Today Leeton and I cleaned the house together and I didn’t castrate him, emasculate him, disempower him once.
I know this isn’t something that should be worthy of a pat on the back, but I sure believe it’s worthy of a mention.
Because this is the first time I have noticed how I treat him even when he sets out to help me.
How often I would criticise the time he took to do something, how not enough he was when completing a chore I decided I needed to let him know I could do better, how often I would crack the whip if he ever took a break or answered his phone while ‘we were supposed to be cleaning’
I never thought much of it at all.
How little motivation I allowed him to have to help out.
If the shoe was on the other foot you can bet your bottom dollar I would have literally castrated him.
But the shoe wasn’t on the other foot.
He was just home and doing something to help out and I consistently took it upon myself to make sure he knew that I would have done it better than him.
That’s his efforts would never be enough because he could always have done it better.
My insecurity in my role as house wife, that I decided I wasn’t living up to, I handballed onto him in the form of criticism and resentment of all the things he wasn’t doing rather than simply shutting up and appreciating what he was.
Today I made sure it was different.
And I was faced with many reminders of how I used to treat him, emasculate him, place myself in the power position feebly believing I was safer that way.
This ridiculous attempt at safety, from someone I’m incredibly safe with, just meant he came home less, he helped less, we fought more and our relationship was tainted with bitterness.
Today I thanked him genuinely
He cleans better than I do.
He was far more thorough.
And when I let him know with a hug and kiss the kitchen looked amazing he replied with slumped shoulders “yeah but I took too long” and I squeezed harder and said “It’s way better than I’ve ever done”
And when he ducked out on his phone, Cobi came running to me to dob, because I had taught her this disempowering game. Only this time I said “Dad must have something important he needed to talk about right now”
And surprise surprise we got more done, we had more hugs, the kids joined in because it seemed like fun and we get to go bed tonight with neither of us feeling like a piece of shit.
Because I never ever had the right to teach him how to do anything, or ridiculously believe the way to get more results from him or more presence from him was to punish him with silence or with criticism.
I really needed the reality check that he is absolutely my equal and I better start treating him that way.
I wouldn’t put up with the criticism I used to dish out about him.