Shedding the invisibility cloak.

July 21, 2009 at 9:22 am | Posted in Cheese with that whine? (aka rants) | 16 Comments

Apparently it’s pretty easy to put on an invisibility cloak.

Just have a kid – and a cute one at that.

I sound like I’m complaining. I’m not – not really anyway. For the most part, I’ve never been the sort of person who WANTS to be the center of attention.

Nor do I have the capability of conversing easily with people I don’t know. (In fact, I SUCK at small talk.)

So O is a great attention deflector. Hey – look here! A cute kid! Don’t bother looking at ME to see that I haven’t really slept in weeks nor made the time to weedwhack shave my legs/tweeze my eyebrows.

Just look at the kid- WAY more worth your while, trust me.

The only problem with this strategy?

Is when you get used to deflecting attention away from yourself in your, well, MARRIAGE.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been noticing more that I seem to be invisible to my husband. Until I brought up the topic this weekend, I couldn’t remember the last time he LOOKED at me.

Or kissed me (without some agenda, anyway).

Or told me I looked good.

Or even LISTENED to me when I talked.

And this weekend’s haircut was more because I wanted to scream at him “HEY! LOOK AT ME!!!” moreso than because I really wanted my short hair back.*

To be fair, it’s not all J’s fault.

I am SO tired most of the time. And generally I don’t have much energy to devote on our marriage. To making him happy.

In fact, lately it’s all I can do to get through each day without crashing.

And so. If I have ANY free time, I try and steal it for myself. To decompress and unwind.

So that I don’t have to be ON.

Course, that means that our marriage, OUR relationship, has suffered quite a bit in the meantime.

Because even when we go out on “date nights,” we end up talking about business, or current events, or O. We skim the surface of our lives, never really focusing on CONNECTING.

And this weekend it finally blew up. And J and I had a long serious talk about the status of our relationship.

And as we were talking, I realized just how unhappy I am.

Which was a revelation to me. Because I thought, for so long, that having a family would make me happy.

And I love O more than I ever imagined I would be able to love anyone.

But that love? Doesn’t equal happiness. At least, not for me.

So now we’re in the position of having to WORK at our marriage again, to make things healthy. And work at parenting. And work at, well, work.

And I confess that yesterday, as I thought about all the WORK I needed to do, I was utterly DEPRESSED.

Because I’m not sure I CAN do it all. Be a good mom, be a good wife, work my busy job, juggle errands and chores and summer barbecues and birthday parties and 5ks and visit with all the family and friends we’ve been neglecting… and still leave time for me in the end.

Seems IMPOSSIBLE when you think of it that way. It’s too much.

About the only solution I could think of, this morning during my run, was to let go of the expectations I think other people have of me. And just do what works for ME.

Because this sort of work? Is the most important kind of work there is.

For my marriage. My FAMILY.

*Well, I still DO want my short hair. But I also don’t want a “mom cut.” And there was a point where my short hair made me look EXACTLY like MY MOTHER. And so when my hairdresser suggested the bob instead, I agreed. Out of fear that I’d leave there looking like my mom.

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16 Comments »

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  1. I wonder a lot about this when the time comes. The husband and i have a really good relationship where we communicate all the time, yet once I’m that tired and worn out, I don’t know what’ll happen? How it’ll change? Where it’ll all go? And no I’m not worried we’ll get divorced, but just paying attention to that extra effort is hard sometimes – I’m sure made harder when you’re as tired as you are and trying to balance so f*g much!!!

  2. It’s definitely a balancing act, and that balance can be precarious sometimes. Find the most important things to you and put the focus on those and let the other things slide. It’s okay to do some of those lesser things just good enough from time to time. Just good enough doesn’t make you a failure. It leads to being happy in the areas of life that you value the most. But you’re the one who needs to decide what those areas are that will make you the most happy in your life.

    D

  3. You always hit the nail on the head for me Serenity. If I spent as much time working on my marriage as I do worrying about it, things would probably be better.
    Funny thing is, I think I’M the only one worried about it. When my husband gives me a compliment, I think, How can he miss the bags under my eyes, my poochy tummy, my unwashed hair. The compliment doesn’t really make me feel better, more makes me feel unseen.
    I think you have the right idea about being accountable to yourself first.

  4. I read that 70% of married couples feel dissatisfied in their relationship after having their first child. So, you are SO not alone.

