Wednesday, Feb 6 2008 - Why is she asking ME?
View LYNNABEL's food & exercise for this day
Part of the "interesting" conversation with Steve was the admitting, by me, out loud, that I do not think there is much of a chance of me suddenly shedding my insecurities. If I am the way I am at 34, then I don't think that I will suddenly wake up at, say, 37, and miraculously be a consistently self-confident/secure person. So. If that's the case, I have to figure out how to be myself now and I have to figure out how to keep my insecurity/ies from hurting my relationships.
While Steve has some finessing to learn (he has a tendency to raise his voice that I INTENSELY dislike but that he stops when ask him to and a bit of defensiveness that I absolutely share), a whole lot of our conflict come from my insecurities and limited ability to talk them through. I did decide that I am going to talk them through as honestly as I can, though, with Steve, to the extent it makes sense. Our conversation was a result of differing approaches to money and spending...and less, actually, about the actual differences and more about my assumption of how he will react to me or a spending decision I make.
But - money is only one area that this...assuming and insecurity and poor communication can occur. Lately Will is a minefield for us. His sudden onset of the terrible twos has us both still reeling and we can differ on what we think is the best approach to deal with a particular situation. One reason I think I am so aware of my own insecurities is that I, as a woman, do not have the inherent authority that being a mother generally gives a woman since I TOTALLY share parenting with Steve. Even in families where both spouses work outside the home, the mother still tends (I am generalizing, I realize) to be the parenting authority. In families where the father stays home...unless the father is no more than a glorified baby sitter, there is the potential for this self-doubt on the part of the woman. There is not a day that goes by, however, where I don't recognize how RIGHT this configuration of duties is for my family, or that I would EVER wish for Steve to be less of an involved father, but it doesn't mean there aren't side-effects. My self-esteem is one of them.
Side note - this is how switched our roles are: My mother in law emailed me to see what foods I would need on hand for Will when we go to visit them. I was honestly confused - "Why is she asking ME? Steve deals with food and groceries and cooking." Once I realized that she probably doesn't know that, I felt very flattered to be asked. And, yes, I do know what Will needs - but it shows how reversed we are from standard gender roles.
I also am realizing how important intimacy is. Even when the idea of it seems like a chore and there doesn't seem to be time...the benefits are so important to our relationship. It makes us feel so much closer when we are physically close.
All in all, this maternity leave has been wonderful. We've had some really hard moments, but some really great ones as well.
I am looking forward to a time when the intensity of parenting isn't as acute and constant. (I do realize the challenges will be different later on.)
At church, every week, the pastors pray for "families raising young children" and I am starting to look forward to hearing those words, that blessing, that acknowledgement of the challenges, every week. And I love that my church thinks of that.