I love a good fight.
I love fighting with my husband, because it helps restore order. Like how I imagine the day after the apocalypse to be. Fighting makes us love each other more; it makes our family tighter. Whenever we experience an imbalance in our relationship, we let loose and drag it through the house, because displaying confrontation is important. You can be sure the dog, the chickens, the kids and maybe even the neighbors know when it happens because we aren’t shy about it. Fight.
Did I say we fight in front of the kids?
I know this might sound crazy, but hear me out. There are a few reasons why we fight in front of the kids:
- Having an audience keeps our fights fair. I tend to fight like a Queen, but having them watch reminds me that I don’t have a pedestal to scream from. Heads don’t need to roll—every time at least!
- Kids can learn conflict just like cooking and balancing a check book in Home Ec. They’re watching what it looks and sounds like to be heard. They are witnessing two people work through understanding each other. The kids are taking mental notes for their own future conflicts. To us, we’re modeling healthy ones.
While there are so many subjects to fight about, let me focus on just one of them:
I am the type of person that needs to know what the plan is. I want to know the plan, and then I want to know plan B. I just think this is responsible parenting. My husband is not like this. He can board a plane at the last minute and arrive without anything lined up—no accommodations, no map, not even any luggage. We took a red eye to New York City in August like this. I was 8 months pregnant. I had swollen ankles and wanted a plan really, really bad. But our relationship was still new, and I pretended to be more adventurous than I really was. We arrived with no hotel room, no toilet, and no idea how to get out of the airport. I learned early in our relationship, that Pippin’s laid back nature, may work when it comes to building sand castles, but it crossed a line when it came to plans.
Plans of any sort. We are currently selling our house. We’ve outgrown it with seven kids, four of whom are teenagers. Pippin has no problem selling our home, going on a (mostly unplanned) vacation and returning, without anything lined up to return TO. Sounds crazy, no? Well this is about to become my future. Hawaii sounds nice, but what’s going to happen after Hawaii?
“We will figure it out. We’ll survive!”
But I don’t like Survival Mode.
I like Relaxation mode – whether it’s vacation, weekend plans, or even Sunday breakfast—life is stressful enough. When I’m forced to survive and play like I’m enjoying it, that’s when shit hits the fan. (And side note: not one of the kids is on board with this type of whimsical lifestyle). So I fight.
A typical fight starts like this: I go nuclear with little warning. Pippin might be surprised but is so non-confrontational, he will probably feign complete confusion. Then he may bring up some completely unrelated “transgression” that I did. A common tactic to confuse and divert the prey! So begins the circular arguing that, like most conflicts, has nothing to do with the subject. It’s about power and who gets to win that round. This goes on until we are finally speaking the same language – mine. And I’m usually crying (it’s exhausting being right). It’s OK, though. I like a good cry. Anyway, I truly believe fighting is the sound of our relationship evolving, and I think after ten years, we are getting better at it.
ONE upside is that I am learning things about myself. Our 5 year old, Leopold, recently hushed me with, “Mommy, you are being really rude to Daddy.” As a So Called mom, I have learned to be wrong. That I don’t have all the answers and can still be loved and accepted by my family. It takes the perfection out of motherhood, and replaces it with being human.
So Called Mom
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