Let’s start by level setting: I love my family more than I could ever put into words; if you’ve ever seen me with them, I’m sure you know it to be true. It’s in the way I gently rub my children’s delicious cheeks and the stolen glances my wife and I share over the tops of their heads. They are my life’s purpose, my best friends, and all the best parts of me, but sometimes, I just don’t like them (and perhaps have a desire to run far far away). Here are 5 such instances:
1) At the Grocery Store
As a busy working mom who happens to be an introvert with tendencies towards social awkwardism (you like that new word?), the grocery store is my personal nightmare regardless of who is with me. It’s crowded, there are lots of labels to read, I’m exhausted and just want to get some food for my kids so I’m not charged with neglect, and I’m strategically avoiding my kid’s soccer coach and the girl I went to high school with 2 aisles down, all while evaluating which check-out line is the quickest (failing every time). Add in my family to this scenario and you’ve just taken a stressful, but necessary, task and turned it into my personal hell. The kids are simultaneously begging to swing by the bakery for a cookie, grabbing random stuff off the shelves (“helping” they call it), and delivering a 500 word persuasive essay as to why I should let them go to their friend’s house before homework is finished. Meanwhile my wife, being highly extroverted, has struck up 5 conversations with strangers and even chased down the soccer coach to say hi (WHO DOES THAT??!!).
Needless to say, we now have a weekly Peapod delivery.
I daresay I’m a pretty good mom. I’m engaged, silly, approachable, and I even let them discuss bodily functions at the dinner table, but ‘good mom’ makes a quick exit shortly after bed time. By 11pm I should be plopped on the couch with a glass of wine and a bowl of Halo Top, checking emails and binging Greenleaf (Netflix- check it out. you’re welcome). My wife has long gone to bed and the house is wonderfully silent. If this is not the case, the train has gone off the rails and you can be sure that I’m not thrilled about it. Take, for example, the other night when a certain child refused to use the bathroom before bed and woke up crying right around 11 when she found herself in a puddle. By some miracle of science, my spouse never hears these middle-of-the-night crying episodes, so *I* was the one showering a child, changing sheets, and using all my remaining energy to keep the unhappy mutterings inside my head.
3) Rainy Days on Vacation
I love to travel with my family. We’ve been blessed to have gone on lots of adventures and enjoyed each other’s company in some incredibly beautiful locations. But when it rains, and you are stuck inside a tiny motel room with people that you’ve been with for the past 96 straight hours, and you’ve already played the 2 games you have 19798239456 times, there are just not enough deep breathing exercises in the world.
4) When I’m Not Communicating My Needs
I’ve been with my wife for almost 20 years. I feel so close to my children that they often feel like appendages that just happen to be walking, talking, and thinking on their own. However, regardless of the depth of connection I feel with my family, they still can not read my mind. I forget this at times – we all do. I find myself annoyed with my family for doing X, Y, or Z before I remember that I might not exactly have told them what I wanted, needed, or expected. We all fall into the habit of assuming that if someone is not respecting our needs, it’s intentional or that they just don’t care, when most of the time the real culprit is that they don’t know.
(Unless, of course, we are talking about people taking their crap off the kitchen counter at the end of the night because I most certainly HAVE communicated this approximately 789256 times. A week. And that’s why God made garbage bags.)
5) When I’m Not Taking Care of Myself
Related to #4, I have found that when the annoyance with my family starts to escalate, and the negative thoughts creep in, it has a lot more to do with me than it does them. They have their faults (::cough::counter clutterers ::cough::), as do I, but they are generally an awesome bunch. When I find myself short on patience, quick to judge, and looking for faults in others, it’s likely because I haven’t taken the time and effort to care for myself. I start to feel like I don’t like these people whom I’ve chosen to share my life with, but what I’m really not liking is how I’m feeling inside. The funny thing is, once I go for the hike, read the book, or meet up with that friend for a cup of coffee, I start to like my family a whole lot more.