|He looks cute, but this little guy is trouble.
Yesterday morning I had to leave the house early – and had meetings that ran late into the evening. Cliff (who, let it be said, is an absolutely terrific dad) was taking responsibility for getting the kids out of bed, breakfasted, and to daycare, PLUS picking them up, feeding them supper and into bed. (Have I mentioned that he’s a really great dad?)
“So there’s ravioli in the freezer, or you can just pick up a pizza for supper,” I said as I was ready to run out the door.
“Don’t do that,” he said back – with a degree of verbal emphasis that took me by surprise.
“Tell me how to do things,” he said. “I can figure out what’s in the freezer or cook dinner. I know how to take care of our kids. And I don’t want to be the guy who need instructions whenever his wife leaves.”
Ouch. I, of course, immediately defended myself: I wasn’t trying to tell him how to do something, I was just letting him know what options are available. And since I’d done the grocery shopping most recently, I had the clearest idea of what was still in the house. It was a public service announcement, as far as I was concerned. Certainly not an attempt to be overbearing.
But once I got past being defensive, I could sort of see his point: he’s a grown man and has always taken his share of responsibility for the household and the kids. Though it wasn’t my intention, it’s demeaning for me to imply otherwise.
So here are my two takeaways from yesterday’s exchange:
1. I don’t want to be one of those people that has to control the household. I’ve known that forever … what I didn’t realize is that I can accidentally slip into it unconsciously. (Or at least be perceived to have slipped into it.)
2. We were both right. It wasn’t so wrong of me to mention what food was in the house. And it wasn’t so wrong of Cliff to call me on my controlling nature. It’s possible to both be right at the same time. The sooner you can recognize that, the quicker you can avert a fight.
2 1/2. Okay, we were both wrong a little too. When Cliff read this account, he said, “Huh. I sorta sound like a jerk (okay, he did not say jerk…use your imagination). Then again, I was kind of a jerk about it. Sorry about that.” Fair enough. We may have both been right, but sometimes it’s possible to express your rightness in the wrong way.
Nothing like learning a couple major life lessons before 8 a.m. And one more thing: have I mentioned that Cliff is a truly fabulous dad?