trash which piles up until it eventually spills all over the floor and I have to do it.

I wish he was as bothered by mess as I am – I wish that books misaligned on a shelf caused him the same almost-physical discomfort as they do for me. I wish that 80% of our fights weren’t about housework, it’s so typical! It’s so cliched!

Wife yells at husband for not doing what she feels is his fair share of the housework. Husband calls wife a nag.

We could be any stereotypical married couple in any movie from the last hundred years. How predictable. How horrible.

And because I am a convoluted over-thinking ball of anxiety, after I fought with Adam I watched him walk away and felt immediately despicable. What am I fighting over? Dishes? Vacuuming? I have a man that loves me, has loved me through some of the toughest moments of my life. He’s not out carousing or gambling away our money or wrestling with addictions or flirting with strangers. He works hard and his intentions are good and so what if he wanted to hang out for a night instead of doing chores?

I don’t know how to balance it, I don’t know if I’m being irrational, because as soon as I think that, as soon as I feel a surge of empathy I get an accompanying surge of rage because fuck, I’d like to hang out for a night too! But I can’t relax knowing that there’s stuff to be done, and if I don’t do it, it won’t get done, and simply not doing it isn’t an option.

It’s as though I fear someone will come barreling in through the front door, point angrily at me and yell “Madeleine! What are you doing sitting on your ass watching a movie when your house looks like this?! The dog needs to be walked! Your fridge is empty! And when are you going to get around to mailing those last few thank you notes?”

So instead of cuddling my husband on the couch, I angrily flit around doing, and becoming more and more resentful – of his ability to relax; of my inability to do the same; of the fact that in our society a messy home reflects poorly on the wife but not the husband; of the fact that I, a university educated woman of moderate intelligence have spent I don’t know how many hours stewing over this very issue and still don’t have a solution.

Is this my life for the next fifty years? And if it is, is it really so bad? Seriously Madeleine, people are dying from contaminated drinking water and you’re bitching about gender roles.

Also part of this shitty day is that I hate that I’m sort of shaming Adam on the internet, airing our dirty laundry in a forum where he doesn’t get a say. At times like this I wish this blog had remained private because while it’s very cathartic to vent, these sort of posts are difficult to write. It’s a tough line to walk between being honest and saying that yes, we fight, we have bad days, sometimes I look at him and want to strangle him, and aggressively trashing my husband behind his back.

But it would be disingenuous to write about only the good things- the ways Adam surprises, delights and humbles me. His ambition, his intelligence; how incredible he is as a father- because the reality of marriage is that while you will always love your partner, there are some days where you simply won’t like them very much. 

I am writing about this because I know I’m not alone. I know I’m not the only one who ever feels frustrated by their partner and I have no desire to project a false reality where our relationship is characterized exclusively by sweet “Happy Anniversary!” posts, and funny anecdotes.

Marriage can be hard. Admitting that you are sometimes irrational and controlling and unreasonable is even harder. But here we are. 

Part 3 of the pity party is this: I love breastfeeding and the closeness it brings with Olive (some of my best moments with her have been while she was nursing, inhaling her furry head or feeling her draw tiny circles on my back with her hand) but nonetheless it can be frustrating in the sheer amount of time that it takes and how I end up just sitting here instead of being able to actually do something.

It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that a huge chunk of my day is spent virtually motionless, doing something that no one can objectively measure, ending the day with nothing to show for it (aside from the adorable baby growing chubbier by the day that is, but that’s so abstract- it’s not immediate and satisfying like a chapter written or an empty laundry basket or a clean floor.)

And then there’s a basket of miscellaneous ridiculous #firstworldproblems. I hate all of my clothes. It won’t stop raining. Gus is stinky. All I’ve eaten today is almond butter from the jar with a spoon. We’re out of soap.

So now I’m just sitting here chugging coffee and looking around and hating everything.

I’m letting myself be a curmudgeon and wallow because tomorrow will be better, that’s why it was important for me to write this today. Because not every day is fantastic and I don’t always get along with Adam and sometimes the rote routines of being a new mother feel very limiting. It’s important to acknowledge the shadow side of this new world, but also to recognize that days like this are the exception, rather than the rule.

So. Onwards.

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  • Reply Valerie April 24, 2015 at 9:34 PM

    Thank you so much for the honesty in this post. I recently discovered your blog and have spent way too much time reading it, and feeling jealous of the seemingly perfect relationship you have. So to that end, I appreciate the courage to share the less than perfect parts of your marriage.

    • Reply sweetmadeleine April 24, 2015 at 9:51 PM

      Well, recent events show pretty clearly that our relationship was anything but perfect, but I totally get what you mean. Blogs are tough that way, they are sliver, a slice, and a deliberately chosen one at that. I try to show a balanced view – the good and the bad – and I’m glad it helped round out the view. Thanks for reading 🙂

      • Reply Valerie April 26, 2015 at 9:59 PM

        Hi again, I just started reading, and I like to read things in order, so when reading this post I didn’t know anything about recent events. I am sorry to have made what seems like an insensitive comment, given such recent events.

  • Reply sweetmadeleine April 26, 2015 at 10:11 PM

    No, no! Don’t feel bad – I assumed that when I read your post and it didn’t read as insensitive at all 🙂 I do the same when I discover new blogs – there’s such small joy in settling down and reading through the archives month by month 🙂

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