I am normally a person of a sunny disposition and you’ll be hard pressed to see me in a bad mood. But every now and then I just get this feeling. It grows and grows and eats at me….like an illness it takes over my body...
The need to COMPLAIN.
Ah complaining…we all need to do it. But unfortunately when I get in one of these moods it feels like I’m in a big crowd of people screaming out my complaints but no one can hear me. Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that it is not just me, it’s a point of nature that when you become a mother you somehow lose the right to complain. Oh sure, we are allowed to complain when pregnant, probably because our men feel responsible for putting us in a position of carrying a watermelon around on our bladders for several months. But when the baby comes out…presto…gain a baby, lose complaining.
Think about it, mothers don’t complain. And trust me, its not because they don’t want to…its because no one hears them when they do. Take the classic example of the winter cold or flu. When a mother gets sick, they are doped high to the sky on cold medicine sniffling and sneezing while chasing around after their kids, cooking dinner, working, AND cleaning. But when a father gets sick…oh my the world stops. They can’t do anything and if you force them to, get ready for a guilt trip! Now I’m not picking on the male species, since I am surrounded by them almost exclusively with two sons, a husband, two brothers, two dads, nephews, etc. But, can somebody please explain to me how the toughest of men can be taken completely out by a case of the sniffles?
Mothers also can’t complain because of the response we get when we do. The classic example here is if we try to complain about getting “me” time. When we do this, we are instantly swarmed by questions: "What's wrong?" “Are you stressed out?” “Are your kids driving you crazy?”. Yep, when we request some “me” time the world scrambles that in their brains and translates it to: “I don’t like my kids”. And that's not what we are saying...we love our children, but yet we are instantly judged if we want to go for a spa day or out shopping sans children.
But in addition to the judging, we have to face our biggest obstacle when complaining. We are 99% of the time met with the “oh you think that’s bad”s when we complain. I get these all the time. I’ll sit down and tell someone “Oh I had the worst day…” and the person instantly says back to me “Oh you think that’s bad, you should hear what happened to me” and turns the topic to their complaint. Suddenly, I am changed from the complainer to the therapist. It’s not a competition people. I know you have problems, but can we for 5 minutes just focus on mine?
Wait a second…am I actually complaining about complaining?
I believe that I have a need to complain because I know I can’t. It’s that age old premise that if you can’t do something, you’ll want to do it more.
So allow me to complain this morning. There really is no better place to do it. I mean, you are just reading this and so you can’t give me a “Oh you think that’s bad” while I’m venting!
(1) I’m tired. I can’t complain about my lack of sleep because my husband works nights and so he instantly assumes he has less sleep than me (which is often true but not always the case). But, since L is now teething man I am tired lately!
(2) I have a ton of work to accomplish. I can’t complain about my huge caseload at work because compared to my colleagues I don’t bill nearly what they do. But, man my task list is overflowing lately!
(3) I miss my kids. I can’t complain about missing my kids when I work, because well I have no choice…I have to work, so really what’s the point of complaining about it?? But I really miss them when I’m working!
(4) I just want to come home to a clean house. I can’t complain about the fact that when I leave home in the morning the house is often clean, but when I return at the end of the day it looks like a fraternity house on Sunday morning. I’ll walk in from a hard day of work, and there are my children and my husband sitting there blind to the fact that they can hardly walk due to the mess that is all around them. They would rather trip over clothes and toys instead of simply picking them up! Is it asking too much to come home to a clean, organized, and Pine-sol smelling house?? Okay, wait...that just happens on HGTV.
(5) I really miss shopping. I can’t complain that I have not been able to shop for myself for about 4 years! I used to be one of those people that lived for the mall (I have the credit card bills to prove it). I loved shopping for new clothes, new suits, and ooh designer purses. That was always “my thing”. When I was 21 I vowed that I would never own a knock off. If I wanted a Coach bag…I’d pay the admittedly insane price instead of going around the corner and finding the knock off for $21.95. Yet here I am, about 10 years later with a knock off purse under my desk and wearing an outfit I’ve seriously owned for 10 years.
(6) I miss me. I can’t complain about the fact that I don’t get time for myself. Here’s how my attempts play out: I come home and Todd is finally home for the night. I think to myself...ok I can do some scrapbooking, or go shopping and he can watch the kids. But then I think to myself…hmm…shouldn’t I be taking this chance to do laundry or clean the bathrooms? Or if I start to get my coat on to head out the door for some shopping alone I instantly have sad eyes staring at me, coats in hand, crying “Mommy, we want to come!!” Before I know it I’m carting two toddlers and a baby seat through Target.
So to all of you fellow Moms that want to complain but feel you can’t…trust me you are not alone. And its not really that I have a life I want to complain about…because I don’t. I admit I have an amazing life and have never been happier. But even though my “grass is green”, I still from time to time may want to complain about having to cut it (if that makes any sense at all).
And to all the husbands out there, including my own, remember to allow your wives to complain. Trust me if we do…if we are giving the chance to just sit and complain (without comment) we actually will not want to complain. I promise you that. And let me help you out…after we complain each time your line is… “Oh honey I’m so sorry about that. How can I help?”. And if you are like my husband try to say this without sounding sarcastic!
But since boys will be boys and may not heed my advice, please feel free to use me as your sounding board and leave me your complaints. Just please don't complain about the length of this entry!