DAY NINE: Ask your partner about their day and really listen to the answer

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DISCLAIMER: This post comes with a warning about unsavoury language. I pounded this one out when I was still pissed off.

So it’s DAY NINE of the “Find the ‘AWESOME’ in your family!” Challenge and I have to ask my partner about their day and really listen to their answer, with an invitation to encourage further discussion with thoughtful questions and attentive replies.

Look, I’ll be honest from the outset. This challenge was a major fail.

It was 5:30pm, I’d been up with the kids since 5am and somewhere in between the dinner-time battles and the bathtime slap fights my “being tired” had transitioned to “being tired and grumpy”, despite having a reasonably chipper time of things today. That feral mood must have crept up on me slowly after stalking me all day, and then pounced all of a sudden like a motherfucker.

Despite spending a huge chunk of the day cleaning, vacuuming, dusting, mopping, tidying up and doing laundry the place still looked like a bombsite; toys and books strewn the entire length of the house, the kitchen covered in dirty dishes, rubbish and bits of food, the bathroom floor covered in wet puddles, soggy mounds of toilet paper and bath toys. Dirty socks, discarded nappies and undies scattered down the hallway, a tell-tale trail to the bathtub. It was like a king tide of crap had finally submerged my once clean house after I’d been bailing it out with buckets all day.

After battling for 45 minutes to get my preschooler to eat half a fucking chicken pattie, I’d given up and sent him to his room to wait until the bathtub was full because it was one less stressor I could eliminate from my environment. He then proceeded to fall asleep, so I had to poke him with sticks (kidding!) to wake him up. Cue meltdown. I finally wrangle both of them into the bath and sigh in relief as I perch on the toilet lid with my iPad, a merciful distraction from the fact that the 3.5 year old was throwing cups of water in the toddler’s face and the toddler was retaliating by body-slapping him over and over again. Cue another meltdown from the over-sensitive preschooler, who is clearly destined to a long and miserable life of being slapped around by his little brother.

All I wanted was a moment of peace and quiet to switch off mentally and flick through Facebook while my kids played quietly in the bath. That’s all. Fifteen measly minutes of shut-the-fuck-up in the bathtub.

And then my husband came home, in remarkably good spirits. He hid behind the door frame and pranked the kids by turning the lights on and off, and when he finally revealed himself by poking his beaming face into the room the kids were so excited to see him. He went and grabbed his dinner plate, pulled up a kid-sized IKEA stool and sat with us in the bathroom to chat. It could have been a really awesome family moment if I hadn’t been a bitchy little ball of PMS. It should have changed my mood for the better, but it didn’t.

He must have seen the look on my face – the angry hausfrau one that says “Fuck this shit to hell and back” – and made the unfortunate mistake of being a really thoughtful spouse and saying, “Hard day?”

My immediate reaction was to reply “Are you FUCKING serious?” but my internal editor got there first and revised it down to the slightly less inflammatory “Whadda YOU reckon?”. Unfortunately, my shithouse internal editor didn’t do a particularly good job of revising the emotional quotient of my reply because the sneer and the sarcasm were still left very much intact.

Mr Zilla: (still placatory) “Well, I dunno, sometimes you have easy days…?”

Hugzilla: (growls sarcastically) “Yeah, well, even the EASY days are FUCKING HARD. Not that YOU’D know…”

I’m not entirely sure what the exact reply was to that heart-warming little nugget of parenting philosophy because I was way too wrapped up in my own self-pity and misery by then, but it involved him storming out of the bathroom in a huff because I was being an A-grade jerkwad, so I guess the details don’t really matter by that stage.

So there you go. The results are in for DAY NINE: Ask your partner or friend about their day:

I was the one who was meant to ask HIM about his day and instead, HE was the one who asked ME about my day and I snapped at him like a massive fuck-knuckle.

I wasn’t awesome.  I was a total asshole.

Previous post in the series DAY EIGHT: Reflect on one thing you love about your child’s personality.

Next post in the series DAY TEN: Do some form of exercise, even if it is only for ten minutes.

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