Monday, June 04, 2007

Knowing When to Shut Up

Today was a "spin my wheels" kinda day. A rainy, chilly Monday following another overly busy weekend. An ADD type of day. An oh-crud-I-forgot-about-piano-lessons sort of day, where one thing got forgotten, another added last minute, and another cancelled, which had me doing the "need to wash my hair - oh wait, no I don't - oh shoot, yes I do" dance of indecision. (For the record, I write with pony-tailed, unwashed hair. :-) This is the sort of day where I sleep just a little too long, when I get that nagging feeling I should get something done - though I know not what that 'something' is. And this is especially the kind of day where my mind wanders in several different directions, emulating my not-getting-much-done actions. And I realize again, tonight, when the usual reading before bedtime seems a bit moot since I've been in evening-mode all day, that my Pisces mind meandering is really something - something frightening.

All day long I'm writing in my head, though little of it gets through to paper. All day long I'm channeling my unschooling voice whenever I'm tempted to throw a big fat hissy fit about the mess on the floor (and on the table, and desk, and counter, and bathrooms, and....). All day long I've got one eye toward the garden and half a wit considering what's for dinner (and why the hell I didn't think to take anything out or - here's a thought - think about it yesterday) while my hands fold clothes. And I look longingly toward the book I'm reading just about the time I realize I'm going to be late to get Jonathan from theatre camp. When puffed-up and needing a good brag, we women like to call it multi-tasking. For me, it's usually multi-daydreaming.

Rob is afraid of the wide-swinging pendulum of my mind. And hell, he doesn't get to hear the half of it. (More like 5% of it - I wanna keep him around, you know.) Since he's been really laid up since his back injury, he actually started cleaning up the kitchen in desperation for something, anything, to do. Now THIS is a shocker. I mean, he's cleaned the kitchen before. By HIS standards. My standards, well, actually include putting dishes in the dishwasher, food in the fridge, and wiping the counters. (Which probably leads one to wonder what he DID do before - as it should. :) So when I started coming home to a clean kitchen, really clean, clean as in "they haven't eaten in the 5 hours I was gone?" - which, for those who don't know my boys, would be a feat worthy of the Guiness Book of World Records - I was happy. SO happy. Now-I'll-stay-married-to-you happy.

And then I made the mistake of saying that out loud. To Rob. I told him how much I appreciated coming home to a clean kitchen. (That was a good start.) I told him it made my day to not walk in and immediately have my eyes see mess and my brain fire *WORK - DAMN IT*. (That was a nice addition to my gushing.) But see, I just don't always know when to quit. I continued with, "When I come home to a clean kitchen, I'm soooo happy. When I come home to a mess, I just want a divorce."


Rob's head jerked up at this new piece of insight into the mind-of-Laura. (Because while he likes my fawning, I'm sure, he had one eye on the baseball game during the previous two appropriately complimentary comments.)

"That's where you go in your head? Straight to divorce?!?" he asked, eyebrows raised, lower jaw dropped.

Well, yeah.

I'm not proud of it. And I'm even less proud that I admitted it. Out loud. I mean, some things are better left in one's head, especially irrational, mind-bogglingly drastic, and stoooopid thoughts like "Yes, your honour, I left him because there were crumbs under the toaster oven. Crumbs!!" He really didn't see the humor in it, and I don't blame him... especially considering it wasn't spoken with even a hint of sarcasm. Just plain, showin'-my-hand confession.

There is a monthly collection of blog posts on the topic of unschooling at An Unschooling Life, where the author offers questions as writing prompts and unschoolers submit writings. (I was a recent contributor with this post.) The latest question (which I didn't specifically address) was How has unschooling changed you? You as an adult? And in addition to all the ways I've become a more peaceful parent, I have to say - it's made me a better wife.

When I'm not talking about divorce over dishes, that is.

But unschooling is about more than education. It's a radical shift in how one lives life, seeing value in all things and being joyful and not succumbing to societal expectations of what is valuable and necessary and cool and acceptable. It's about showing respect and love. It's about honoring others and their needs. And that's just the tip of the unschooling iceberg.

And so I think - I hope - my marriage is better for it. I admit I made the transition to honoring the children in their uniqueness years before it even occurred to me to do the same with my marriage. In the early days I worked a whole lot harder to get my way, until I realized one day that I didn't like a man without an opinion. Go figure.

So I re-evaluated. I remembered that the only way to be trusted is to trust, the only way to be loved is to be loving, the only way to earn respect is to show respect.

I sound like a book jacket blurb for Chicken Smarm for the Soul. And you may notice I have a long way to go in the treat-the-husband-with-the-same-respect-I-hope-to-receive department.

