A few weeks ago my husband came out of the bathroom holding a box of Biore Strips I had in the medicine cabinet, he asked "Can you use one of these on me?" I was feeding Harper, taping a page in a book that has ripped while Roo said "Uh Oh. Oh no. Help!!Oh no!" in his most panicky voice, the dog was barking at the door because he had scratched to come in about 5 minutes earlier. I looked up and said "They are easy, wash your face, don't dry it. Peel the clear plastic off, stick it on, press it down, then wait..." I handed the book to my son, rushed to the door to let the dog inside and continued on to get pajamas for Harper, who was still having a bottle on the go style. Let's be honest. I don't have time to put a Biore Strip on me, let alone Adam.
Later on that evening I asked him if he had a blast removing black heads from his nose. He said "Oh, I didn't use one..." in that way that could become a pout at any moment. He wanted me to do it for him.
I had mixed emotions. A part of me is flattered that he wants me to help him with such a simple task, but then again the other part of me said Pal, I spend darn near every minute of my life helping others. From the second my eyes open in the morning and usually until my eyes close at night, I am busy. Helping others. I am caring for the baby. I am caring for Rolf, I care for both cats and both dogs. I take care of every detail and chore in our home. I spend every moment I can get working to help other people rock their blogs. Are you really borderline pouting because I didn't drop the baby, let the dog bark and let Roo have a meltdown over his book so I could do this simple thing for you?
That flattered helpful part of me wanted to jump up and meet his expectations, but I had just got the kids to bed, gave the living room a final cleaning of the day, fed the cats and loaded the dishwasher. I was tired. After 14 hours of parenting, cooking, cleaning and oh yeah, I had actually worked that day and was due to get back to it in 8 minutes, I felt selfish. I felt like that 8 minutes was mine. I earned it. I deserved it. I had spent an entire day working. I was paid with good night hugs and kisses. At night I tuck my kids in and trade in my mommy hat for my working woman hat. I work until I fall asleep at my computer. A few nights I have been so tired that when I drift off I wonder if I might be dying because I feel dramatic and seriously exhausted.
So yeah, that 8 minutes I had to sit down, flip thru the paper or sit with my eyes closed, or text a friend was something I needed desperately and that I wasn't giving up. Not even for marital bliss. My husband then said something like "I don't know how to do them. I need help. I might mess it up..." He went for his gloomy and helpless attempt. I wanted to tell him to read the box. There are instructions. You can do it.
But I didn't. I nodded and said "I see." I picked up the paper and scanned it, knowing how few of my 8 minutes were left. I went about my normal evening schedule. I worked until I was nodding off at the computer. I gave my husband a goodnight kiss and headed off to bed.
A few days later while I was working he came into the room and had the Biore Strips in his hand again, with a smile he said "Wanna put one of these on me?" I said "I will make a deal with you. If you can give me 15 minutes I will use one with you." He nodded and went about his business.
When 15 minutes had passed I went to the bathroom to find him there waiting. He sat down and expected me to wash his face for him then apply the strip. I smiled and said "Wash your face please." I got the strips out of their packaging. I handed him one that was half peeled off and said "There you go. Sticky side down. Smooth it out." He looked a little annoyed but he did it himself. I put one on my nose after washing my face and I went back to work for a few minutes.
When my strip felt dry I went to find my husband. We peeled them off and said "Eww!" "Yuck!" "Gross..." together. To me, at the time it was ... normal, ordinary, just a moment in skin care. To my husband it was like a bonding experience. He laughed until he almost cried, he had a little out of his normal skin care pampering and he had my attention if only for a few minutes. He was happy.
Aren't guys funny? Boire Strips=Bonding.
Dear Weary Mom, I guess the point of this story is that sometimes I am greedy with my time. I give my time to others, to my kids freely, but then when it comes to time for my husband or myself I am greedy. Getting me to do something as easy as a Biore Strip with my husband took days. How long does that take to do? 15 minutes? I want to remind myself to slow down, not to take for granted the time I have but to spend some of that time without an agenda.
How do you balance work, kids, the house and your marriage?