Thursday, June 15, 2006

The "honeymoon"

I told our visitor the other day that she should not think that life in our house was always the way it seemed right now. Sometimes it is downright unpleasant. She asked how and I said, "Well. Sometimes I do get angry." She looked at me with a combination of disbelief and fear. I quickly reassured her that it did not happen often and that in our house we only used words when we were angry.

The conversation made me reflect on how careful I am to be "good" when the kids are new.

During the first week I find my carbon steel, wooden-handled knives my mother-in-law bought me in France in the dishwasher and I say, "Johnny? Thanks for loading the dishwasher. I really appreciate it. These knives though have to be handwashed." A month later I hear myself yelling to the house in general, "Who put my good knives in the dishwasher again! You all know better!"

I do all sorts of things differently without really realizing it. I spend fewer hours working. Though I don't spend a lot of time out with my friends, I spend even less with them during the honeymoon. I think about whether the new kid is bored and I offer to purchase art supplies or loan them my library card. I cook foods I think they will like.

I am the most patient, understanding, firm-but-gentle mother in the whole wide world.

All of that is part of who I am. It is not an act. It is not, however, all of who I am.

A month later I will wake up in a snit and snap at people for no good reason. I will go out with my friends leave the boys (husband included) to take care of themselves. I will yell just a little too loudly, "Do NOT take that sandwich into the living room without a plate!" I will sit with a pile of work to be done and I will impatiently tell a kid that I need them to give me the SHORT version of this story so I can get back to work. I will even do things that are worse than this.

There is less of a gap between my extra good behavior and that of the kids. Or at least it is a different sort of gap. I work harder at my job; I don't start cutting classes. I may go out with my friends again, but I don't stay out all night or get drunk. I get have bad moods and sometimes say things I shouldn't, but I don't rage or hide in my room for days.

Still, it is helpful for me to remember that it is not just the kids who honeymoon. We all do.

1 comment:

  1. Lady, you described me to a T. I soooo recognize what you are saying!


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