To say that I live in a state of conflict would be putting it mildly. Nearly every waking moment of my day is a testament to just how badly I deal with conflict. I can’t help it; I’m a Libra. Oh, I know, astrology is for the (fill in the blank here) but there may be some truth to the trouble with Libras when it comes to me. “Me? You want me to decide where we should go to dinner? Um, what sounds good to you?” This inner battle with the conflicting benefits of say, Pad Thai and Lobster Bisque, make me an interesting date. Throw a movie into the mix and you may as well just plan on the decision-making process taking longer for me than you ever thought possible. The problem is, regardless of the amount of time I spend conflicted, I am no better at resolving it today, than back when deciding which Geranimals best coordinated. For me, the conflicts between two choices are just as difficult to resolve as the conflicts between two people. I like to think of it as an art, but we all know that art is in the eye of the beholder.
I think it may all come down to some “nature versus nurture” or “birth order” or “breakfast cereal choice” or some such explanation. Because I’m not a dumb woman – you’d think if I hated conflict so badly, I could figure out how to avoid it more effectively. So it can’t be my fault, this conflict issue. Perhaps if I weren’t a mostly SAHM, born the second of four children in the midst of October, and married to a wonderful man who diametrically opposes me on all things such as housework and laundry, I would be better suited to managing conflict. But I am all those things. And more, really. So I live in a state of conflict, less “violent” than other types of conflict, but no less toll-taking on my psyche.
Take being a SAHM. Please know that being home with my kids is one of the most wonderful parts of my life. I get to hang out with the most interesting and funny people on the planet. And get snot rubbed in my hair. It’s a great life. It’s just so dang loud. Three kids generate a whole lotta noise, mess, and tension. “MOM! He touched my side of the couch again!” Sheesh, since when does the ability to ovulate make a person qualified for diplomacy? I guess the moment pitocyn enters the equation.
I love being home with them. It’s just that I sometimes wish I could be my old self again. You know, the one that had deep philosophical debates about imagery in One Hundred Years of Solitude. Or got coffee with people who liked to argue about political policy while using their entire vocabularies, rather than just the ones regarding bodily functions. Talk about conflict – try being someone who “used to be” something, but is now a Stay-At-Home-Mom. When I first left the classroom to stay home with my, then, 2 kids, people would tell me what a wonderful thing I was doing and yet would immediately “dummy-down” their conversation. I will admit to a certain level of brain-drain that potty training does to a mom, but surely people I didn’t loose that many brain cells with the placentas of my children.
Also, now that I am largely unemployed, my husband is the “primary breadwinner” and my “job” is to run our home. Great. It used to be that I never felt guilty when I asked him to vacuum or fold a load of laundry, but now that these are the trappings of my job, I feel like I need to do it all. Which is, of course, a bit problematic with the whole 3 kids thing – they can make a mess faster than a tornado. (Maybe they are tornadoes – that would explain the loud noise.)
So here I am, a 41 year old woman who hates conflict but is surrounded by it – the dog loves the cat but the cat hates the dog. The 3 year old loves to play with his brother but the 9 year old thinks he’s a pest. The 6 year old refuses to brush her hair or keep food particles out of it but has to have a “ballet bun” for dance.
Oy. I think I’ll just go pour myself another cup of coffee. Of course, since it’s January and I’m on my yearly diet, that means I’ll stand there for a few minutes trying to decide between 15 calories for sugar in my coffee and staying hard core on the sugar ban. Sigh.