Where’s Your Underwear?

Posted on | December 5, 2010 | 11 Comments

I should probably not be writing this post, in light of several of the readers I know I have, but let me just say that if you are not interested in reading this… don’t read it. I’m going to talk about something that’s weighing on my mind and I don’t want to offend anyone, but I need to get it out. So if you are my mother, my mother-in-law, or any relation whatsoever, please stop reading now.

Who wants to bet they’re still reading?

Oh well… you were warned.

One day last month, my husband came home from work in a foul mood.  I had had a horrific day at work where a partner basically rained down the fury of the billable hour on my head. We were both tired and stressed out and frustrated. Tempers escalated for some reason, who knows why. Maybe over something serious like unloading the dishwasher or changing a diaper… who knows. But in the midst of our argument,  he decided to tell me that he dreaded coming home every day.  Every. Day. 

He then told me he was miserable at home and didn’t think he was even cut out to be a father. He told me that he missed “his life.” He missed being able to do what he wanted without having to “put someone to bed every night.” I told him I didn’t know if I wanted to be married to him anymore. I told him he was ruining J’s childhood. I said things I’m too embarrassed to admit to saying. And then, when I felt like my heart would shatter, he said he had to get out of our house. He went for a drive, I don’t know where.

Once he was gone, I must have gone into survival mode. I pulled out a bag. I packed an outfit for J to wear to daycare and most of his books and small toys. I packed something to wear to work the next day and my make up and toothbrush. I sat down on the floor and hugged my sweet dog, promising to come back for him but knowing that I’d have a hard time getting a decent hotel room with a dog. And then? I left.

It was after 7:00 at night and I just left.

I had no where to go.

I live 5 hours from my family. I live farther than that from most of my friends.

I called my sister repeatedly, begging her to be home. I called one of my best friends and sobbed my eyes out to her.  Midway through our conversation I realized something and I announced, quite dramatically, that I had left home without a single pair of underwear. And my friend, my dear, wonderful friend, without missing a beat, without apologizing or commiserating or any nonsense at all, said:

“That’s why Walmart is open 24 hours.”

And for some reason, that little dose of sanity made me crack up. My husband and I had a terrible fight. A terrible fight. And he had left to cool off. And I had left. With his child. Without my underwear. I couldn’t stop laughing. I could just see myself rolling up to the Walmart at 8 pm with a screaming baby to buy some crappy granny panties. No thank you. The image made me laugh. Suddenly, the whole thing was very Lifetime Television and very hilarious.

And then? I drove home.

Because ultimately, I love this man with every ounce of my being. He drives me to drink, honestly, and there are some days when I want to shove an ice pick in his skull. But I love him. And he’s a good father and an even better husband… even if he doesn’t think so most of the time.

So I came home to a frantic husband who, as it turned out, had left to go buy me a bottle of wine to apologize. Together, we put our son to bed. And then we sat up and talked about how ridiculous we both were and how we needed to work harder to open the lines of communication in our marriage. Being parents, it is so easy to forget to be spouses. We get so wrapped up in doing things for J that we forget to do things for each other.  It was a bad night. It was a really, really bad night.

But since that night, that ridiculously insane night, we have been working extra hard at being the people we are meant to be. We have been working to do things for each other and for ourselves. We have been working so hard to treat each other with love and respect and with the admiration that we have always felt for each other.  We’ve been working to show each other how much we love and admire each other by doing more than just saying “I love you” when we leave the house or get off the phone.  Marriage is a job. And it’s an easy job to forget when you’re working both outside and inside the home. It’s easy to put your marriage on the back burner because you think it’s more important to be a mom or a lawyer, or whatever other title you’re carrying around. But since that night, I’ve realized something pretty important: If I work at being a wife, somehow the other things just fall into place, too. By being a wife to my husband, and him being a husband to me, I feel better about my role as a mother. I feel better about coming home at the end of a long day. I feel better about having long days because of the promise of coming home.

And you know what? Something amazing has happened. With all our work to open up communication and to try to be more honest and respectful of each other, we’ve become so much closer as Husband and Wife. Not only that, we’ve become better parents to J. We’ve become the type of parents I always wanted us to be… parents who can teach our son how to love and respect not only other people but also himself by simply loving and respecting each other.

Sometimes, I think you just need a little perspective. Sometimes, you just need to shake things up a bit. Sometimes, you just need to realize where you keep your underwear… because ultimately, that’s where you make your home.


