Jake and I love each other, but we communicate like napless toddlers at dinner time. As a couple we have a few forces working against us. The first, and most complicated issue is I’m a stubborn woman. I want what I want when I want it, and if you come in-between myself and my mission may there be mercy on your soul. The second force not working in our favor is we were raised very differently, and now we are trying to combine those values and traditions into one family to raise children of our own. Lastly, if mommy doesn’t scream it’s as if she has said nothing at all.
Jake has told me on multiple occasions he fell in love with me because I was mature for my age, and taking care of Saylor alone. He fell for me because I was responsible and dependable. Little did he know that the trait he fell in love with would be the same trait that drives him up a wall. Jake caught my eye for the exact opposite reason. He was the adventure in my routine world. I was drawn to his care free and go with the flow attitude. One would think we balance each other out, but that’s not exactly how it has worked…
Let’s take a look at the bitch factor. I prefer to call myself a strong willed woman, but let’s be real. If mom isn’t happy, ain’t nobody happy, isn’t that right, Jake? However, I am very upfront and clear about my expectations. Over the past three years together I have learned that specific directions are very important. For example, I now know to specify which shelf in the fridge the mayo is on, and would never expect him to look through the entire fridge, or God forbid move something to find it. I also request things done the first time using my inside voice, and make sure to use “please” and “thank you”. My trouble is having the same patience when I’m requesting something to be done for the 38657636th time.
Which brings me to my next point, our upbringing. I was one of four children. I have a half-sister, and two step-siblings. I come from a blended family where everyone pulled their weight. My mother, father and step-father are all retired after 20 years in the Navy.
My sister and I shoveled dog shit, and my brother did dishes. We all had daily chores, and we cleaned up after dinner while the adults had “adult conversation” elsewhere. We were loved and never went without. We were all spoiled on holidays and birthdays, but we were expected to pull our weight in the household daily. Jake is an only child. He is his parent’s world. He was raised by the most loving and selfless woman I have ever met. With that said she has taken care of Jakes every need since day one. Until he moved in with me at age 23 she packed his lunch, made his bed, and happily did his laundry. She is a superwoman, and I envy her ability to complete those tasks for her husband and son with a smile on her face. However, that is not how I roll.
So this morning, as I am weeding through the mountain of laundry I try to remind myself about all the times Jake’s care free attitude has brought me joy. I try not to think about him willingly offering to put it away 3 weeks ago, and yet here it sits. I’m going to leave it there until he gets tired of fishing for clothes because I’m trying to prove a point. I try to remind myself that he will someday learn to follow through with his good intentions. I try to keep my blood from boiling as I ask him to check the propane for the 5th time this week. After a long day at work, during his vacation week I try and smile as I come home and cook dinner. He is nice enough to rinse out his own plate in the sink, but leaves the dinner mess for me.
There is only one volume level that gets shit accomplished in our home, and that is loud. I can ask ten times for the trash to be taken out, but it’s the eleventh time that rocks the neighbors, and I hear “Why are you screaming?” mumbled on the way out the door with the trash. Why and I screaming? Because I’ve asked politely ten times with no results. I can either scream or start throwing the overflowing garbage at you, which would you prefer? If he’d listen the first time, all hell wouldn’t break lose.
In a perfect world love would be enough. This is not a perfect world. So instead Jake spends half of his time wondering why I’m bat shit crazy and fly off of the handle about laundry because after all it’s just clothes, and they will still be there tomorrow. And I spend half of my time wondering if I have three children instead of two. We both drive each other insane. He thinks I’m a moody and impatient woman. I think he is immature and unappreciative. He expects me to do his laundry, and cook his meals because that is what a woman has always done for him. I expect for him to help with the dishes, and clear the table because that is what I saw my father doing growing up.
The comforting thing in all of this is WE ARE NOT ALONE. Apparently, our battle is pretty universal. We will continue to drive each other crazy, and I will continue to vent though writing. Some things will not change. But I am hopeful. I am hopeful that next time I’ll only have to ask for the trash to be taken out nine times, not ten. When he got down on one knee he meant forever, and so did I. I might want to strangle him, but at the end of the day he is mine to strangle. I wouldn’t want it any other way.