I lost it. I sat sobbing in my closet not even able to catch my breath. Looking at my face you would have thought somebody died, but no, I just made the same mistake I always make. I kept them in — the frustrations I had, the stress of isolation, the parenting differences with my husband, the loudness and neediness of the kids — everything that had been making my blood boil came to a head and I lost it.
I envy people who consistently vocalize their feelings to their partner, good or bad.
I want to be like Randall and Beth from This Is Us, so open and honest, whose arguments almost come off as sexy or romantic. But Randall and Beth are fictional characters on TV and that just isn’t me. I hold things in that bother me, sometimes for months, slowly letting the bubbles rise higher, until one day the pressure cooker lid pops off and there’s a huge mess to clean up. I love my husband and I love my kids, but the people we love the most can drive us the craziest, amirite?! And in the middle of a pandemic being stuck inside with our families only magnifies the habits and behaviors that drove us nuts even in small quantities. Now we’re getting a whole jarful of their idiosyncrasies.
So, why do I let myself get to the boiling point?!
I don’t do this on purpose. I always have intentions of voicing my frustrations in the moment, but my fear of coming off offensive or hurting someone’s feelings gets in the way and I tell myself it isn’t that big of a deal. Until it happens again and I realize it does bother me, but this time it’s not the right time to speak up. And then it happens again, so I tell myself I’ll bring it up tonight, but night comes and I don’t want to fill it with an argument. And on it goes.
Every time I get to this point of meltdown and I let all the feelings come spilling out to my husband, it ends up positive. We make compromises, we come to resolutions, we discuss options to make things better, we think up ways to do things differently, we confess our deep love and feelings for each other and it’s always a positive outcome. And every time I get to this point and we have a helpful and healthy discussion I tell myself I won’t let it get to this point again.
But six months later…
So, here is my friendly reminder to you: Talk to someone, don’t hold it in like I do. Speak to your partner about what’s bothering you. Have a family meeting with your kids about behavior expectations. Take a walk (six feet apart) with a friend or neighbor to get the little annoyances off your chest. Call your mom or dad or sister or brother to vent. If it’s necessary, speak with a counselor to improve your mental health. There are a bunch of online counseling options available right now. Check in with your friends to make sure they’re not at their boiling point. And if something is bothering you that truly doesn’t matter, let it slide off your back. Choose your battles wisely.
My motto in regard to my kids is if what they’re doing isn’t hurting anyone or ruining anything, don’t worry about it. But the worst thing you can do is hold everything in. This is true for all times, but we are in a unique moment in time where everyone is going through the same situation. Yes, we all lead different lives and have different things to worry about, but the people of the world collectively are dealing with unprecedented and unpredictable lives right now. It is more important to talk now than ever due to heightened stress levels.