    DH and I are not quite there yet (eta Sept 26th), but I did pick up a book called: “And Baby Makes Three” from my library. I haven’t read it yet but I’m hoping it will have some tips on maintaining/developing our relationship.

  5. Aww sweetie, I totally get what you are saying, and it was the same for us… both after we adopted Kent, and then when the Turtle was born… so we went through it twice… it was differnt both times. What you said about letting go of other peoples expectations of you is exactly what you need to do!! Turtle is 18 months old, and I just recently started getting my brows waxed again, after almost 3 years!! It was horrible, and I knew they looked bad, but it wasn’t a priority like being with my guys and the Turtle was. You will get through this I promise, just the fact that you are acknowledging it is a huge step. Hang in there sweetie!!!

  6. I could have written most of this. I have a really hard time juggling my various roles and feeling like I need to be “on” all the time.

    Irish Girl at Plan B sent me a good book called “When Partners Become Parents” — it’s about the big landmark study of marriage dissatisfaction after a baby arrives.

    D. says he is very happy, except with the lack-of-s-x part. But I feel like it’s hard for us to really look at each other because there is a baby on each of our laps. We’ve had maybe 4 date nights in 8 months, and 1 night away from the girls, and it’s not enough.

    Cookie magazine has a good essay on women looking less attractive after becoming mothers. I could relate!

  7. I COMPLETELY understand. All of it. It’s been exactly the same in our house and the danger is in not having the energy/desire to work on the marriage. I don’t have any magic answers, but wanted to let you know that you’re not alone. Not by a long shot.

  8. We’ve had some similar experiences – we’ve both been so focused on this amazing girl we worked so hard to get, that we’ve sometimes forgotten to attend to each other. I hope it gets better with a little work.

    And if you aren’t happy with the hair cut, go get the rest chopped off. That’s my “pattern” – short for awhile, let it grow, then get fed up and hack it all off. 😉

  9. Serenity, thanks for being so open and talk about topics that most people don’t dare. I know how you feel. When Lyla was born my then husband transferred automatically all the affection to her, all of it. He did in a mean way, almost to make me feel jealous. I went all out and completely changed my look trying to get my attention, and never worked, he had his own agenda, he made me feel invisible, ugly and unwanted. He never wanted to talk about it and when he finally left i felt like the least of the women. I know for sure that is not at all your reality, your husband and you just need to focus again on each other, it is hard, but you guys can do it. Now that I am a single mother I hide behind Lyla, it is easier to be invisible. She is so cute. Lately I’ve been struggling with getting my identity back, not be invisible anymore. You are doing a good job my friend; we just have to come to terms that we can not do it all… HUGS

  10. It’s a constant juggling act!! Constant! Thanks for letting us know we’re not juggling alone out here!!

  11. Every day I go back and forth on what to do. Please me OR please everyone else.

    Do what you need to do to make yourself happy.

    ((HUGS))

  12. ” let go of the expectations I think other people have of me. And just do what works for ME.” Best thing I’ve heard all day.

  13. I also agree that letting go of the expectations you think others have and doing what works for you is the best tihng you could do. You have identified the problem and you and J will work to make it better.

  14. Dude, I hear you about being invisible in your marriage. K and I have to MAKE ourselves look at each other and kiss when we get home instead of running to Cate. Sad, isn’t it? But we do–and even if it’s symbolic it works. KWIM?

    I would give assive and say have a night where you guys go to bed early and just talk and to have date night once a week-but i know those things and we don’t do them.

    BUT we do do these things:
    -hug a few times a week for two mins–timed. I know, it sounds pathetic-but it forces you guys to acknowledge love btwn you.
    -the way you greet each other when you see each other at the end of the day–statistically-dictates the rest of your evening together-so save bad news, criticism, frustration until after the first words.

    It is hard to live up to everyone’s expectations–i know i will never meet them. But you have to live up to your expectations of your marriage–b/c it’s the best thing for you, j and baby o.

    i love the assivce, n’est pas?
    xoxo

  15. To me, it sounds like you hit the nail on the head when you talked about expectations. There has to be give and take. And by that – not just you giving and everyone taking! Definitely some two-way street stuff happening. I’m glad you talked about it so you can identify what’s going on.

    Bea

  16. P.S. Any photos of the new do?

    Bea


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