Sometimes Rob likes it when I reveal the odd and secret thoughts that go through my head. Like the time when I told him that unloading the dishwasher is foreplay. (And yes, picture Rob doing a slow bend over and saying, "Hey Laura, I'm unloading the dishwasher now...." in Don LaFontaine's voice. Which happens, like, a lot now.) And when we travel together, just the two of us, and he is especially romantic and I am especially carefree, I am more able to be open and acknowledge how much he makes me laugh and how, really, he's such a damn good guy.

So while I've got a little ways to go, I'm getting better. (Really, I am.) I've been seeing a holistic doc to get my hormones in check (my mood swings were *wicked*, and I finally found a doc who figured out I had a raging hormone imbalance); I've been stopping before I spew any sort of ugliness and waiting for option #2 to come to me (thank you Diana for that nugget of wisdom); and I've been seeing my husband for who-he-is and not for who-I-think-he-should-be. And you know what, despite my misguided ideas in the early years, I like him that way. I like a person who knows who they are. I like a person who lives their truth. And Rob does that. And always did that. And I've finally caught on and caught up.



Silvia said...

I loved this post--you're really funny. :) And I think my mind works a lot like yours--even if I am a Gemini. LOL

Beamer said...
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Laura said...
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Laura said...
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diana-still-evolving said...

Tag! You're it!! 8 things meme

Anonymous said...

I see an underlying laziness here, with plenty of excuses, creativity so no time for what needs to be done? Daydreaming? get over it you are in a wife and mom, not a 10 or 12 year old. Forgetting responsibilities? Good thing you only have two children. Honestly, get over it and get with it. How about a balance? There is time to get it all done and also be a together person. You worry me.

Laura said...

Greetings anonymous, I was going to get all sarcastic and thank you for this morning's lashing, and say that I was feeling a little too organized and accomplished this morning as I made tonight's dinner for my mom and worked on my to-do list and made breakfast for my kids and got things organized for our busy weekend, so I'm glad you took the time to express worry about me and knock me down a notch or two on this otherwise lovely day. But that's not the kind of energy I wish to spread around, especially on my blog. I do believe, however, that posting anonymously is a bit of a cop-out. I share what I'm learning on my journey, you poke holes behind the safety of anonymity. Hard to take such criticism seriously. And then I thought about going into all that you don't know about my life but have made some nasty assumptions about, but that sort of justification is a waste of everyone's time. So, I'll wonder how a post about a down DAY got some anonymous person's undies in such a twist and you can sit back and ponder why you didn't have the courage to use your name, and perhaps when we all meet up again we'll have something nicer to say and more positive to share.

Or, I could just disable anonymous comments...

diana-still-evolving said...

Yeah, Laura, shame on you for flaunting your human ness for the rest of us to relate to! What an awful thing to share with us the *true* you!!
Baaaad Karma anon! Baaaad Karma. Don't you worry your already too full head on worrying someone who is too, well, you-know-what to leave their name on their comment. Shame, shame. (as you know, I'm happy to write an entire post on anonymous comments that piss me off!)
Oh wait, I came here for a different reason... yeah, to tell you I got that book for my birthday and have postponed reading it until today... by page 19 I was sobbing -- *I* could have written that chapter on God. I'm not alone!!
and FWIW, you're not either chickie! ♥

kelli said...

I'm reading the same book right now :) Isn't it amazing?!

And referring to the title of this post, ;) I'm glad you didn't shut up :) It was a great one.

Ren said...

Well dang, I'm coming in late because I usually read your other blog (OMG, the woman has TWO blogs! What a lazy-ass) smirk, smirk.

I was just thinking how cool it is to read about a day you had, that is so similar to some of my days.

I was feeling SO overwhelmed lately, with working full-time and running around doing stuff on my days off with the kids! This is day three of "stay-home-being-lazy-supposed-to-be-organizing-but-not-reallygettinganythingdone!"
HA! I am so distractable myself. I could really related to your post, Taurus though I am.

It sounds to me, like the anon poster just needed an excuse to bash you. Sounds like jealousy because you have a hot husband, beautiful life and fabulous writing skills.

Anyone that had something of value to say, wouldn't be afraid to post it under their name.

You're awesome for sharing the rough moments too.....and I agree about unschooling changing my marriage drastically. One step at a time.

Sandra Dodd said...

-=-I see an underlying laziness here, with plenty of excuses, creativity so no time for what needs to be done? -=-

Some people see the world through lazy, excuse-making, no-creativity glasses. Yet for some reason, that energetic knows-what-needs-to-be-done holier than thou was sitting reading your blog! Score!!

Sandra, a year late and $100,000 short, and yet still happy!!

~Katherine said...

Holy crap. You have been channeling me. Yikes. (eeeeek)

Thanks for writing. This hmmmm... is pisces? But I'm the one with the scales. ;) Literally on my eyes (and no I am not impartially blindfolded or anything graceful like that). See? |P~~

I'm here because I found a link to follow on Sandra's website. Mighty glad to see it (when to shut up)... good to know it.

My captcha is: porsesha