11 Responses to “Where’s Your Underwear?”

  1. Raising Madison
    December 5th, 2010 @ 5:19 pm

    Hugs. Honestly sometimes I think that needs to happen. I can count on one hand the number of really ugly fights I've had with Clint, but out of them has ALWAYS come something good. I've taken Madison to my parents before and by the time I got there all I did was ache to be home with my husband.

    Being married is hard. Being married with kids and stressful jobs is even harder. I'm so glad you two were able to come together.

    For the amount of times I think "my God I married the biggest slob on the face of the earth" I've thought ten times more about how lucky I am that this slob chose me and loves me & our daughter so unconditionally that it hurts.

    sorry for the rambling.

    lots of love!

  2. cbsmom.com
    December 5th, 2010 @ 5:22 pm

    thanks, for the reminder and the assurance that normal isn't always pretty

  3. molly
    December 5th, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

    See now? Don't you feel better getting that all out in the open? I think you should.

    I was worried for you the other night on Twitter. But what a good "ending" to this very hard night.

    I can honestly say that with the birth of our first son, my husband and I's marriage grew 100% stronger. I couldn't believe how easy it was.

    Then, I had a surprise pregnancy, lost my job, struggled with money, couldn't sell our home, found out baby #2 was a boy and that he might have Downs Syndrome, and subsequently fell into another depressive episode in which I had to medicate myself WHILE pregnant to get out of the black hole before the baby arrived. The list of problems seemed endless. And I think both of us secretly questioned whether this wouldn't be the event that would end our perfectly strong bond.

    After B was born and I was out of the woods with depression things were only okay. I will admit we fight more now than we ever have. Before B arrived I think we had maybe 5 fights and they were all about stupid stuff that didn't matter. Now even though the fights are still few and far between that are about REAL stuff.

    How tired we both are. How our sex life needs a jump start. How money is handled. But I think it's better to argue over these things than it is to leave things unsaid. If my husband is unhappy I want him to TELL me. Not sleep on it night after night until he reaches his breaking point! We have to communicate and not shut down. Because shutting down means the end.

    We have to remind each other that it's not always roses and fireworks and proposals and wedding dresses and making love. It's not a honeymoon. It's real life. But it's truly what matters. And he's my soulmate. Even though it's difficult sometimes.

  4. stark. raving. mad. mommy.
    December 5th, 2010 @ 6:44 pm

    This is a GREAT post. You deserve both thanks and congratulations for writing so honestly and beautifully.

  5. KLZ
    December 5th, 2010 @ 6:55 pm

    Can I tell you how much and how unabashedly I love you? You are just the bravest person I know.

  6. Ms. Diva
    December 5th, 2010 @ 7:10 pm

    Being a parent is hard work!! Being a step parent……we have had more fights about yours and mine…. silly stupid things. Then one day we woke and realized we were not going to let the kids beat us. In six years the youngest will be 18. Given the fact that although I love my mother to death, I do not speak or see her everyday. I am assuming the same will be true for my kids. And we, hopefully, will still be us for a very long time. So, we have a few date nights a week. (Our kids are older and don't need us around 24/7). We work at keeping the strongest relatonship in the house ours. I love my kids but I truly cannot wait for them to be adults.

  7. Eliza
    December 5th, 2010 @ 7:39 pm

    You are so amazingly brave, and I love you for writing this. I am too chicken shit to post something like this because I know my family reads it! But this was just an awesome post! Thanks for keeping it real!

  8. Elizabeth Phillips
    December 6th, 2010 @ 2:11 am

    Ahhh, honesty. I find being married difficult because I have a will and so does my spouse.
    You may find the following encouraging. When being interviewed about her marriage to Billy Graham, Ruth Bell Graham said the following…"Did we ever consider divorce? No. Murder? Yes. But divorce, never."

  9. lunablue
    December 6th, 2010 @ 5:19 am

    you are awesome

  10. Liz
    December 6th, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

    Thank you for the honesty. My husband and I have really struggled since the birth of our daughter and only in the last week or so have we really started to take steps to make our relationship a priority.

  11. Mama Fisch
    December 6th, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

    This one like most of your points hits home. My husband and I are just "wired" differently. He is so relaxed. So, if the menu for the week isn't done, the dishwasher isn't emptied or the floors aren't swept he doesn't care. And I DO. But, I realized that when I do all those things he feels like spending time with him is not a priority. But it is. So I do. And then he helps and we are all better for it. Good post momma!

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    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
    Based on a work at http://www.law-momma.com.
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